Plans for new state park taking shape

Some 70 people showed up on a rainy night Tuesday to offer input on the state’s plans to transform a massive swath of land that stretches from Northville to Laurel into a state park.

Fishing, scuba diving and horseback riding enthusiasts were well represented at the public hearing, those in attendance said. The meeting was held in a barn at the Hallockville Museum Farm, which abuts the 220-acre property on Long Island Sound.

It was the second hearing since September at which potential features of the park were discussed. It is likely be called Hallock State Park, a departure from the previously proposed Jamesport State Park and Preserve name. The land is not in Jamesport hamlet.

The state’s draft plan, released last month, calls for public access roads and parking spaces, and emphasizes passive recreation, meaning hiking or horseback riding, as well as environmental education services.

“I think the draft plan is a good one,” said Richard Wines, a member of the state’s planning team for the park. “It certainly is very sensitive to the environment of the area, in particular Hallock Pond, which, it turns out, is really the most pristine body of water the parks department has on Long Island.”

The state’s plan calls for a well-marked hiking trail system while allowing for fishing, diving, canoeing and kayaking and horseback riding. Under the draft plan, horseback riders would be able to make use of the park with a permit certain times of the year.

While work is expected to start next year with the construction of a main road and parking lot, the entire master plan, once finalized, is expected to take 10 to 15 years to fully implement.

The land, which was once part of larger parcel of state land that was sold off to farmers — with the proceeds dedicated to building the park on the remaining state land — is undeveloped. There are no roads leading to the property. The land had in the past been used for farming, a summer camp and also a sand mining operation.

Copies of the draft plan, as well as a draft environmental impact statement, are available at the Wildwood State Park office and the Riverhead Public Library. An online version is available at

[email protected]