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Press Release:  Laurel Lake Preserve


Contact: Marsha Kenny  (631) 283-3195

Laurel, NY – On May 19, Town of Southold Supervisor Scott Russell presided over an official ribbon cutting to open the first section of the Town’s Laurel Lake Preserve, located just east of the Town’s Information Center on the Main Road in Laurel.  The Preserve is the result of the protection of the largest remaining open space parcel in the Laurel Lake watershed, a 31-acre site previously known as Camp Molloy. Since the acquisition was completed last summer, the Town has been working with Peconic Land Trust to implement a management plan that provides for passive recreation opportunities and restoration of the site’s natural areas.

The protection of critical watershed surrounding Laurel Lake has been an extraordinary partnership effort that has included the Town of Southold, Suffolk County, Peconic Land Trust, the Suffolk County Water Authority, New York State, and individual landowners. According to Supervisor Russell, “Today, as we celebrate the opening of Laurel Lake Preserve and its tremendous recreational potential, we also anticipate more conservation successes that will protect our drinking water.   We look forward to working with other landowners in the area to accomplish this important goal.”  Tim Caufield, Vice President, Peconic Land Trust, concurs, “Over 15 years, much has been accomplished to protect the key aquifer at Laurel Lake, and this process continues to result in significant rewards for our communities.” "Protecting and preserving areas such as Laurel Lake are significant environmentally, but also are important to our economy and add greatly to the quality-of-life for which Suffolk County - and the East End in particular - are known," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. "The Town of Southold's Laurel Lake Preserve will serve each of these purposes."  The County Executive added that "Suffolk has acquired over 200 acres of open space around Laurel Lake, and is in the process of securing additional acreage along the western side of Laurel Lake."

The Town of Southold is now working with the Suffolk County Parks Department, the Suffolk County Water Authority, and New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to create several miles of trails that will enable hikers to enjoy the wide diversity of flora and fauna that are found in the Laurel Lake area.  The Town is in the process of a developing a long range plan to create a stewardship, nature and education center at the Laurel Lake Preserve.

From left to right:
Marsha Kenny, Peconic Land Trust Director of Communications Edward Romaine, Suffolk County Legislator Jim McMahon, Town of Southold Director of Public Works and Community Development Tom Wickham, Town of Southold Councilman Al Krupski, Town of Southold Councilman Bill Edwards, Town of Southold Councilman Tim Caufield, Peconic Land Trust Vice President Scott Russell, Town of Southold Supervisor Mike Deering, Suffolk County Director for Environmental Affairs Mary McFeely Jack McFeely Melissa Spiro, Town of Southold Land Preservation Coordinator

Picture by Denise Markut/Peconic Land Trust

For a jpeg or pdf of the Laurel Lake map, please email Dawn Haight at Peconic Land Trust, dhaight@peconiclandtrust.org, or click on thumbnail to view reduced version.

National Trails Day Celebration at Laurel Lake Preserve

Saturday, June 3, 10:00 a.m.  Main Road, Laurel

Join over one million people throughout the United States in celebrating National Trails Day!  Now in its 14th year, this annual event is being recognized by the Town of Southold with a hike through the recently opened section of Laurel Lake Preserve.  Participants will learn more about this valuable watershed area and the land surrounding it while strolling through the newly opened trail.  Listen for signs of the varied wildlife that make these fields, woodlands and wetlands their home, and bring your binoculars!  Master Naturalist Dave Lombardi will be on hand to answer questions and provide commentary on the sights and sounds of this beautiful place.

Free admission.  For more information, please call Denise Markut at (631) 734-5630.

Laurel Lake Facts

  • Laurel Lake is a 30-acre freshwater kettle hole that was formed more than 10,000 years ago.  The lake is over 45 feet deep.
  • Each year, the NYSDEC stocks the lake with Brown and Rainbow Trout.  In addition, the lake is home to a diverse fish population that includes Largemouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Yellow Perch, Brown Bullhead Catfish and Sunfish.
  • The lake and its surrounding mature woodlands, grassland/shrublands, freshwater marshes and vernal ponds support a wide range of flora and fauna.
  • Preserved land in the Laurel Lake area encompasses 480+ acres
  • The trailhead is on a 31-acre site that was formerly known as Camp Molloy, owned and operated by the Diocese of Rockville Center from 1928 until the mid-1960s.  The Town of Southold purchased the property in 2005, through the efforts of the Peconic Land Trust from Jack McFeely and partners.
  • The Laurel Lake area is listed, as significant, in the following:
  • The NYS DEC Open Space Plan

  • Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve

  • The Special Groundwater Protection Plan

  • The Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Plan

  • The Southold Town Community Preservation Plan


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Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782

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