by Ken Kindler
The 100 acre Mulvihill Preserve is the centerpiece of a 200-acre patchwork of preserves. It includes an extraordinarily beautiful oak, hickory, beech, and laurel forest with views of the man-made Mulvihill Pond, streams, smaller ponds, and glacial erratics. It is a lovely hike, about four miles long.
The hike begins off Brick Kiln Road, 0.4 miles north of Scuttle Hole Road, across from Bridge Lane in Bridgehampton.
Southampton Trails Preservation Society created this trail. It was dedicated on October 26, 2003. The preservation of this property was made possible through a cooperative effort by three environmentally sensitive families – the Mulvihill, Zebrowski, and Schellinger families who worked with officials from Southampton Town, The Peconic Land Trust, and Suffolk County in order to formulate a plan for the preservation of this land.
The main trail is marked with yellow owl blazes. It runs from a 50-foot wide, half-mile-long corridor through laurel woods to the 50-acre Fair Hills Greenbelt. The trail continues past Mulvihill Pond on the left then crosses over two small, wooden bridges. The second one crosses the stream that feeds the Mulvihill Pond; note the cement dam used to create the Pond. Approximately 60 yards past the second bridge, the trail reaches a woods road forming a four-way intersection. To the right is toward private property, walking straight ahead or to the left is a loop about 2.5 miles long, and leads back to this intersection.
The trail travels along the western edge of the Great Swamp. Here, it visits a huge American beech tree and a vernal pond. Continue to follow the yellow owl blazes. You will find yourself walking on a raised, linear mound dating back to the 1700s. During this time period, when wood was scarce, these mounds were built to act as fences in order to contain livestock. Then the trail passes through a stand of white pine trees, planted by the Mulvihill family during the 1920s. Soon after, there is a Paumanok Path emblem and white rectangular blazes marking the place where the Mulvihill loop intersects with the Paumanok Path.
Along the way are both occasional yellow owl blazes and white rectangular blazes because this section of the hike encompasses the Yellow Owl Loop and the Paumanok Path. Follow the Paumanok Path until you see two yellow owl blazes. The top blaze will be set off to the left. Go left in order to continue the Yellow Owl Loop. The loop then returns through the Greenbelt to the four-way intersection, where the trail goes straight across the woods road and continues back through the corridor of laurel woods to the starting point at Brick Kiln Road
Story By Annette Hinkle, Sag Harbor Express Nov.14, 2012
The late Bill Mulvihill was known locally as an ardent environmentalist. He and his sister, Dolores Zebrowski, who passed away three weeks ago, were actively involved in land preservation — and their gift of more than 100 acres off Brickkiln Road in Sag Harbor has preserved a unique ecosystem that can now be enjoyed by all who use its trails.
But Mulvihill, who died in 2004, also understood the importance of saving ecosystems far from the East End. A high school history teacher for 32 years, Mulvihill had a passion for Africa, and he became something of an authority on the continent.
“He had the largest private library on Africa in New York,” notes his daughter, Mary Ann Mulvihill-Decker. “It was this incredible wall of books — he really was a scholar and expert on African history and natural history.”
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