The Best of The Rest

The Best of The Rest

The LIPBS’s newest endeavor to preserve 3,800 acres of land in the Pine Barrens.
You can support the endeavor by contacting your local Town Supervisor, either by phone, or with THIS letter template, which you can edit with your own thoughts!

Below, check out this episode of WBAB’s PluggedIn Podcast all about the LIPBS and the Best of the Rest Initiative!


To their everlasting credit, the State of New York, Suffolk County, and the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, and Southampton have, over the past half-century, acquired tens of thousands of acres of open space in the Long Island Pine Barrens. Some of these acquisitions such as Suffolk County’s Cranberry Bog Nature Preserve and New York State’s large Rocky Point Natural Resource Management Area preceded the passage and implementation of the 1993 Pine Barrens Protection Act. With the passage of this seminal law, government stepped up its acquisition efforts, partially in response to the property rights concerns and claims of landowners in the Core Preservation Area where development is almost entirely prohibited.

Today, Long Islanders are the beneficiaries of this sustained and targeted effort. More than 50,000 largely contiguous acres of the Central Pine Barrens have been acquired, creating Long Island’s “Central Park.” This “park” represents the full breadth of the ecosystem’s diversity: river and stream systems, former cranberry bogs, Atlantic White Cedar and Red Maple swamps, vernal pools, coastal plain ponds, pine dominated forests, oak woodlands, scrub oak savannas, and grasslands.

Yet, the Pine Barrens has not reached its full ecological, hydrological, or recreational potential. There are still thousands of acres of undeveloped properties in and adjacent to both the Core Preservation and Compatible Growth Areas whose protection would safeguard our drinking water resources along with benefiting the species and natural communities contained therein. Preservation will also enhance landscapes of the larger Pine Barrens ecosystem and the public’s enjoyment of this natural resource.

Specifically, the additional acquisitions proposed in the “Best of the Rest” campaign will:

• Help to safeguard groundwater and surface water quality including the Carmans and Peconic Rivers. Preservation of 3,000 acres will assure the recharge of approximately 1.7 billion gallons of clean water to surface water features and the underlying drinking water aquifers on an annual basis;
• Enhance the viability of area-dependent wildlife species such as whip-poor-wills by reducing the effects of habitat fragmentation and other wildlife species through the preservation of additional habitat and buffering of existing habitat;
• Enhance opportunities for ecological management activities such as invasive species control and prescribed burns; and
• Enhance recreational opportunities by providing access to new landscapes and facilitating trail creation and connections.


It’s been over a year since we began the Best of the Rest Initiative, and a lot of progress has been made! Here is a brief run-down of the status of the initiative:

  • 171.4 acres fully preserved
  • 894 acres in active negotiation
  • 84 acres eyed

That’s over a quarter of the initiative at some stage of preservation. While these are great steps forward, there is still a long way to go, and so if you’re interested in helping preserve all of the 3,800 acres, please consider supporting the Long Island Pine Barrens Society:

The Parcels

If you’re still not convinced, here is a detailed breakdown of the primary properties that comprise the “Best of the Rest” campaign, and where they are in the process of preservation. It is important to note that many of these parcels are included in the 2016 iteration of the New York State Open Space Plan, either as specifically identified parcels or are located within eligible landscapes or Priority Project Areas. Some are also included in the Master Open Space List approved by Suffolk County:

(1) The Shoreham Forest property assemblage consists of 800+ acres of forests and tidal marshland. A variety of forest types occur here, ranging from upland Pine Barrens woodlands to richer beech-hickory-hornbeam forests. The area contains nearly a mile of intact shoreline along Long Island Sound. A vernal pool and surrounding forest provide productive habitat for a variety of amphibian species.

Status: All 850 acres in final negotiations

(2) A set of five parcels along and adjacent to the Peconic River, totaling about 58 acres, contain upland forest and wetland vegetation along the river. These properties are sandwiched between parcels owned by the NYSDEC which contain endangered species habitat.

(3) A set of nine parcels Hogan and CCP LLC properties in Hampton Bays, adjacent to Sears-Bellows County Park, totaling 100 acres in size, include upland Pine Barrens forests of pitch pine and oak-pine forests situated on the Ronkonkoma Moraine. The rolling topography provides scenic views.

(4) Approximately 60 acres are adjacent to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Rocky Point Natural Resource Management Area, primarily located in the southern portion of the property. Two properties, totaling 20 acres, belong to the Longwood School District. Another is the undeveloped portion of the former K-Mart, north of Artist Lake.

Status: 19 acres eyed by the DEC

(5) A number of small properties totaling about four acres adjacent to the Pine Trail Preserve in Manorville. Acquisitions will help maintain the scenic quality of this recreational asset.

(6) Many hundreds of acres of undisturbed, ecologically significant grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands are located at the Town of Riverhead-owned EPCAL property. The diversity of natural communities occurring on site provides habitat to hundreds of plant and animal species. Given the size of the EPCAL property, there is an opportunity to preserve significant portions of the property for conservation while simultaneously providing for desired development.

(7) Approximately 700 acres of Rose-Breslin properties are situated between the Brookhaven Airport and the Long Island Expressway. Due to their size, these properties and the numerous different natural communities occurring here provide habitat for a large number of plant and animal species. The northern portion experienced a wildfire several years ago, promoting the growth of fire adapted plant species.

Status: 152 of 700 acres fully preserved

(8) Several key properties along the Carmans River include the Szuster Farm, the Johnston parcel, and those embedded within and adjacent to the “Camp Olympia Open Space” complex.

Status: 4 acres fully preserved

(9) Ehler Real Estate Holdings are extensively wooded pine barrens properties adjacent to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Middle Island Conservation Area and contain upland habitat for state endangered species. These two parcels total 44 acres and are situated northwest of the SR 25 x William Floyd Parkway interchange.

Status: All 44 acres in negotiations

10) Several key parcels are in the “Spinney Hills”, involving forested pine barrens properties adjacent to extensive Town of Southampton-owned land (including “The Hills” complex).

(11) SC Lizem LLC properties – two properties of 65 acres and 111 acres – are densely wooded with a large old field existing in the eastern parcel. These properties are adjacent to NYSDEC property in Calverton.

Status: 65 acre property currently eyed by the DEC

(12) Approximately 150 acres of federally-owned grassland and forest located along the eastern edge of Calverton Cemetery property and north of EPCAL.

(13) A number of stand-alone parcels and some in an old file subdivision in a forest complex formed by the extension of County Route 111. They are forested Pine Barrens properties that form a portion of the watershed of Seatuck Creek.

(14) The Swan Pond Golf Course in Manorville is a critically positioned parcel, within the Peconic River watershed. Recently, it almost became publicly-owned open space through a purchase by Suffolk County. The county should purchase a “right-of-first-refusal” to ensure the County has an opportunity to acquire the parcel if the property owner wishes to sell in the future.

(15) Numerous properties situated within numerous “Old File Residential Subdivision Maps” scattered through the Pine Barrens at Warbler Woods (Brookhaven), Ashton Road (Brookhaven), Manorville Hills (Brookhaven), Twin Ponds (Brookhaven), Calverton Ponds (Riverhead) the southwest and northwest quadrants (Southampton) of the Dwarf Pine Plains; and at Spinney Hills (Southampton).

Status: 15.4 acres fully preserved

A printable version of this information with up to date acquisitions can be found here.

Once again, if you’d like to support the LIPBS in its mission to preserve the Best of the Rest, please consider contributing: