Southaven County Park contains a pine and oak forested area, with a portion of the Carmens River a part of Shirley, New York. It is perhaps best known as the landing site of an alleged UFO in 1992. Watching a show on the History Channel a few years ago that featured interviews with witnesses and footage of an alien corpse was the first time that I heard about it. Being surrounded by hundreds of pine trees and a good paranormal story, it goes without saying that I was ready to visit Southaven.
While I was preparing for hiking, I became familiarized with the history and habitats of Southaven County Park, a popular place for hiking, hunting, bird watching, and became one of the first Suffolk County parks to open to the public in the 1960s. Hikers are captivated by the majestic pines and the Carmans River, which runs into the Great South Bay on its way south. “As you journey deeper into the woods, you will see progressively more pine trees typical of the Long Island Pine Barrens,” said a nature trail guide for the park.
More than 100 campsites and big picnic areas are also available at the Southaven County Park, and about three miles of horse paths can be found to walk on. The property also houses the Homan-Gerard House and Mills, a historic home and mill complex on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the childhood home of Mary Louise Booth, who started Harper's Bazaar, served as it's first editor. Also, the Long Island Steamers operate an outdoor scale track on 8.5 acres dedicated specifically to their organization aimed at preserving rail history. This is a park with an excellent deal to offer, in my opinion.
On Victory Avenue near Gerard Road and just south of Sunrise Highway (NY Route 27), Shirley, New York is where the park's entrance is located. A vast parking field is a stone's throw from the trails that will lead you north. It's too bad that the paths aren't marked and a variety of random paths diverge off in all directions. I turned left towards the river, then retraced my steps back along the western edge. Regarding trail length, it really depends on how far one goes before deciding to turn back. For example, the website AllTrails.com provides an illustration of the 2.8-mile loop route running along the river. It took at least one hour to hike past some power lines until I reached the Long Island Rail Road.
Although you may take any route, you will certainly notice the sandy trails in the Southaven County Park. It is understood that the type of soil in these areas is conducive to pine trees, rather than some other trees that may have difficulty surviving. In order to purify water, we need sand in our soil. As a result, water can percolate down to an aquifer where it is filtered. In this manner, drinking water is purified and replenished.
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