Arthur Kunz County Park

Location: San Remo, NY 

Size: 93 acres 

Date of hike: March 22, 2014

Arthur Kunz County Park gets right down to business.  It has no park office.  No parking lot.  No special entrance or kiosk with a map.  It just suddenly appears at a bend on Landing Avenue, with visitors parked on a dirt road adjacent to the turn.  That path leads to the park.  And as soon as you enter, the beauty begins.  Like I said, this park doesn't mess around.

With some parks, you'll almost ease your way into nature.  For example, you might find a packed playground or a paved pathway before reaching the heart of the park.  But not here.  The trees towered over me within seconds and I immediately felt at peace in the wilderness.  My pre-hike research told me the land contains "tidal creeks, a lush mixed deciduous forest, rolling hills and valleys, and quaint hidden ponds" along the western bank of the Nissequogue River, according to the Suffolk County Parks Department's website.  Well, I glimpsed the river within a minute as well as white tree markers for a section of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail, a 34-mile trail that runs north to south from East Islip to Kings Park.  With a choice of going right or left, I chose right.  But first, I put my beloved iPod on shuffle to help set the mood.

The first thing I came upon was a cute creek winding between the tall trees.  The water was narrow enough to hop over, but three blocks of wood acted as a crossing for those vertically challenged.  I admired the sight for a brief moment.  I still couldn't believe it had just been a matter of minutes since I arrived.  This park was like diving right into the deep end of a pool.  Next, I reached the second highlight: an abandoned car.  I couldn’t discern the car's model, but it was old and rusty.  I also don't know how it got there.  I doubt it fit between the trees.  Shortly thereafter, I came upon a boulder with a spray-painted image of the American flag that offered a nice view of the river.  I hoisted myself atop the rock and grabbed a snack.

Next, I continued to take the path east with the river to my left.  A few openings in the trees allowed me to access the water and, with the tide low, I was able to tiptoe right onto the soft sand which was peppered with shells and parts of horseshoe crabs.  There were tons of tiny holes along the shore, which I think indicates life beneath the surface, and the fish odor was almost unbearable.  About 20 yards away was a skinny little island in the middle of the river.  Times like these make me wish I had a kayak.  Instead, I grabbed some small stones and hurled them as far as I could to see if I could reach the island.  On my third try, I made it.

Other natural attractions included a tree, likely overturned during a storm, that was perfectly parallel to the water and looked like the plank of a pirate ship.  There were also a few stone walls overgrown with weeds, making me wonder what might've been there back in the day.  Another sweet spot was a teepee-like structure off the marked trail in the park's southern sectionThe nearby graffiti and trash led me to believe it was some sort of teen hangout.   

If you like a quick hike as well as instant seclusion, Arthur Kunz is a solid choice.  For me, two great qualities for a park are when it’s both beautiful and not crowded.  This fit the bill.



2 comments:

  1. This is one of the most enticing articles I've read in awhile. I live nearby and niw I feel like I absolutely must check this out for myself. Well done!

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  2. Theres another place like this out in greenport with 2 trucks from the 50s along an old but still used railway! Also Cranberry Park preserve in westchester (in case you dont mind traveling a little outside of long island- about 30 minutes from the throggsneck) there is a place in the very back where the men who build the portchester dam drove their vehicles off a cliff. YOu can still see them today!

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