Fred Dill Wildlife Sanctuary
Fair Street, town of Carmel, Putnam County, NY
48 acres (Under Construction)


Take the Taconic Parkway north and get off at the last exit in Westchester County (Route 6 east; Jefferson Valley); take Route 6 east passing through the town of Mahopac and into Carmel where Route 6 will meet with Route 52; keep going straight ahead (this time on Route 52); drive 0.4 of a mile past the intersection and turn right on Fair Street (just past the Putnam County Courthouse).  Drive 0.3 of a mile (passing Carmel High School) and turn right into a small parking area.


There is an historical marker near the Sanctuary.  "County Fairgrounds.  Organized in 1851 with land purchased in 1865.  Agricultural exhibits and a one-half mile harness race track with grandstand operated until 1932."

1931 the fairground was billed in the 1931 Putnam County Year Book as the only racetrack for harness racing east of the Hudson and north of the Long Island Sound

1933  -- educated at Bentley College in Boston, 20 year old Fred Dill made his way from Goshen to Putnam County where he worked for his dad taking care of the horse at Carmel racetrack. (Fred became successful in the lumber business and lived on Seminary Hill Road. Carl Dill, one of Fred Dill's seven children, owns the Dill's Best Building Centers chain.)

2001  --  90 year old Fred Dill bought 45 acres along Route 6 for $220,000.

Carmel philanthropist Fred Dill donated 45 acres of land east of the new courthouse site. The recreation area was added to other county open space to form a 147-acre Wildlife Sanctuary and Educational Center.

Carmel historian Allan Warnecke studied an aerial photograph of the old racetrack, which remains partially intact. He said you could still see the track laid out in the brush.


marsh, woods


The educational center will include a classroom, a gathering area, bathrooms, an office, a garage and a veranda.


Planned are marked trails and an Education Center that will highlight the areas natural science and wildlife.

The Putnam Trailway, a hiking and biking pathway that runs along former railroad tracks for 3.9 miles from Seminary Hill Road in Carmel to Brewster and travels up Route 6 from Mahopac and, when completed, will pass by the sanctuary and end in Brewster. The total distance for the bikeway will be 11.4 miles from Mahopac to Brewster.

5/17/04.  As of yet, there are no marked trails.  There is a sign up for the Sanctuary, but there is also a sign saying "Under Construction." There are the remains of a path that is very overgrown on the left hand side of the marsh as you face it.  I pushed through this area and took a short walk, being stopped by the water of the Phragmites marsh.  

Source: Cara Matthews, May 2, 2004. "CARMEL: Hamlet busily building up a beautiful image." The Journal News.

and Cara Matthews, February 16, 2003, "Putnam to name park after land donor." The Journal News.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
dates = dates plants found in bloom

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Populus grandidentata (big-toothed aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood) 5/17/04
Cornus racemosa (gray-stem dogwood)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn) 5/17/04
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) 5/1704
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus) 5/17/04
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry) 5/17/04
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Salix discolor (pussy willow)
Viburnum dentatum (smooth arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum) 5/17/04

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/17/04
Allium sp. (canadense)? (Canada onion)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Fragaria sp. (strawberry)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium mollugo (wild madder)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 5/17/04
Glechoma hederacea (gill over the ground)  5/17/04
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 5/17/04
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 5/17/04
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 5/17/04
Plantago major (common plantain)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 5/17/04
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 5/17/04
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Senecio aureus (golden alexanders) 5/17/04
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 5/17/04
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)

Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) lots of it
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)