Southampton Trails Preservation Society
SOUTHAMPTON TRAILS PRESERVATION SOCIETY
We Are A 501(C)(3) Not For Profit
P.O. Box 1171
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
Munn’s Pond County Park - Flanders
Generously Contributed by Ken Kindler
Last Thursday I joined the Southampton Trails Preservation Society (STPS) Trail Maintenance
Crew. We continued our project to create an easy-to-follow route from Munn’s Pond County Park
to a major trail hub in the center of Sears Bellows County Park. The trail starts by the Wildlife
Rescue Center of the Hampton's in South Flanders at the entrance to Munn’s Pond Park.
The Rescue Center staff brings injured wildlife back into the wild. At the Center’s hospital
designed exclusively for wild animals, injured animals are housed in a manner that shows
sensitivity to their individual needs. There is a Raptor Flight Conditioning Building that is 100 feet
long 20 feet high. The Wildlife Rescue Center receives 10,000 calls a year for information and
assistance with wild animal encounters. To inquire about educational tours and programs or sick
or injured wild animals contact (631) 728-WILD.
To get here, take Sunrise Highway to exit 65 South. After a very short distance you reach a “T”
intersection facing the Hampton's Diner; turn right (west) onto Montauk Highway. Pass the
Bellows Pond Road intersection. A quarter mile further west on Montauk Highway, turn right by
the County Park sign and drive up the driveway. Park by the split rail fence. Facing the fence you
will see the Wildlife Rescue Center. The trail begins behind and to the right of the building, across
a lawn by a kiosk. A nice, easy-to-follow trail winds around the three ponds adjacent to the Center.
It is blazed with plastic red owl blazes.
Follow the red blazes over a dam between the ponds. Turn left and continue walking along the
shoreline of the second pond. Walk through a mature oak and pine forest. The trail tread is made
soft by the accumulation of leaves. Soon the trail splits. To the left, the red trail continues around
the pond; to the right, the blue owl trail heads in a northerly direction. The trail is a bit muddy
where it gets too close to the pond, but it is passable. After about a half mile there is a right turn
onto a woods road; note the DEC “No Hunting” sign and blazes for a horse trail. Pass under an
overpass for a road that was never built.
The trail here is churned up by illegal ATV use. The trail then leads under the Sunrise Highway
Bellows Pond Road overpass. Bear to the right where the horse trail continues to the left. The
road noise is disturbingly loud here. Rejoin the horse and ATV trail and continue under another
overpass for a road that was never built. It is a cement structure with trees growing out of its top.
Continue following the blue owl blazes and the ATV tracks left, onto the power line right-of-way
(ROW). Follow the blue owl blazes on the left side of the ROW for about a quarter-mile.
To the right of the power line road you can see Bellows Pond, picnic tables, and campgrounds.
Near the end of the camping area, a right turn off of the ROW leads you towards Bellows Pond.
Continue along the Bellows Pond shoreline where you will also see the blue-painted rectangles
that mark the loop around Bellows Pond. The trail takes you up a badly eroded ravine, onto a
ridge with a good view of the pond.
At the intersection where the blue owl trail leads northwest, veer left to leave the loop trail. I was
thankful that I didn’t pick up any ticks; the STPS trail crew recently came through and cut the
brush away from the trail. As you cross over another horse trail, notice that the road noise has
faded away. Continue along the ridge, to the right a steep slope leads down to wetlands that feed
Division Pond. Soon the trail reaches a crossroads where the Paumanok Path runs north to
Hubbard’s Creek and west to Sears Pond.
This is also an access point for the fantastically beautiful 6-mile black owl loop. Walking back, look
for the blue painted blazes and remember to turn right when you reach Bellows Pond. If you
follow the Bellows Pond loop to the left (clockwise) it will take you past rest rooms and phones,
and eventually back to the blue owl trail and Munn’s Pond.
The Wildlife Rescue Center and the red trail around the ponds are nice to visit. The close access
to other trails makes this a place with which any serious hiker would want to become familiar.