Places We Protect

Scallop Pond Preserve

New York

Looking out over shoreline with marsh habitat to the left and ocean view to the right and background.
Scallop Pond Preserve A sunny day on Long Island. © A. Graziano Photography

Explore one of Long Island’s most pristine salt marshes.



PLEASE NOTE: Scallop Pond Preserve is open during hunting season (Oct 1 - Dec 22). Written permission is required to hunt on TNC lands. To learn about our hunting program or to obtain permission to hunt, please visit our New York hunting information page.

Scallop Pond Preserve is one of the most pristine salt marshes left on eastern Long Island and part of the Sebonac Creek estuary. The marshes and tidal flats are flooded twice daily by the tide and serve as a major spawning ground for shellfish and finfish, including scallops, winter flounder, summer flounder, menhaden, weakfish and scup. The preserve is also an important stopover point for migratory birds. In fact, it’s an important habitat for birds year round—144 different bird species have been recorded here.

Scallop Pond Preserve is an assemblage of six tracts donated by the Salm, Ramos, Johnson, and Greenfield families in the mid-1970s. Although Scallop Pond is one of Long Island’s least developed coastal wetlands, it has a long history of human use. The Sebonac Creek estuary was an important source of food for Native Americans and European colonists. By the 1790s, much of the forest in this area had been cut for houses and shipbuilding, and by the 1830s the estuary was being fished for menhaden.

By the 1880s, records show an annual harvest of oysters, scallops, quahogs, soft shell clams and eels. Sport-hunting became widespread by 1900, and it wasn’t uncommon for a hunter to kill upwards of 300 scaups in a single day. These practices led to the quick extinction of birds such as the passenger pigeon, heath hen, Eskimo curlew and Labrador duck.




55 acres

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Scallop Pond Preserve offers a one-mile stroll through beautiful salt marshes and near ponds. Trails are open for hiking and observing nature from dawn to dusk. Visitors are reminded not to walk in the fragile marsh habitat.

Please note when traveling to the preserve that the sand-and-dirt road that comes off of Scotts Road into Scallop Pond Preserve is called “K Road” on most maps. It is located directly across from Scallop Pond Road. K Road is the road you will use to enter the preserve. This road can be difficult to drive on due to large, seasonal potholes and puddles; it is often easier to park along the 90-degree bend at the beginning of K Road and walk on K Road down to the pond and marshes. This half-mile sand road is a wonderful, sometimes muddy walk. It is great for birdwatching and offers excellent views of the site’s expansive marshlands. Late afternoon and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the light move across the marsh grasses.  

If you live locally and are interested in becoming a Preserve Monitor or Steward, please email Preserve Director Kevin Munroe at

This preserve provides valuable nesting and feeding areas for a variety of birds, from American black duck and other waterfowl to shorebirds such as least and common terns and piping plover. The pond is rich in wading birds, including American bittern, green heron, snowy egret and black-crowned night heron. Spring and fall bring neotropical migrants stopping to rest on their marathon journeys. The best place to observe birds is at the end of the dirt road off Scott Road.

From this vantage point, it is also possible to look back on the tranquil wetlands and the labyrinth of tributaries that flood during each high tides. The vegetation that thrives here must be uniquely adapted to this cycle and is comprised predominantly of salt marsh cordgrass, salt hay and salt grass. At the back of the marsh, saltwort, sea lavender, and salt marsh fleabane grow. Groundsel bush and marsh elder dominate the drier edges of the habitat, giving way to species such as bayberry and beach plum in the upland areas. No more than five of the preserve’s 55 acres can be categorized as upland woods. Several rare and threatened plant species are found in this coastal wetland complex, including salt marsh aster, marsh pink and the best example of slender blue flag in New York State.

Scallop Pond Preserve | Long Island Explore the sights of our Scallop Pond Preserve with Long Island Preserve Director Kevin Munroe.