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Edwards Farm Update: New Fence for Farming and Natural Access Viewing Area

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April 7, 2020

By Amanda Abraham, Dan Heston

New Natural Viewing Area in Honor of Joe Townsend

For those of you who live near or have traveled along Route 25 in Orient, you may have noticed a new deer fence has been installed at the Edwards Farm. This new fence is part of our efforts to make farmland accessible to farmers growing food.

Deer can destroy anywhere from 30 percent to 100 percent of a farmer’s livelihood if it’s not protected by fencing. This critical infrastructure has become a necessity to Long Island farming. Along with the deer fence, we also will provide access to irrigation.

We are in the process of signing a lease with a local farmer to begin growing on the fields this season! (You may have noticed we released an RFP earlier this year — and we are excited to get these fields back into production).

We are also working to improve the wetlands, woodland and dike system at the preserve. To this end, we are working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to design a tide gate that will allow saltwater to flow into the wetlands south of the farmland.

Currently, this area is overrun by phragmites and other invasive plants. Improving salt water flow will facilitate our efforts to restore the health of the wetlands.

And to honor our friend and former board member, the late Joe Townsend, Jr., we have created a natural access point along the water. This will allow visitors to walk to the top of the dike and enjoy the spectacular view of Little Bay and Orient Beach State Park. This was a special place for Joe — it was where he logged thousands of hours of training as a nationally ranked oarsman. Later this year, we are planning to install a small parking area and a bench, and will move the plaque honoring Joe to this area of the preserve (currently the plaque can be visited on the Main Road entrance to the farmland).

When visiting, please park on the right just off the Main Road. You will then follow the signs guiding you through the gates and across the farmland, and follow the dirt road that leads to the south part of the property and the dike access. We hope you can get outdoors and enjoy all that you have helped to protect!

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