Trails purchased with Community Preservation Funds are being opened up by members of the Shelter Island Group for Trail Preservation, but Town Board members are cautioning that while the access is positive, there are concerns about too much activity on those lands.
Joe Denny, who leads the Trail Preservation group, presented slides at Tuesday’s Town Board work session showing the clearing that volunteers have achieved.
Supervisor Gary Gerth noted the town is expecting Suffolk County funds earmarked for kiosks and markers on at least three trails.
But Councilman Paul Shepherd, who said he enjoys walking through woods, cautioned that too much publicity would attract too many hikers.
“More is not always better,” Mr. Shepherd said, while expressing appreciation for the trail clearing and the need for ongoing maintenance.
Mr. Denny said volunteers have uncovered areas of Shelter Island of historical significance and also removed invasive plants that were threatening native trees.
“This is everybody’s land,” Mr. Denny said, pointing out that it was purchased with CPF money meant to maintain open spaces. He cautioned the Town Board not to push forward with mapping the trails yet until markers were in place to show people where to enter and how to follow the paths.
The clearing has also diminished the likelihood of hikers encountering ticks, Mr. Denny said.
Mr. Gerth noted that he’s looking into restoring some controlled burning in the town to bring back some species of animals that have disappeared and to cut the tick population. But he said there is evidence that burning may hamper the tick population only temporarily.
Tim Purtell, chairman of the Green Options Committee, told the board there’s a renewed effort to encourage more use of solar power. He noted that Southampton got a grant to be used to encourage homeowners and businesses to consider installing solar panels.
The company Green Logic has been chosen by Southampton Town as its preferred vendor, although those seeking to install solar power can choose other companies.
The push to interest more people to consider solar power will be a part of the August Green Expo on the Island.