SHINNECOCK EAST COUNTY PARK
end of Dune Road, Southampton, Suffolk County, NY

Info from Ann F. Johnson; LIBS Newsletter; Sept.-Oct. 1996; p. 35
and Willard N. Clute "Spring in the Shinnecock Hills"


Directions:

Meet at the north entrance to Southampton Tuckahoe Road. Take Sunrise Highway (Rt 27) east over Shinnecock Canal; the highway narrows from four-lanes to two-lanes just east of the Lobster Inn; proceed east for about 1.7 miles turn right on Tuckahoe Road, cross the RR tracks and immediately turn right into the parking lot.


History:

Named for the Algonquin Indian tribe that inhabited the area. The word Shinnecock means "at the level land."

The adjoining land, formerly Shinnecock West County Park, was renamed Charles F. Altenkirch County Park in 1999 to honor a Hampton Bays resident and fishing enthusiast who helped keep the Shinnecock Inlet open for public use. The two county parks together have over 500 acres of land.

(Cynthia Blair, Newsday Names of Long Island; http://www.newsday.com/features/custom/names)


Habitats:

Shinnecock Hills supports one of New York's last remaining maritime grassland and maritime heathland communities.

A stretch of the Ronkonkoma moraine about four miles long and less than one mile wide extending east from the Shinnecock Canal toward the village of Southampton. Over time the area has changed a lot. The hills went from bare sand to grassy heath in 75 years (1822-1897), from grassy heath to pitch pine forest in 86 years (1897-1983), and may go to oak forest as the pines shade out their own seedlings and oak seedlings grow into the canopy.

The sand hills rise to an elevation of 50 feet. The highest peak is 141 feet at Sugarloaf Hill in the south-central part.


Facilities:

The activities available at Shinnecock East include:

Outer Beach Camping for Self contained vehicles only, saltwater fishing, and Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Use.

Flanking the jettied eastern border of the Shinnecock Inlet where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, this rugged, undeveloped barrier beach park includes both ocean and bay beach recreation areas. Shinnecock is a favorite spot for striped bass fishing.

Off-road recreational vehicles may drive on the outer (ocean) beach once appropriate permits have been obtained. 100 campsites on the outer beach are available to self-contained campers with valid Suffolk County Parks Keys. No tent camping is permitted. Small parking lot available for green key card holders. Vehicles with Suffolk County Parks outer beach stickers must park on the beach.


PLANT LIST:


Trees:
Juniperus virginiana (eastern red cedar)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Quercus velutina (black oak)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry)
Aronia sp. (chokeberry)
Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)
Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hudsonia tomentosa (beach heather)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Opuntia humifusa (prickly-pear cactus)
Prunus maritima (beach plum)
Rhus copallina (winged sumac)
Rubus hispidus (dewberry)
Vaccinium spp.

Herbs:
Antennaria sp. (mouse-ear plantain)
Aster concolor (silvery aster) found by Eric Lamont and Steve Young
Aster ericoides (heath aster)
Chrysopsis falcata (sickle-leaved golden aster)
Helianthemum dumosum (a large flowered rockrose, seen here in the past)
Linaria sp. (the blue Linaria)
Lupinus (lupine)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Potentilla spp. (cinquefoils)
Ranunculus bulbosus (bulbous buttercup)
Sisyrinchium sp. (blue-eyed grass) here in profusion
Solidago spp. (goldenrods)
Viola pedata (bird-foot violet)

Sedges:
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Grasses:
Deschampsia flexuosa (wavy hairgrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Others:
Cladonia spp. (reindeer mosses)