Exploring the Long Island Pine Barrens:  Information for Outdoor Recreation

(Updated through 2/20/15; Click here for a pdf version of this page.)

Part 1:  Public Lands and the Government Agencies That Manage Them

Public agencies own and manage approximately 38,000 acres within the Central Pine Barrens Core Preservation Area.  In addition, there are several hundred acres held by private conservation organizations within the same region.  (Accompanying photo depicts an October scene along the chain of groundwater fed ponds which extending south from Ridge to Calverton.  Their southward flow eventually feeds into the main Peconic River flow.  Photo by Ray Corwin.  Click to enlarge.)

This figure does not include acreage owned by many of the same agencies which is outside of the Central Pine Barrens Core Area, but either contains pine barrens habitats, or is within the Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve.  Examples of such lands include the South Setauket Woods holdings of Suffolk County in northern Brookhaven Town; individual Town parks which may contains pine barrens habitat; the land holdings of the State, County, and Towns within the South Fork Pine Barrens region or the Montauk area, and private conservation pine barrens areas such as those belonging to The Nature Conservancy, which are within the Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve.

Generally speaking, the largest holdings are those of New York State (principally through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation) and Suffolk County (managed by the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation).  These agencies require certain permits or other permissions for certain activities; thus, the first stop for the interested recreation enthusiast should be to determine what is required.

Please keep in mind that these lands are managed for multiple purposes, and are subject to individual agency policies.  In addition, during certain times of the year, temporary restrictions due to increased risks of wildfire may be in effect.  (See Central Pine Barrens current fire danger levels here.)

U.S. Department of the Interior - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) - Long Island Wildlife Refuge Complex


Main Office:
Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 21
Shirley, NY 11967
Office location and visitor entrance:
West turn onto the Refuge entrance off of Smith Road, located approximately 1/3 mile south of Montauk Highway in Shirley.
631-286-0485  (voice)

The Long Island Complex consists of eight Refuges and one Wildlife Management Area in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  Activities, facilities, and trails vary across the nine units of the Complex, but generally include hiking, wildlife observation, photography, and some canoeing and fishing opportunities.  The Wertheim Refuge is the one unit which is part of the Central Pine Barrens.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) - Region 1 (Nassau and Suffolk Counties)

Main Office:
Building 40
SUNY at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, NY 11790-2356

Sporting Licenses page for DEC:  www.dec.ny.gov/permits/365.html

To obtain a free access permit for hiking, bicycling, canoeing, etc.:
Sporting License Office
631-444-0273  (voice)
Open 9 am to 1:00 pm, and 2 pm to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.  Located in main lobby.  You may obtain your permit either by mail or in person.

For information about hunting, fishing, and trapping, which require special conditions or permits and have defined seasons:
See the main Region 1 web site above for links to current seasons, appropriate licenses, fees, procedures, etc.

NYSDEC State Lands Interactive Mapper

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Long Island Region (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) State Parks: http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/list.asp?txtPark=&txtReg=Long%20Island&Opt=1&PKS=Null&sortBy=0&showall=27

Long Island Region Main Office:
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 247
Babylon, NY 11702-0247
Office location:
Administration Building
Belmont Avenue, Exit 37N, Southern State Parkway
631-669-1000  (voice)

Suffolk County Parks Department
http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Parks/Parks.aspx   This site contains individual links for biking, camping, canoeing, fishing, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, picnicking, row boating, swimming, and other activities, along with specific pages for individual County park areas.

Main Office:
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 144
West Sayville, N.Y. 11796
Office location:
West Sayville Golf Course
Montauk Highway, West Sayville
631-854-4949  (voice)
email: scparks@suffolkcountyny.gov

Pine Barrens Trail Information Center: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Parks/Parks/PineBarrensTrailsInformationCenter.aspx
County Road 111, immediately north of Exit 70 North of the Long Island Expressway, Manorville
Open 9 am to 4 pm.
631-852-3449 (voice)

"Green Keys" are required for some activities in Suffolk County Parks.  Brochures are available for certain parks.  Contact the main office above for information.

Town of Brookhaven


Main Office:
Mailing address:
286 Hawkins Road
Centereach, N.Y. 11720
Office location:
631-451-8696  (voice)

Town of Riverhead


Main Office:
Mailing address:
55 Columbus Avenue
Riverhead, N.Y. 11901
Office location:
631-727-5744  (voice)

Town of Southampton


Main Office:
Mailing address:
116 Hampton Road
Southampton, N.Y. 11968
Office location:
631-702-1980  (voice)
email: ppobat@southamptontownny.gov

          Parks and Recreation Department

Part 2:  Private, Non-commercial Recreation Organizations
Active in the Long Island Pine Barrens

These organizations publish newsletters and/or maps, sponsor outings and events, and
work closely with the government organizations and the Commission's stewardship councils.
Please contact them directly for information.

(Accompanying photo shows a portion of the Brookhaven Trail,
a northward spur from the Paumanok Path.
This segment is located in Suffolk County Parkland in Ridge.
Photo by Ray Corwin.  Click to enlarge)

Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists

P.O. Box 203
Woodbury, NY  11797
e-mail:  email@climbonline.org
East Hampton Trails Preservation Society
P.O. Box 2144
Amagansett, NY 11930
e-mail: info@easthamptontrails.org
Hiking Long Island & Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition
www.hike-li.com and www.litlc.org
Ken Kindler
P.O. Box 1466
Sayville, NY 11782
631-331-5938  (voice)
e-mail:  Ken@Hike-LI.com
Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 5636
Hauppauge, NY 11788-0141
Office address:
Blydenburgh County Park North Complex
Smithtown, NY
631-360-0753  (voice)
631-980-4009  (fax)
e-mail:  ligreenbelt@verizon.net
Nassau - Suffolk Horsemen's Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 1944
Huntington, NY 11743

e-mail:  info@nshaonline.org
Southampton Trails Preservation Society
P.O. Box 1171
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
e-mail:  info@southamptontrails.org
Suffolk Alliance of Sportsmen, Inc. (SASI)
215 Waldo Street
Copiague,  NY  11726
631-789-2480 (voice and fax)
Other private organizations:
Please see www.pb.state.ny.us/chart_master_links.htm#PrivateLIRec for links to dozens of private outdoor recreation organizations on Long Island, many of which sponsor events and activities in or near the Central Pine Barrens..