David A. Sarnoff Pine Barrens Preserve
part of the new Pine Barrens State Forest Preserve
Riverhead, Suffolk County, Long Island, NY
2,506 acres

Need a permit (the same one allows access to the Rocky Point Preserve).  Write to NYSDEC, Division of Lands and Forests, Building 40, SUNY-Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11790-2356 for a permit.


Rt. 495 (L.I.E.) to exit 71, Rt. 24 east to Riverhead traffic circle; make the first right onto County Road 63 (Lake Avenue); drive south for 0.2 of a mile and park in the preserve entrance at a small parking lot on the left.

Trails through classic pine barrens habitat provide opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and seasonal hunting.


David Sarnoff  (simplified from short bio by Michael O'Toole)

1891 -- David Sarnoff born to Abraham and Leah Sarnoff . His father was an poor immigrant Jewish painter from Russia.

1896 -- Abraham comes to the United States.

1900 -- the rest of the family comes to the US. His father was in poor health and David decides he is going to have to become the primarily breadwinner. He opened a newspaper stand at age fourteen. Later he got a job at the Commercial Cable Company. He learned to operate the telegraph key. He got a job with the American Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company as a junior telegraph operator. He would work for Marconi and its successor, the Radio Corporation for the next sixty years.

1906 -- he meets Marconi. He eventually works his way up to Chief Inspector for Marconi. He also meets Edwin H. Armstrong, an inventor working on a receiver that would pick up wireless signals better. Sarnoff sees great potential in being able to send a signal from one point to many receivers.

1914 -- Sarnoff experiments in sending music and voice to the Wanamaker Dept. Store in Philadelphia.

1919 -- the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) incorporated with Sarnoff as commercial manager. RCA begins building radios and the radio takes off.

In the late 1920's -- creation of the National Broadcasting Company, a new president of the corporation.

1923 -- Sarnoff becomes vice president.

1929 -- stock market crash.

1930 -- Sarnoff becomes the third president of RCA at age39.

1933 -- new RCA building built.

1939 -- at the World's Fair Sarnoff introduces television.

World War II -- as an officer he serves in the planning the radio communications for D-day. For his services, he is made a General.

1954 -- Sarnoff introduces color television.

1965 -- his son, Robert Sarnoff, becomes president of RCA, while he becomes chairman of the board.

1968 -- he develops shingles and then an infection in his mastoids. He lost his ability to see, speak, or hear.

1971 -- he dies.

The preserve is managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


There are three trails. One short hike heads south to Frog Pond and then head around in a small circle to double back to the parking area.

The Paumanok path heads east from Wildwood Lake into the southwestern corner of the preserve and heads east across the parkland then north to the parking area. From there it exits from the southeastern corner of the preserve.

Source: Geffen and Berglie, 1996: Chapter 21.


Acer rubrum (red maple)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry)
Chamaedaphne calyculata (leatherleaf)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Decodon verticillatus (swamp loosestrife)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Opuntia humifusa (prickly pear cactus)
Quercus ilicifolia (scrub oak)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry)
Vaccinium sp. (a low bush blueberry)

Drosera sp. (round-leaved sundew)
Nymphaea odorata (fragrant white water lily)

Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)