Southampton Trails Preservation Society
SOUTHAMPTON TRAILS PRESERVATION SOCIETY
We Are A 501(C)(3) Not For Profit
P.O. Box 1171
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
You wake up on a lovely summer day and want to treat your family to a delightful experience with nature
but you didn’t plan anything in advance. Where to go with the kids for a spontaneous adventure when
you want to spend a lovely day outside? Have you ever been to the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge
in Noyac? If you answered no, you and your family are in for a delightful discovery! This land (187
acres) was donated to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in 1954 by Mrs. Elizabeth Morton Tilton and is a
tranquil place with easy-to-follow trails.
After the long drive, you will appreciate the restroom facilities, chipmunks, chickadees, woods and the
Peconic Bay. You will want to bring along some sunflower seeds. Be certain the seeds are unsalted.
Salt will harm the birds. As you walk along the 1.5-mile nature trail, remember to walk slowly and quietly
and to listen for the chickadees. They will call you, “cheet, twit, cheet, twit” as they implore, “we’re
hungry.” Hold a few sunflower seeds out in your palms and wait for the chickadees to land on your
fingers and grab the seeds.
You have to remain very still for a while and hold your hands out away from your body. If by chance
they’re not feeding during your visit, please don’t the leave the seeds on the trail; this will attract rats,
and will also thwart other visitor’s attempts at hand feeding.
The trail is easy to follow. It offers great opportunities for bird watching, photography, environmental
education, and surfcasting should you decide to walk to the beach. Be sure to bring your binoculars, for
observing the wildlife and for the beautiful views that you will see once you hike out onto the beach.
The trails visit ponds, a salt marsh lagoon, and grasslands. When you complete the loop trail, you can
follow the trail to the beach.
From September through March you may enjoy a tranquil 1.75 mile walk out along Jessup’s Neck. Once
out on the Neck you have a beautiful view of the North Fork, Shelter Island, North Haven and Robin’s
Island. Be aware that from April through August much of this beach is closed to the public in order to
protect endangered and threatened species, such as piping plovers, least and roseate terns, peregrine
falcons, and osprey who use it for nesting and brood rearing. A viewing platform was recently
completed near the entrance to the beach. From this vantage point you can unobtrusively observe
these endangered animals.
Each year this trail becomes closer to being fully wheelchair and stroller accessible. This is a goal to
which the National Wildlife Refuge is committed. The restrooms, information kiosks, bicycle racks,
benches, excellent bridges, well-maintained parking lot and the ready means of obtaining permits make
this an enjoyable place to visit. On your way back to the parking lot, stop and enjoy a snack at one of the
benches. Please observe the “leave no trace” policy. Whatever you bring into the Refuge with you, you
must also take out.
Directions to the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge: From County Road 39, head east past
Southampton College, bear left onto North Sea Road. Follow the sign for Route 52, Sag Harbor and
North Sea. After traveling 2.4 miles, bear right by a small sign on the right side of the road that reads
Morton NWR 5 miles. You are now on Noyac Road (also known as Route 38 and/or Noyack Road). In
exactly 5 miles, you will see the entrance to the Morton NWR on the left side of the road.
The Morton NWR in Sag Harbor is open from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. For more
information call the Long Island NWR Complex (631) 286-0485. A daily pass for a car is $4.00; for a
pedestrian or bicyclist it’s $2.00 (a bike rack is furnished at the entrance). An annual pass is available for
only $12.00. Fee envelopes (and a collection receptacle in which to deposit them) are provided at the
Refuge entrance. The National Wildlife Refuge appreciates and depends upon your voluntary
|The Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge
Generously Contributed by Ken Kindler