New York State Parks challenge merchandise. Photo courtesy New York State Parks.

By Aidan Johnson

Major celebrations are in store for the New York’s statewide park and historic site system, which has reached 100 years since its founding by Gov. Alfred E. Smith (D) and the state Legislature of 1924.

While there will be multiple events happening statewide throughout the year in New York’s parks and historic sites, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced a year-long challenge for residents and visitors.

The challenge consists of 100 different activities that can be completed at the New York State parks and historic sites throughout the year. All of the tasks can be found listed under “NY State Parks Centennial Challenge” in the app Goosechase, and include missions such as drawing flowers or wildlife found in the park, visiting one of the lighthouses, biking certain trails and attending an environmental education program. However, participants need not worry about traveling statewide to complete every challenge, as only 24 are required to be finished in order to receive a sticker and be entered into a drawing for a three-year Empire Pass and a centennial swag bag.

NYS sees the centennial and challenges as an opportunity to help local economies by attracting visitors to the different parks and sites.

“Our parks in New York State are now for a century where families and friends have gathered, where memories were made outdoors,” said state Parks Deputy Regional Director Kara Hahn.

Hahn described the Share Your Story initiative, in which residents are invited to share their favorite photos and memories of the parks by emailing [email protected] or by using the #nystateparkstory hashtag on social media.

“We really want to inspire and encourage and engage our residents to come out because we know how good it is for health to be outside and active…and we know that it’s good for community health to have our residents gathering in beautiful spaces and have fun,” Hahn said.

“We’re taking this Centennial 100-year anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate all that and hopefully encourage and activate our residents to come back out,” she added.

Information is also available at

Five beaches remain closed as of July 17.

Due to heavy rainfall yesterday and rain forecast for Monday, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services has issued an advisory against bathing at 47 beaches listed below. The advisory is based on the potential that bacteria is in excess of New York State standards.

The beaches covered by the advisory are located in areas that are heavily influenced by stormwater runoff from the surrounding watersheds or adjacent tributaries, and, because of their location in an enclosed embayment, experience limited tidal flushing.

Health officials recommend that bathing and other water contact be suspended in affected areas until the waters have been flushed by two successive tidal cycles, at least a 24 hour period, after the rain has ended. This advisory will be lifted Tuesday, July 20, 2022, unless sampling reveals elevated levels of bacteria persisting beyond the 24-hour period.

Additionally, Bayport Beach, which closed on Friday, and four more beaches that closed on Saturday remain closed due to excess bacteria. The four beaches that closed on Saturday include Amityville Village Beach, Tanner Park Beach in Copiague, Benjamin Beach in Bay Shore, and Ronkonkoma Beach in the Town of Islip. The beaches will reopen when bacteria subsides.

 Beaches affected by the advisory:

