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No piece of oceanfront property on Long Island surpasses Shadmoor’s striking beauty and panoramic views. With spectacular fluted sand and clay bluffs that plunge dramatically down to the Atlantic, Shadmoor’s trails have been enjoyed since the time of the Montauketts.
At one time, the area was inhabited by farmers who purchased the land from the Native Americans to use as common pasture for their livestock. Shadmoor was still a grassland at the turn of the 20th century when it became Camp Wycoff, where Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, returning from the Spanish American War of 1898, were quarantined as they battled malaria and other tropical diseases.
Over the years, most of the grassland has grown into a dense maritime heathland dotted with wetlands, including several small ponds that are important habitat for both migrating and nesting birds. During World War II, Shadmoor was used as a coastal artillery fire control station, and two historic bunkers remain there today.
In 2000, the land was acquired by New York State, Suffolk County, and the Town of East Hampton, with a conservation easement over a portion of the property held by The Nature Conservancy.
Shadmoor is a paradise for bird watchers and wildlflower lovers. The opportunity to hike along its coastal bluffs with their spectacular coastline views is reason enough to visit. The 3-plus miles of trails are open for hiking and observing nature from dawn to dusk. Be sure to stay on the trails to avoid ticks, chiggers, and poison ivy. If you live locally and are interested in becoming a Preserve Monitor or Steward, please email Derek Rogers, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shadmoor’s expanse of preserved oceanfront makes it a refuge for birds and other wildlife, and one of the few remaining habitats for a number of endangered wildflowers, including sandplain gerardia, the rarest plant in New York State. A federally endangered species, this member of the snapdragon family with delicate pink summer flowers was once widespread but is now found in only 13 locations, six of which are on Long Island. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this preserve is essential for the wildflower’s survival.
Shadmoor's 99 acres are also home to six State rare plants, including New England blazing star, grassleaf, ladies tresses orchid and a uncommon native viburnum shrub.
If you visit in spring, you’ll see the heath in bloom, with beach plum, shadbush, and highbush bluebery leading the show. In fall, the landscape turns crimson and gold as the blueberries and other heath denizens prepare to shed their leaves for the winter.
Anytime is a good time to see birds at Shadmoor, whether warblers or towhees flitting among the shrubs, shorebirds feeding along the shore, waterfowl dabbling in the ponds, or harriers swooping high above the bluffs.
This 99-acre preserve is located on Montauk, Long Island.
From Montauk Village, continue east on Route 27 about one mile and look for the large "Shadmoor State Park” sign on the right side of the road.