Calverton Ponds PreserveCalverton Ponds PreserveCalverton Ponds PreserveCalverton Ponds Preserve

Calverton Ponds Preserve

approx. 150 acres near ponds; conventionally listed as 350 acres

Last Updated: June 15, 2021; Contributors: Andy-V.

Relatively remote, quiet and undisturbed park is in Manorville on Old River Rd. a minute from exit 70 on the LIE. Date of visit is 6/5/21. Heavy presence of pine trees with sizeable ponds throughout gives this relatively small park a wide-open feel and offers a great escape from nearby suburbia. Pond levels fluctuate with rain and water is at peak level now on 6/5/21. Ponds look healthy as compared to depleted sunbaked status in previous visits. Lilies and grasses in full bloom and waterfowl about. Two ticks just brushed off clipboard as I am writing this.

Yet, improvement suggestions follow. Place map of park at trailhead (there is already a good one online). Light brushwork on trails, some encroaching vegetation, great for questing ticks. Parking is just pull offs on a seldom traveled road. A very hidden park, which is part of the attraction. A few potentially misleading visitors made trails wander off the beaten path. Could use a few more blazes along main trails. Potentially dangerous deadfalls (trees) suspended near/over trail.  Information sign next to pond. Faded beyond legibility. Would be nice to refurbish.

It is the Calverton Ponds Preserve [Editor's Note: Black, Sandy, and Fox Ponds], yet one pond is very nearly lake sized it seemed. Main attraction are the pristine pond areas, each one like a little theater into the natural world, offering new observations of wildlife at play with each visit. The forest seems to seamlessly bleed into the ponds and there is no clear coastline, replaced instead by wetland vegetation that quite different to that which is usually seen near saltwater and brackish regions most common on Long Island. Lilies were blooming in white across the whole of the large ponds and frogs could be heard in full mating song.

At the little most northern pond: A group of ducks (unidentified, will not forget my binoculars again), probably 8-10 in number were causing a riot of sorts, chasing after each other over the water, feet and wings flapping frantically, yet the mood was a joyous one and I could not help but think these were mating games given the season it was. The frenzied cacophony reached a climax when the geese arrived with a racket of their own honks.

Calverton Ponds Preserve is a standalone park not connected to any others, although Robert Cushman Murphy County Park is just southwest of it (~1/2 mile). There are no utility corridors or easements of any kind in this park, though one trail nears the park boundary and neighborhoods yards are visible. Plenty of game trails to be found, some even followed by visitors. Trails visible but may be a bit difficult for novice explorers to navigate. Secondary trails could use light brushwork and all trails need improved blazing for increased ease of visitation. Map at trailhead.

Outside of winter, ticks are always bad here and utmost care must be taken in this notorious area. This park in particular has had people claiming to exit with 20-40 ticks on them during the spring and summer months. Dragonflies, butterflies, mosquitoes, generally ample insect life observed. Ducks, geese observed. Myriad of bird songs/calls heard. Game trails visible, most likely the work of deer. Turkeys observed near park entrance along road in the wood line. Lone Star Tick Larva are also quite prevalent in this area. Red-tailed hawk seen being chased away by a smaller black bird.

Needs Followup - In that, the Editor hasn't been there in years.

needs follow up
Apr-Jun 2021
What's Doing Great?
- Yes, Good Boundaries (adequate signage, no encroachment by neighbors)
natural conditions
- Yes, Good Natural Conditions (minimum invasive species)
- Yes, Good Protection (lacks any signs of vandalism, garbage, illegal ATV's, dumping, etc)
- Yes, Good Trails (well marked and maintained, minimal erosion)
wilderness experience
- quiet, secluded, pristine
What Needs Improvement?
interpretive sign issues
public access issues
- either related to parking, safety, or amenities need improvement
tick issues
- ticks noted to be bad at certain times of year
trail issues
- showing signs of erosion, poor signage, needs updating, or in need of maintenance
What's There?
forests & woodlands
- either hardwoods (leaves drop - oak, hickory, etc.), more open woodland, or shrublands
- ponds, wet meadows, swamps, marshes, lakes, or streams
pine barrens
- pitch pine (evergreen, 3 needle pine) dominates the tree canopy, with sandy soils and bushfires common

Calverton Ponds Preserve

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