The Best of the Rest Campaign Formally Announced.

On Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 11 am, the Long Island Pine Barrens Society announced a drive to acquire vital lands that have not yet been permanently preserved. The “Best of the Rest” campaign, as coined by John Turner, one of the Society’s founders, is designed to secure those parcels that will ensure protected habitat and clean drinking water for Long Island residents.

The Long Island Pine Barrens Society’s mission is to combat overdevelopment and preserve precious Pine Barrens. Over 106,460 acres have been preserved thus far – a major accomplishment. Pine Barrens Executive Director Richard Amper and John Turner have identified 3,800 additional acres in the Core Preservation and Compatible Growth areas deserving of protection. These parcels are located in the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton.

Environmentalists supporting the preservation effort include New York State officials from Long Island, New York State Assemblymembers Steve Englebright and Fred Thiele. Assemblyman Englebright said, “Over 100,000 acres of pine barrens have been protected thanks to the efforts of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and the enactment of the1993 Pine Barrens Protection Act. There is still much to be done to permanently protect environmentally sensitive areas that are contiguous to preserved parcels. The 3,800 acres proposed for preservation will “finish the job” of protecting these lands, essential habitat and Long Island’s drinking water. I wholeheartedly support this initiative.”

Thiele stated, “The Long Island Pine Barrens Society has been the faithful protector of Long Island’s most significant environmental resource, the Central Pine Barrens. Through the efforts of the Society, more than 100,000 acres of land were given special protection by the 1993 Pine Barrens Protection Act. With the announcement of this new initiative, I am deeply grateful that the work and mission of the Society will take another next step to fulfill the intent of the Pine Barrens Act. Generations to come will be the beneficiaries.”

The Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine has also expressed strong support in favor of the “Best of The Rest” initiative.

“The support from concerned Long Islanders has been terrific. It is critical that we expand what we have protected so that we maintain high quality drinking water and local flora and fauna continue to flourish,” Amper said. The “Best of the Rest” are next to protected Pine Barrens lands and have ecological significance. For example, lands to be preserved include (1) the Shoreham Forest, (2) parcels along the Peconic and the Carmans Rivers and (3) acres adjacent to Sears-Bellows Park.

You may view our announcement conference here: