The front-page article by your reporter about the need for bluff stabilization of Beacon Hill is well-written and accurate, as far as it goes. There is another part of the story, however, unmentioned in the piece.
The approximately 200-acre property that was the sand mine for nearly 100 years, ending in the 1980s, formerly owned by Nassau County and transferred to the Town of North Hempstead a few years ago, is now a thriving preserve. There are wetlands teeming with water birds, beaver, muskrats, frogs and other swamp critters. Deer have been recently sighted. Foxes, raccoons and opossums are regular denizens. Native vegetation including oak and maple trees, native grasses and lots of poison ivy, have taken root on nearly all the open soil. Truly, a great job by Mother Nature.
There are amazing geological features including a hoodoo (a clay and rock pinnacle) that is at least 50,000 years old; huge boulders called erratics deposited by the last glacier covering Long Island about 22,000 years ago; deposits of soils that are from the Cretaceous period, 150-plus million years old; hollowed-out half-round concretions known as Indian paint pots.
For several years, our organization, PWGreen, has been working with Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio to establish trails in the preserve. We were fortunate to be able to bring in a partner in this endeavor, C.L.I.M.B. (Concerned Long Island Mountain Bikers – Michael Vitti, president). Mike’s group creates non-motorized bike and walking trails in preserves and public spaces all over the metropolitan area, for free. After a great deal of help from Councilwoman De Giorgio and ultimately approval by the town, trail construction (both biking and walking) is now underway.
The contractor, the Galvin Brothers, we are told are very experienced in cliff stabilization (their company stabilized the cliffs near the Harbor Links Golf Course). The job they will be undertaking to stabilize the remaining cliffs necessarily involves bringing in heavy equipment for several months as well as storing it on site. We hope that the Galvin Brothers have the same level of concern for the uniqueness and fragility of this fantastic preserve in Port’s backyard, as many of us do.