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Dickerson Creek preserve opened to public: Ribbon cutting celebrates state, county, local partnership

“Long after we’re gone, people are going to say, “Wow!”

That’s how Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board Chairman Gordon Gooding described sites around the Island that have been saved from development and opened to the public.

Sunny skies attended the ribbon cutting at the Dickerson Creek property on June 23 that brought state, county and local officials along with a host of others to the site at Tarkettle Road and Grace’s Lane.

The site was acquired in 2006 before the current CPF Advisory Board was assigned, according to former supervisor and CPF member Jim Dougherty. He thanked the current CPF Advisory Board for their ongoing stewardship of the preservation program.

“It’s what makes Shelter Island a unique and wonderful place to be,” the former supervisor said.

Mr. Gooding credited Mr. Dougherty with the purchase along with Suffolk County officials for a 50-50 purchase of the site.

The current CPF Advisory Board members worked to shepherd through the steps needed for a new bulkhead and establish what is now a serene picnic area overlooking Dickerson Creek. Mr. Gooding noted that just across the water the County had provided matching funds for the acquisition of the Turkem’s Rest Preserve.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) praised the cooperation among state, county and town officials that has made land preservation possible.

Ms. Fleming said the land preservation effort on the East End is unparalleled, noting colleagues in the western part of Suffolk County have no programs of this kind.

Ms. Fleming had the honor of wielding the golden scissors to cut the ribbon at the ceremony.

Mr. Thiele told the local officials, including the Town Board and CPF Advisory Board, what a pleasure it always was to partner with them on so many projects. It’s with great appreciation, he said, that he refers to the town as “the independent nation of Shelter Island.”

He noted that since the CPF program began in 1999, $1.7 billion has come to East End town coffers, which has resulted in preserving more than 10,000 acres of land.