Riverhead officials open town’s first nature preserve

Sound Avenue Nature Preserve, Baiting Hollow, Riverhead
BARBARELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Rudy Goodale, 6, and his brother Gavin, 4, of Calverton play at the Sound Avenue Nature Preserve Saturday. Their mother, Kathy, is on the open space committee.

Riverhead Town’s first nature preserve was officially opened to the public Saturday morning by town Councilman James Wooten, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and members of the town’s open space committee.

Improvements on the 15-acre preserve off Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow — called the Sound Avenue Nature Preserve — include about a mile of mulched trails and native shrub plantings.

Future improvements will include benches, birdhouses and educational kiosks.

A small barn on the property will be cleaned out and used for educational field trips.

The improvements to the site were funded using $75,000 from Community Preservation Fund proceeds. That money comes from a tax on real estate transfers within the town and must be used for farmland or open space preservation.

Plans for the preserve have been in the works since June 2010.

Mr. Wooten thanked all the town departments who came together to help with the project, including the engineering, highway and building and grounds departments.

“We wanted to preserve it but also to let people enjoy it for education, recreation and solitude,” Mr. Wooten said.

“A place to come to for reflection.”

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Sound Avenue Nature Preserve, Riverhead, Baiting Hollow
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The chairman of the town’s open space committee, Charles Cetas (left), and other committee members and town officials Saturday at the preserve.