Sound Beach POA East Brookhaven Sound Beach Advisory Rainfall related
Sound Beach POA West Brookhaven Sound Beach Advisory Rainfall related
Tides Beach Brookhaven Sound Beach Advisory Rainfall related
Beech Road Beach (NSBA) Brookhaven Rocky Point Advisory Rainfall related
Broadway Beach (NSBA) Brookhaven Rocky Point Advisory Rainfall related
Friendship Drive Beach (NSBA) Brookhaven Rocky Point Advisory Rainfall related
Shoreham Village Beach Brookhaven Shoreham Advisory Rainfall related
Shoreham Beach Brookhaven East Shoreham Advisory Rainfall related
Stony Brook Beach Brookhaven Stony Brook Advisory Rainfall related
Shoreham Shore Club Beach Brookhaven East Shoreham Advisory Rainfall related
Miller Place Park Beach Brookhaven Miller Place Advisory Rainfall related
Scotts Beach Brookhaven Sound Beach Advisory Rainfall related
Woodhull Landing POA Beach Brookhaven Miller Place Advisory Rainfall related
Bayberry Cove Beach Brookhaven Setauket-East Setauket Advisory Rainfall related
Bayview Beach Brookhaven Setauket-East Setauket Advisory Rainfall related
Grantland Beach Brookhaven Setauket-East Setauket Advisory Rainfall related
Indian Field Beach Brookhaven Setauket-East Setauket Advisory Rainfall related
Little Bay Beach Brookhaven Setauket-East Setauket Advisory Rainfall related
Soundview Beach Association Beach Brookhaven Old Field Advisory Rainfall related
Terraces on the Sound Brookhaven Rocky Point Advisory Rainfall related
Eagle Dock Community Beach Huntington Cold Spring Harbor Advisory Rainfall related
Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club Beach Huntington Lloyd Harbor Advisory Rainfall related
West Neck Beach Huntington Lloyd Harbor Advisory Rainfall related
Lloyd Neck Bath Club Beach Huntington Lloyd Harbor Advisory Rainfall related
Lloyd Harbor Village Park Beach Huntington Lloyd Harbor Advisory Rainfall related
Gold Star Battalion Park Beach Huntington Huntington Advisory Rainfall related
Head of the Bay Club Beach Huntington Huntington Bay Advisory Rainfall related
Nathan Hale Beach Club Beach Huntington Huntington Bay Advisory Rainfall related
Baycrest Association Beach Huntington Huntington Bay Advisory Rainfall related
Bay Hills Beach Association Huntington Huntington Bay Advisory Rainfall related
Crescent Beach Huntington Huntington Bay Advisory Rainfall related
Knollwood Beach Association Beach Huntington Huntington Advisory Rainfall related
Fleets Cove Beach Huntington Huntington Advisory Rainfall related
Centerport Beach Huntington Centerport Advisory Rainfall related
Huntington Beach Community Association Beach Huntington Centerport Advisory Rainfall related
Centerport Yacht Club Beach Huntington Centerport Advisory Rainfall related
Steers Beach Huntington Northport Advisory Rainfall related
Asharoken Beach Huntington Asharoken Advisory Rainfall related
Hobart Beach Huntington Northport Advisory Rainfall related
Crab Meadow Beach Huntington Northport Advisory Rainfall related
Wincoma Association Beach Huntington Huntington Bay Advisory Rainfall related
Valley Grove Beach Huntington Eatons Neck Advisory Rainfall related
Prices Bend Beach Huntington Eatons Neck Advisory Rainfall related
Short Beach Smithtown Nissequogue Advisory Rainfall related
Nissequogue Point Beach Smithtown Nissequogue Advisory Rainfall related
Long Beach Smithtown Nissequogue Advisory Rainfall related
Schubert Beach Smithtown Nissequogue Advisory Rainfall related

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), at podium, with Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), left, and Bellone, right. Photo by Raymond Janis

In what is typically a quiet spot in the woods of Shoreham, elected county officials and community leaders gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 10.

The North Shore rails-to-trails project was first introduced some five decades ago when a young woman at the time wrote a letter to the editor advocating for the conversion of an old rail line into a bike path. After decades of planning, the path, which links Mount Sinai to Wading River and everything in between, is finally complete.

Bikers celebrate the opening of the North Shore Rail Trail.
Photo by Raymond Janis

County Executive Steve Bellone (D) headlined the event. He spoke of the immense willpower on the part of the parties involved in making this dream a reality.

“You know any time a project is on the drawing boards for 50 years and you’re actually at the ribbon cutting, that’s a great day,” he said. 

In March 2020, the county completed its updated master plan for hiking and biking, which called for 1,200 miles of new bike infrastructure, according to Bellone. At full build-out, the plan would put 84% of county residents within a half-mile radius of a biking facility. The opening of the North Shore Rail Trail, he suggested, is an important first step to executing the master plan.

“This opening today really goes a long way toward kicking off that next effort — and we don’t want all of that to take another 50 years,” the county executive said. “That’s the kind of transformative investment we need to be making to keep our region prosperous and growing and attracting and retaining young people.” 

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) spearheaded much of this project through the various levels of government and into completion. During that process, Anker said her office overcame a number of obstacles before getting to the finish line. 

“We understood as a community we needed this,” she said. “My number one priority in making sure this happened was, and still continues to be, public safety — making sure our residents, especially our kids, have a safe place to ride their bikes.” 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), prepares to cut the ribbon, surrounded by county Legislators, state and local officials, and leaders from throughout the community. Photo by Raymond Janis

For Anker, the trail offers a number of benefits to local residents, providing bikers with an open space to pursue their hobby while mitigating safety concerns about bikers sharing public roads with drivers. Additionally, the trail will encourage more residents to use their bikes to get around, limiting traffic congestion and air pollution from cars.

“I know someone that lives in Rocky Point,” Anker said. “He takes his bike on the trail now to get to his job in Mount Sinai … that’s what this trail is all about.”

Joining Anker was her colleague in the county Legislature, Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket). Hahn said trails like these can help to band neighboring communities together, establishing a sense of cohesion throughout the area.

