Greenport, NY

Widow’s Hole Preserve

Project Type




Things to do

Birdwatching, Photography, Nature Study, Paddling



Southeast Corner of Fourth Street and Clark Street, Greenport, NY 11944


Travelers crossing over from Shelter Island to Greenport can see the Trust's nature preserve, Widow's Hole, 2.4 acres located on the southeastern corner of Fourth and Clark Streets.

Donated to the Peconic Land Trust in 2012 by ExxonMobil, the preserve was once a storage facility operated by the company from the mid-1920s until its closure in the mid-1980s. Its transformation continues.

The facility operated with six above-ground tanks that stored fuel oil, kerosene and gasoline. All products were delivered to the terminal by barge. The wharf, storage tanks, and buildings were removed shortly after operations ceased, and environmental remediation was completed in 2002. The property extends along Greenport Harbor, and provides wildlife habitat that the Trust is working to enhance.

An easement was granted to the Town of Southold simultaneous to the Trust’s acquisition of the property.

Currently, the property has restricted access. But you can walk along the shoreline and if you are interested in visiting -- and helping in its restoration -- reach out to preserve manager Denise Markut!

The Trust is working to restore this property to a healthy, natural state as a coastal maritime habitat in collaboration with our partners: the Town of Southold, Village of Greenport, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and ExxonMobil. Also assisting the Trust is a group of dedicated community members and neighbors. The project has been divided into two phases:

  • Phase One: This phase, completed during the summer of 2016, involved making the property safer by cutting all exposed pipes and seawalls on the northeast side of the property to at least 4 feet below grade. This work was completed by Costello Marine.
  • Phase Two: This phase includes native habitat restoration, consisting of removing invasive non-native plants and planting a “palette” of native plant species that are characteristic of a specific plant community. The Trust is working with Cornell Cooperative on this restoration plan to reduce habitat fragmentation, provide foraging and breeding areas for wildlife, and protect water quality by reducing erosion and sedimentation and filtering out contaminants before they reach the waterways. Much of this work has been completed as of September 2016, with additional invasive species removal planned for completion by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, the erosion at the site continues at a disconcerting speed. However, with the help of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s shoreline restoration plan, the Trust expects to slow down and reduce the loss of land in the future. Funding for this work is ongoing.

Widow’s Hole Preserve regularly hosts school children from Greenport Elementary School. You can read about their visits here on our blog as well as check out this story (and video essay) by Kelly Zegers in the Suffolk Times from December 2017.

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Widow's Hole Preserve

Southeast Corner of Fourth Street and Clark Street, Greenport, NY 11944

Things To Do

Nature Study
Nature Study