Naturalist led hike across the ice and snow (weather permitting) to explore the Rocky Ridge of Pine Island. Number of participants is limited to 20 and participants must be over 12 years old. Departure location depends on weather conditions. Hike is moderately strenuous so be prepared for some climbing.
Call Judy Kelley-Moberg at 845-878-7740 to reserve your space. Reservations a Must!
for more info - see the F.R.O.G.S. site
Pine Island is the jewel of the Great Swamp. The island's gnarled lumps of granite rise like a great dark whale out of a sea of red maples. It has served as a hideaway and a haven for wildlife and its human inhabitants. A visual focal point from all sides of the valley, it represents the "heart " of the Great Swamp. Hemlocks and hardwoods dominate the steed slopes. The evergreens and uplands forest here are sought as nesting sites by many upland songbirds that normally would nest in other areas. As it can only be reached by water, Pine Island retains some of the wild isolation with crags and cliffs covered with ferns and the towering hemlocks. Bobcat, fox and coyote find good den sites while hawks and owls roost in the evergreens. One lone pine can be found on the entire island. At the southern end, Muddy Brook joins the East Branch Croton River.
Pine Island and History
After the last great ice sheets melted back to Canada about 10,000 years ago, Pine Island must have been surrounded by a shallow lake from Quaker Hill to Cornwall Hill. The swamp and river were filled with fish, beaver, otter and wildfowl of all kinds. The first human inhabitants, probably hunters traveling toward the Long Island shell beds left stone tools and pottery shards along all ridgeline travel routes and probably hunted in the Swamp. More colorful "residents' hid in the Swamp from colonial officials trying to capture them. From 1740 to the 1750's an infamous band of Counterfeiters called the "Oblong Gang" or the "Dover Money Club" used the Piney Swamp as a hideout when hounded by officials from over the border in Connecticut. They passed fake New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island currency back and forth between the various states. After countless captures and amazing escapes, these members, who were related to some of the area's earliest settlers broke up the gang in 1756, and Sullivan, the talented engraver was hanged.