“Between this one and the Port Jeff Station-East Setauket Greenway Trail, we can get from 25A in Setauket all the way to Shoreham-Wading River safely,” she said. “Suffolk County’s roads have consistently fallen on a national list of the most dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians. This is the kind of vision we need to turn that around.”

New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead) delivering her remarks during the events. Photo by Raymond Janis

State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead) suggested that at a time when tax dollars are leaving Long Island communities, the opening of this bike path is also a symbolic victory for the community members and their representatives.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend taxpayer money than to invest it in something that is a free, recreational and healthy activity for not only the residents of Suffolk County, but for all of New York,” she said.

Town of Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro (R) detailed the many logistical hurdles that the Highway Department had to overcome to make this project possible. 

“There are over 30 road crossings and all of them are town roads,” he said. “We had to work very closely on making sure that the design of that provided for safe passage for our bikers and walkers.” He added, “I live about a third of a mile away and rode my bike here [today]. I ride here with my kids all the time and it is a fantastic addition to our community.”

Anker ended with one final reflection before the official ribbon cutting, placing the trail in historical context. “The original idea came about 50 years ago at a Sound Beach Civic [Association] meeting and also a young girl in 1974, who wrote a letter to the editor,” the county legislator said. “It did take a while, but we did it.”

With 4.8 million participants nationwide, pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in the United States, says Stu Upson, CEO of USA Pickleball. File photo from Pixabay

Pickleball, a nationwide recreational phenomenon, has made its way to Port Jefferson village.

On Tuesday, May 10, village residents will be offered the opportunity to learn about pickleball and try it out for themselves. Trustee Stan Loucks said the pickleball village initiative is finally materializing. 

“Pickleball has been on my agenda for about four years,” he said in a phone interview. “We have a clinic planned for May 10 at 6 o’clock that we’re advertising, and registration is through the village recreation department.” 

Loucks described pickleball as a combination of several racket sports in one. Unlike tennis, pickleball is played within a much smaller area, which has a lower impact on the body. “It’s also a sport that the elderly can play,” he said.

Loucks was first introduced to pickleball in Florida, where he said he spends a good portion of his time. There, he noticed a surge in pickleball’s popularity and sought to bring this activity to the village. 

 “The reason I picked pickleball is because if we use the area that we have left over at the country club, those upper [tennis] courts, I can put six pickleball courts there,” the trustee said. “We don’t have room for tennis up there right now and we thought we could put a pickleball complex up there.” He added, “It is a sport that has exploded nationwide. It’s a matter of popularity, expense, room, and it’s an advantage that all ages can play.”

History of pickleball

TBR News Media contacted Stu Upson, CEO of USA Pickleball, for an exclusive interview. He shared the history of the sport dating back nearly six decades.

“Pickleball started in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington [state] — just across from Seattle — by three families who were there for the summer,” Upson said in a phone interview. “The kids were antsy and bored, so they created the game of pickleball on their driveway.”

From there, the sport grew throughout the Pacific Northwest, becoming more popular over time. Upson noted it was particularly popular throughout warmer climates.

“Over time, it really grew in the Sun Belt,” he said. “It’s huge in Florida, California and Arizona.” Addressing the demographics that gravitated to the sport initially, Upson added, “It was a more popular sport among seniors who wanted to remain active and probably had played tennis a lot. Tennis was a little difficult for them to continue to play because it’s harder on the body.”

Within the last five years, Upson observed a boom in the number of picklers throughout the country. “It was growing 20% per year before the pandemic, but when COVID shut the world down, the sport really took off because it was so easy to play.” He added, “Even since the pandemic, the sport has continued to skyrocket and is now the country’s fastest growing sport with now 4.8 million people playing it.”

When asked to explain the rise of pickleball, Upson said it was the sport’s relative simplicity that made the difference.

“It’s easy to play, but it’s also easy to learn,” he said. “You can get out on the court and if you have any basic hand-eye coordination, especially if you have experience playing another racket sport, you can go out on a pickleball court and, within an hour or so, be confident and not embarrass yourself.”

Rules and regulations

While pickleball may look similar to other racket sports, it is governed by its own unique set of rules and scoring procedures. “The scoring is different from tennis,” Upson said. “It’s a much smaller court which is about the same size as a paddle-tennis court,” adding, “In fact, you can fit four pickleball courts in the area of one tennis court.”

Also distinguishing pickleball from its racket sport counterparts is the style in which it is played. Unlike tennis, a pickleball is served underhand. Additionally, the game follows a service-scoring format, meaning points can only be earned while one is serving the pickleball. Games are usually played to 11 points, according to Upson.

