Friends of the Edgewoood Preserve suspended its stewardship of the Edgewood Preserve in July 2011, in protest of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s egregious mis-management of the property, a rare and special oak brush plains wildlife habitat.
We have spent the past year working on a new website and a new direction for the organization. We will be a watch dog and advocacy group, and will keep our name, Friends of the Edgewood Preserve, but our website will be called Save The Oak Brush Plains. We will no longer host hikes or bird walks or educational forums or Earth Day events or fall clean-ups or any of the many things we used to do physically at the preserve. We will not be removing invasives species or planting native species in an attempt to educate, inform and involve. We are as sad about that as we know that so many of you are (we have received so many e-mails and letters), but the DEC’s leadership, especially on Long Island, leaves a lot to be desired, and we simply could not work with the agency any longer.
Our newsletter is long overdue and will be distributed shortly and will have lots of news and updates. It will be our last printed version. From now on, our newsletter will only be distributed online.
We apologize for our long silence, but we had much to discuss and decide these past many months and we did not want to make any announcements until we were certain of the course we were going to take.
We are deeply saddened that after so many years of hard work to not only improve the preserve but get the community involved in its stewardship as well, that we had to sever ties with the DEC. But we simply could not continue to assist an agency that has lost its way, and that is incapable and unwilling to manage the Edgewood Preserve as the law mandates.
We remain committed to making sure that the adjacent Pilgrim parcel will not be developed in any way, shape or form and that, as per the law, will be transferred to the preserve, thereby increasing the open space acreage to almost 1,000 acres. In a crowded and recklessly overdeveloped and dangerously polluted Western Suffolk County, this is not some luxury. This is essential to our well-being and the well-being of the life that surrounds and sustains us: the birds and wildlife, bees and butterflies and the water that sits in aquifers below this open space, that provides us with clean drinking water.
Our fight is far from over. We will not rest until this Pilgrim land is transferred. We will not rest until the NYS DEC manages the Edgewood Preserve as a nature preserve and not a park. We will not rest until the agency gets serious about improving and protecting the preserve, instead of believing that maintaining trails and picking up garbage or pulling some invasive plant species willy nilly without any serious science-based plan constitutes management. We will not rest until the agency stops catering to some groups because it is just easier to do so. We will not rest until money that was earmarked for a nature center is used for that purpose, and until the the Governor and the state get serious about protecting Long Island’s fragile open spaces, polluted air and a water supply that is questionable both in terms of quantity and quality.
Stay tuned for the new website – to go public right before Memorial Day. Newsletter to be distributed shortly.