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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


To the Editor:
My family has summered on Shelter Island for over 25 years. Sailing into Coecles Harbor, we witnessed the slow decay of the cabin on Taylor’s Island and then, the amazing restoration of the island. Access by boat is easy.

Land access to Taylor’s, however, has recently turned into fear and harassment. Maybe twice a year, I’ve biked, without a problem, to Taylor’s with my children or a friend. I hardly ever see another person. The last few times, however, an aggressive man has told me that I am trespassing.

The first time, I was with my two young children. We were on the beach, bikes parked, when he demanded my name. He — nor his silent companion — would give theirs. He told me the road was private. I replied that I had biked here before without any problems. The man’s speech and actions were very aggressive. He insisted we leave immediately or he would call the police. Scared, we left.

My second encounter happened last summer. I went for a ride with an Islander. I told her about our experience. I asked, “How could the road to Taylor’s be private? Taylor’s Island was a gift to the town for the public’s enjoyment, like Mashomack Preserve. The public had raised funds for both these places to be enjoyed by all.”

We went for our bike ride and there was the man, very threatening — “Who are you? Leave! Private road.” Etc. We left.

Is the road private or does the nonprofit Mashomack Preserve or The Nature Conservancy own or manage it? How can the public enjoy Taylor’s if there is no land access? Isn’t the mission of the Preserve and Conservancy for the public to enjoy nature? And does Shelter Island want to become the kind of place where one man threatens women and children, who are out for a car, bike ride, jog or a walk, with police action?

Our family can’t understand how a mostly empty road with public houses can be private, or how The Nature Conservancy and the Preserve would not want the public to enjoy Taylor’s Island. It’s difficult to explain to young people that only some people can have access to a road, a beach, a view, a public space, a preserve or historic house, but others can’t.

I hope we can all partake in the beauty of Shelter Island.
Shelter Island

Mashomack kids’ program
To the Editor:
Research has proven time and again that being in nature is important for children’s health.

It teaches them how to take manageable risks, stimulates active play and exercise, increases self-esteem and can encourage creativity. Playing, exercising and making discoveries in the natural world has even been shown to improve the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Luckily, here on Shelter Island we are literally surrounded by nature.

At Mashomack we’re pleased to announce early registration for year-round Shelter Island children for our popular children’s Environmental Education program. The three sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 8-11, August 5-8 and August 19-22, for children ages 8 to 12 or entering grades 3 to 7 in the fall.

Early registration runs from now until April 10. Open registration for all begins April 13. All registration is by email only.

Registration forms are available through the Shelter Island, Hayground, Ross and Our Lady of the Hamptons schools, or by contacting Cindy Belt at (631) 749-4219 or [email protected]

Registration forms include information on full and half scholarship opportunities.

Scholarships are made possible by the support of the Mashomack Board of Trustees and other generous donors who share The Nature Conservancy’s commitment to “Nature for All.”

Register your local kids now for a fun-filled, hands-on, feet-wet, summer outdoor experience.
Education and Outreach Coordinator, Mashomack Preserve

A broad spectrum
To the Editor:
A week ago this past Sunday, a small group of people, in a very modest way, had been on the cusp of engaging in a rather ambitious experiment — but sadly, that experiment never took place.

It was an extremely ambitious one, actually, given our present cultural climate. My friend, Jean Lawless, and I had been discussing possible iterations of it off and on for over a year.

Our hypothesis was this: If we brought a small group of intelligent people together — people representing a broad spectrum of political and cultural views — and gave them a safe place to honestly express their most deeply-held beliefs regarding America — with the only goal of the experiment being to just listen to one another — we felt that just maybe we might be on to something that could lead to real communication.

So Jean and I went about finding six to eight people willing to come to my house, sit around the dining room table and, as each one took up to five minutes to honestly express his or her feelings about the state of our nation, just listen to one another without offering a response of any kind.

It took a few weeks, but we finally found those intrepid citizens. However, as the day approached, doubts and discomfort seemed to creep in and, one by one, our participants began to bail out. By the day before the experiment only two (bless them) remained. Just not enough. But we’re grateful to all of those who at least listened to us and seriously considered participating.

We feel that, though doubts may have won out this time, each person we contacted has the desire to live in a country where compatriots can come together and, with respect and in good faith, converse, argue and hotly debate any and everything with one another and never be afraid to speak their minds — that’s how it’s supposed work in this messy, magnificent experiment we call democracy. So Jean and I think our little experiment is worth another try.

Winston Churchill would’ve thought so, too. He said: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Sunday, April 28 is our new date—at four o’clock. If you are interested in participating, please call (631) 749 3365.
Shelter Island

Acts of kindness
To the Editor:
Thank you for sharing the Tree of Life for Pittsburgh story in the Reporter (“Gift of love,” March 28).

I was moved to tears when I opened the paper and saw how beautifully Community News Editor Jade Eckardt shared and wrote about the story of the quilt.

I hope it inspires others to do acts of kindness, big and small.
Shelter Island