The mission of USA Pickleball is to grow the sport,” he said. “As the national governing body, we also sanction tournaments, set the rules of the game, approve all the equipment — the paddles and balls — and we hold tournaments around the country.”

Trustee Stan Loucks has been working for over four years to bring pickleball to the village of Port Jefferson. His vision is now becoming reality. Photo from the Village of Port Jefferson website

Future of the sport

Part of Pickleball USA’s efforts include appealing to the International Olympic Committee for formal recognition at the Olympics. Realistically, pickleball will not be recognized for at least another 12 years.

“We want to help grow the sport internationally and would love for it to be recognized by the IOC and be a part of the Olympic Games at some point, but that’s quite a few years down the road,” Upson said. 

At the local level, there is a growing demand for the sport throughout Port Jeff. “We now have a waiting list,” Loucks said. “We have so many people that have enrolled that we can’t accommodate all of them.” He added, “The demand is there. I think we’re going to have more people that want to play than we’re going to have room for.”

Loucks said programs such as the May 10 clinic are designed to introduce prospective picklers. He emphasized the importance of the upcoming clinic, saying, “I’d like to see the local readers show up at our May 10 pickleball clinic at Texaco Park. It’s free and we will have rackets available. For anyone who shows up, we will try to get them on the court. If we can’t accommodate that many people on the courts, they certainly will see the game being played and receive an awful lot of information about the sport.”


The Town of Brookhaven has announced that the 2022 Resident Virtual Parking Permit can be purchased on the Town website at The permit is also available to purchase in-person at the Town’s Parks and Recreation office located at 286 Hawkins Road in Centereach.

The 2022 Virtual Parking Pass eliminates the need for a parking sticker by using License Plate Recognition technology which allows operators to quickly and accurately read vehicle license plates.

The Town of Brookhaven Virtual Parking Permit allows free parking at all town beaches, pools, marinas and the Holtsville Ecology Site. The cost is $25 for Town residents. Resident Veteran, Handicapped and Senior Citizen permits are only $5.00. If you’re a veteran with a service-connected disability, the permit is free.

To purchase your 2022 Resident Virtual Parking Pass, or to get more information and proof of residency requirements, go to

Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci and Deputy Supervisor, Councilman Ed Smyth have announced the Town’s second spray park, at Manor Field Park in Huntington Station, will open in late Spring 2022. 

 “The Manor Field Spray Park along with the new amenities we have coming soon are exciting steps in our plan to revitalize Huntington Station,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. 

 “In the spring of 2022, the children of Huntington Station will have this first-class spray park in their backyard, along with a brand-new playground and new turf field that athletes of all ages can enjoy,” said Deputy Supervisor Councilman Ed Smyth. 

 At its February 11, 2020 meeting, the Huntington Town Board approved, by a 4-1 roll call vote, $750,000 in funding to build a spray park at Manor Field Park, part of Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci’s plans for the revitalization of Huntington Station. 

 At their September 15, 2020 meeting, the Town Board authorized the Supervisor to apply for up to $189,000 in New York State and Municipal Facilities Capital Program grant funding for the Manor Field Spray Park Playground project, one of the requirements for the grant funding was a 100% park-type use of the site of the project.  

 Councilman Ed Smyth sponsored a resolution appropriating $200,000 in funds to complete the spray park project at the September 14, 2021 Town Board meeting that will be returned to the fund balance if the grant funding is approved. 

 In Spring and Summer 2021, preparations for the new playground and spray park included the replacement of the synthetic turf field at Manor Field Park, under which the previous septic system leaching pools for both the comfort station and community building were located. The sanitary system was replaced to handle the additional septic and water usage the spray park would bring. Both the sanitary permit and water permit took several months to obtain approvals. 

 The old playground at Manor Field Park was slated for demolition in September 2021 but due to safety issues the old equipment presented, the Department of General Services demolished the playground in late August 2021. Construction on a new playground and the new Manor Field Spray Park will start in the coming weeks and will take approximately two months to complete. The spray park will officially open in Spring 2022. 


Attached: Renderings of the Manor Field Spray Park and Playground. 

Photo by Gerard Romano

Due to a shortage of lifeguards, the Town of Huntington is closing four of its eight beaches to swimming starting Thursday, August 26. 


