Brush At Babes Lane In Springs To Be Cleared Soon


The view of Three Mile Harbor from Babes Lane in Springs has been blocked for years with brush and non-native plants that have become overgrown on the Babes Lane Nature Preserve.

Soon, the view will be restored.

At Thursday’s East Hampton Town Board meeting, the job to clear away the brush, located directly in front of homes there, was awarded to Keith Grimes, who will perform the task for $9,000. The town will use Community Preservation Fund money to support the clearing.

According to Scott Wilson, the town director of land acquisition and management, the project could commence at any time.

Currently, there are pink tags on the preserve flagging out what must be preserved, according to Ira Barocas, president of the Duck Creek Farm Association, which is the official adopter of the preserve.

Many non-native plants, including oak trees, phragmites, sassafras, sumac and vines, may be cleared. Native grasses, including beach heather, and other low plants would be left alone. Where the wetlands are concerned, clear-cutting would not be allowed. Instead, individual non-native plants would be selectively cut and removed. Dead, dying and topped cedar trees and other native plants may be cut and removed as well, but that would need New York State Department of Environmental Protection approval.

The idea to restore the preserve to what it was like when it was part of the original Duck Creek Farm, from the late 18th century through the 1950s, was born more than three years ago out of frustration with brush that had cropped up over time, eliminating the beautiful vista that attracted many Babes Lane residents to their homes in the first place.

The preserve’s largest parcel, 2.7 acres, was acquired in 2003 from Michael Helm and designated as a town nature preserve in July 2004. The five-acre island to the west and the access strip were purchased from the Keyes family in 2005, with the intention of preserving open space.

Now approved by the DEC, the work can begin. Mr. Barocas said he believes the restoration of the Babes Lane Nature Preserve will be completed before the spring.

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