East Hampton’s bicycle committee wants to establish what could be the nation’s first beach that is accessible only by bicycle, somewhere along the Napeague stretch.
“It would minimize despoilation of the natural dunes and encourage alternative transportation,” said Councilwoman Theresa Quigley at East Hampton’s Tuesday morning work session. “It fits a lot of pieces: trying to be more eco-friendly, infrastructure, safety on the beaches. It’s more ecologically beneficial to not have all that parking in dune areas.”
“I think it would be the first in the nation,” said Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.
Ms. Quigley said the beach would have a lifeguard, handicapped parking spots and a turnaround for emergency vehicles, but otherwise only bicyclists would be allowed to park there. Town employees are scoping out possible sites now.
The bike committee in East Hampton is thinking big, said Ms. Quigley, with proposals in the works for alternative routes through the woods throughout town, which would enable bicyclists to commute from, say, Sag Harbor to East Hampton without having to travel the same roads as cars.
She said the paths wouldn’t be paved, but they would differ from mountain bike trails in that their purpose would be to provide a transportation route from one location to another.
“This is a way of using bikes as part of the infrastructure. Not the way the roads go, but the way the bikes go,” she said.
“I think this idea of a bike beach is intriguing,” said Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who added that he is also interested in allowing certain roads to be open only to what he described as Italian-style cyclists for road racing at certain hours of the day. He suggested Bluff Road in Amagansett as one possible site.
“Only Italian bikers, Mr. Stanzione?” asked Mr. Wilkinson.
“No, English bikers too….” said the councilman.
Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc said he has seen similar trails to the ones Ms. Quigley described in Stowe, Vermont.
“We should be trying to move forward on better ways to connect amenities for bike travel,” he said.
John Little Loo
People who live in Springs are so pleased with the success of a recent art exhibit at Duck Creek Farm, which is owned by East Hampton Town, that they’d like to see more art shows there. But they might have to bring their own potties if the town doesn’t agree to pay for restrooms there.
Loring Bulger, of Springs, told the East Hampton Town Board at Tuesday’s work session that the people of Springs “would really like to see this continue as an artistic venue.”
She said the Springs School would like to have a Halloween event there, with an interactive lighting exhibit “on a high artistic level.”
The farm was purchased by the town for historic preservation purposes through the Community Preservation Fund, and the barn, which is the former art studio of John Little, does not have bathrooms or electricity.
Ms. Quigley said the event could open up the town to liabilities, especially “with children and weird lighting issues.” She also said she doesn’t think the town should pay for Porta Potties there.
Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc said he thought her idea was ridiculous.
“Bathrooms are a basic fundamental service,” he said. “We provide them at all our buildings.”
“The Springs School can bring the potty,” countered Ms. Quigley.
Zachary Cohen, who has lent his support to the town on budgetary issues and ran for town supervisor two years ago, said he and some other community members are looking into forming a non-profit organization that could help fundraise to fix up the barn.
Bill Crane of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife asked the town board Tuesday to consider refusing to allow wild turkey hunting on town land. New York State instituted a wild turkey hunt for the week leading up to Thanksgiving several years ago, but Mr. Crane said East Hampton could refuse to allow the hunting on its own lands.
“Wild turkeys are the number one predator of ticks,” he said. “They’re right up there with guinea hens.”
He added that he inherited two baby turkeys that fell off of a truck bound for a slaughterhouse, and brought them to his farm sanctuary upstate. He said, for a while, the turkeys just walked around clucking and making noise, but one day, when a group of Girl Scouts came to the sanctuary to hold a ceremony pledging to take care of animals, the turkeys sat down reverentially in the circle of girls.
“The humans present were just amazed. They couldn’t believe it,” he said. “Obviously the turkeys didn’t understand the words of the pledge…But there’s something about the solemn reverence of the girls and they felt that spiritual movement.”
Southold, Shelter Island and Southampton meet next Tuesday. Riverhead has cancelled today’s work session.