     Swim lines and lifeguard stands will be removed at the following beaches for the remainder of the season: 

  • Asharoken Beach, Eaton’s Neck Road, Northport 
  • Crescent Beach, Crescent Beach Drive, Huntington Bay 
  • Fleets Cove Beach, Fleets Cove Road, Centerport 
  • Gold Star Battalion Beach, West Shore Road, Huntington 

    “No lifeguard on Duty” and “No Swimming Allowed” signs will also be posted. Town of Huntington residents may visit the beaches closed to bathing but they must stay out of the water. 


     The following beaches will remain open to swimming for the remainder of the season:

  • Centerport Beach, Little Neck Road, Centerport 
  • Crab Meadow Beach*, Waterside Avenue, Northport 
  • Hobart Beach, Birmingham Drive, Eaton’s Neck (Info on Seasonal Closure of Bird Preserve) 
  • Quentin Sammis West Neck Beach, West Neck Road, Lloyd Harbor 
    Contact the Main Beach Office located at Crab Meadow Beach at (631) 261-7574 seven days a week from 9 a.m. thru 3 p.m. now through Labor Day to inquire if the beaches are open or closed for bathing as per the County of Suffolk Department of Health Services. 

     You may also contact the Suffolk County Bathing Beach Water Quality Hotline for beach closings throughout Suffolk County at (631) 852-5822.

Photo by Dawn Olenick
Nine beaches remain closed

Broadway Beach, Tides Beach, and Terraces on the Sound Beach, all in Rocky Point, are closed to bathing due to the findings of bacteria at levels in excess of acceptable criteria. The following beaches remain closed due to high levels of bacteria:  Tanner Park Beach in Copiague, Benjamin Beach in Bay Shore, Gold Star Battalion Park Beach in Huntington, Venetian Shores Beach in Lindenhurst, Corey Beach and Bayport Beach in Bayport, West Islip Beach, Amityville Beach, and Sayville Marina Park Beach.

According to Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gregson Pigott, bathing in bacteria-contaminated water can result in gastrointestinal illness, as well as infections of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat.

Beaches will reopen when further testing reveals that the bacteria have subsided to acceptable levels.

For the latest information on affected beaches, call the Bathing Beach HOTLINE at 852-5822 or contact the Department’s Office of Ecology at 852-5760 during normal business hours.

Program information –

Interactive map of beach closures/advisories-

Photo by Alex Petroski


By Kimberly Brown

This weekend bring your friends and family to Port Jefferson Harbor to experience the legendary and captivating Sikaflex “Quick and Dirty” Boat Building Competition. 

Sponsored by the Sika Corporation, a supplier of marine adhesives and sealants,  the event provides would-be boat designers and builders a chance to showcase their creative skills and talents.

Photo by Alex Petroski

Hosted by the Long Island Seaport and Eco Center (LISEC), the tenth annual competition will be held over a two-day period, Aug. 21 and 22. On Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., visitors can watch two-member teams, who are working under a time limit of five hours, build their boats in the parking lot of Harborfront Park next to Bayles Boat Shop. 

“It’s great to be back,” said Len Carolan, the event’s coordinator. “This year we have about ten teams, so it seems like everyone is ready to get out there and have some fun again and that’s what it’s meant to be about.”

The challenge? Not only do the contestants have to finish constructing their makeshift boat within a few hours, but they are also expected to assemble it using a mere supply of plywood, plastic cable ties, and Sikaflex sealant — no nails or screws allowed!

On Sunday from 9 a.m to noon, the teams will finish painting their masterpieces, covering the boat in fun designs, and patterns. Finally, at 2 p.m, the teams will race each other in Port Jefferson Harbor to compete for first prize. 

“I think the time limit is what keeps some people away from trying because they’re thinking ‘How could we build a boat in five hours?’ but it gets done and always turns out great,” Carolan said.

Teams ranking in first, second, and third place will receive trophies for their boat racing success, but there will also be a prize for the team that has the most original design. Following the award ceremony, LISEC will raffle off a special item made at the Bayles Boat Shop. “We thought we should do something a little different for the raffle this year, so we built a 14-foot stand-up paddle board at the shop,” Carolan said. “We have one team that builds a different raffle boat each year — next year we will have a 16-foot canoe.”

Tickets for the raffle range between $5 and $20 and the paddle board will be on display throughout the weekend.

According to Carolan, the “Quick and Dirty” boat race is still welcoming teams to join in on the fun. The entry fee is $100 and each team must seek a sponsor, or sponsor themselves. Local businesses are encouraged to sponsor this annual event. 

For more information on how to participate, visit or contact Len Carolan at [email protected].