In these uncertain times, nature can help us slow down and recharge. These three nature preserves are currently open to the public and are perfect destinations for sunny spring days. Owned by the North Shore Land Alliance, a local land trust that has protected open space on the North Shore of Long Island for 17 years, these preserves boast intricate trail systems, fascinating histories and an array of native animal and plant species, some of which are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old.
yellow trout lily
Beautiful yellow trout lilies are among the many native plant species that are blooming at 28-acre Cushman Woods. According to the latest research, the average age of a trout lily colony can be up to 150 years old and potentially over 1,000 years old in undisturbed forests. The trail system at Cushman Woods is the largest of all the North Shore Land Alliance preserves and boasts several restored carriage trails that were once used for fox hunting. In the 1920s, the property was part of the estate of Paul Cravath, a prominent Manhattan lawyer and partner of the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore. It was purchased by the Land Alliance with the invaluable support of Verena and Roderick H. Cushman in 2016. There is a small parking area at the entrance to the preserve. Location: Southside of 25A just east of Yellow Cote Road, Oyster Bay Cove.
Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve
The Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve is home to beautiful sugar maples (the New York State tree), a colorful meadow and white pine forest. Red fox, box turtles, Eastern screech owls and red-tailed hawks are just a sampling of the animals that inhabit there. The preserve used to contain two fields that were farmed by the Youngs Family. Farming there was discontinued in the 1960s due to lack of irrigation. Who is Hope Goddard Iselin? Mrs. Iselin was an American heiress, sportswoman and conservationist who in 1931, gave the town of Upper Brookville its name. The 42-acre preserve was named after Mrs. Iselin as it used to be part of her exquisite 160-acre estate, Wolver Hollow, which was built by her and her husband in 1914. There is a one-mile interpretive trail at the preserve as well as a parking lot. Location: Chicken Valley Road (near Laurel Woods Drive), Upper Brookville.
Cordelia H. Cushman Preserve