The Town of Oyster Bay, in cooperation with Friends of the Bay, Inc. (FOB) and the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee (HHPC), will host an open house on Tuesday, March 27, to unveil the proposed map for a blueway trail along the Town’s north shore, it was announced by Town Supervisor John Venditto. The meeting will be held at the office of FOB, 111 South Street, Oyster Bay, Suite 2, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
“In 2010, the Town, partnering with FOB and HHPC, received a $76,250 matching grant through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the planning of a blueway trail, which will begin in Hempstead Harbor, travel along Long Island Sound and proceed through Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbors,” Supervisor Venditto said. “The first part of the project consisted of an in-depth study of Hempstead Harbor, Long Island Sound, Oyster Bay Harbor, West Harbor, Mill Neck Creek and Cold Spring Harbor. The Town, FOB and HHPC, along with other members of the steering committee, employed the environmental and community planning firm of Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, LLC (NP&V), which inventoried the best-suited trailheads and amenities that provide access to recreational facilities, commercial establishments such as restaurants and shops, and ecological, historical and cultural resources along the proposed trail. As part of their outreach, a survey was conducted to give residents an opportunity to share their ideas for the design of the trail. This public meeting is being held to present a draft blueway trail map and solicit comments from the public. Representatives of the Town, FOB, HHPC and NP&V will be on hand to discuss all aspects of the blueway trail, including features, amenities and resources. Ultimately, a final map will be prepared for use by blueway travelers to locate services and points of interest along the route.”
The Supervisor went on to say that the Town’s blueway trail will connect with a similar trail being designed by the Town of North Hempstead, which will run from Hempstead Harbor to Manhasset Bay and Little Neck Bay. He noted that in addition to the Town, FOB and HHPC, the water trail working committee consists of the Waterfront Center, the Long Island Paddlers, Nassau County, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and others.
The Supervisor added that NP&V is also preparing a report outlining a final plan for the future construction of the blueway and a suggested action plan with recommendations for funding, estimated costs, and a list of environmental permits that would be required for physical improvements.
“Blueways are routes for small, non-motorized boats such as sailboats, kayaks, canoes and row boats that combine recreation and environmental awareness and allow users to travel to designated stops along the way for rest, overnight stays, and enjoyment of land and water-based attractions in the vicinity,” Supervisor Venditto stated. “Establishing a blueway trail in these harbors will create an exciting and unique way for people to learn about and enjoy this beautiful natural watershed and promote the many attractions in and around the harbor. The whole purpose of the blueway trail map is to provide a simple and easy way to discern the best places to stop and take in the wonderful attractions our Town has to offer.”
Town Councilman Chris J. Coschignano, who has been a strong supporter of the blueway trail project, added, “Blueway trails provide a means for increasing environmental awareness and an understanding of the region’s natural and cultural resources, as well as spurring tourism. The creation of a recognized water trail system through the waters around the Town Oyster Bay’s north shore will do all of that while promoting a healthy, non-polluting, family-friendly form of outdoor recreation.”
Anyone with questions about the open house or the blueway trail project should contact the Department of Environmental Resources, 677-5943.