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Large-leafed skunk cabbage lines a trail at the (Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Large-leafed skunk cabbage lines a trail at the Charles T. Church Preserve at Shu Swamp in Mill Neck. Walking through this old growth forest at the preserve evokes the feeling of being in a prehistoric world. (May 14, 2012)

Long Island's wildest places

A walk on the wild side - treks through Long Island's unspoiled terrain

Large-leafed skunk cabbage lines a trail at the
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Large-leafed skunk cabbage lines a trail at the Charles T. Church Preserve at Shu Swamp in Mill Neck. Walking through this old growth forest at the preserve evokes the feeling of being in a prehistoric world. (May 14, 2012)

Far from the crush of suburbia, the Otis
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Far from the crush of suburbia, the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness at the Fire Island National Seashore offers visitors a sense a solitude. (May 10, 2012)

A box turtle is right at home among
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

A box turtle is right at home among the dunes and marshes of the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness at the Fire Island National Seashore. (May 10, 2012)

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Large boulders dot the shoreline along Montauk County
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Large boulders dot the shoreline along Montauk County Park. These rocks, once buried beneath the surface of a deep forest, were exposed as decades of erosion took their toll on the woodlands. (August 12, 2012)

A mother swan and her eight cygnets swim
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

A mother swan and her eight cygnets swim on the pond at the Charles T. Church Preserve at Shu Swamp in Mill Neck. The swans share the pond with geese, river otters, muskrat and snapping turtles. (May 14, 2012)

A frog blends in with his surroundings in
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

A frog blends in with his surroundings in a wooded area of the Charles T. Church Preserve at Shu Swamp in Mill Neck. (May 14, 2012)

The dead and twisted remains of Tupelo trees
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

The dead and twisted remains of Tupelo trees line the shore along the eastern edge of Montauk County Park. This portion of the park was once dense forest, but due to erosion over the last several decades the woods have been wiped out by the encroaching waters of Block Island Sound. (Aug. 12, 2012)

An opening in the forest allows grasslands to
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

An opening in the forest allows grasslands to flourish at the Mashomack Preserve in Shelter Island. With a diversity of habitats that along with the grasslands, includes coastal oak forests, salt marsh shorelines, and fresh water wetlands, the preserve supports a variety of plant, animal and bird species. (May 16, 2012)

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New pine cones form on the pitch pines
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

New pine cones form on the pitch pines at Dwarf Pines Plains County Park in Westhampton. The sandy soil there limits the kind of vegetation that can grow there. Pitch pines, which normally (Aug. 16, 2012)

With a diversity of habitats that include shorelines,
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

With a diversity of habitats that include shorelines, grasslands, coastal oak forests, salt marshes and fresh water wetlands, Mashomack Preserve in Shelter Island is home to a variety of plant, animal and bird species. (May 16, 2012)

The sandy soil at Dwarf Pines Plains County
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

The sandy soil at Dwarf Pines Plains County Park in Westhampton limits the kind of vegetation that can grow there. Pitch pines, which normally grow as high as 70 feet might reach 40 feet in this infertile ground. More suited to these growing conditions are scrub oaks, cedars, lowbush blueberry, bearberry and Hudsonia. (Aug. 16, 2012)

A wooden boardwalk carries visitors over a wetlands
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

A wooden boardwalk carries visitors over a wetlands area near Big Reed Pond at Montauk County Park. (Aug. 8, 2012)

Far from the crush of suburbia, the Otis
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Far from the crush of suburbia, the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness at the Fire Island National Seashore offers visitors a sense a solitude. (May 10, 2012)

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Flowering beach plum plants are among the vegetation
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Flowering beach plum plants are among the vegetation covering the interior dunes at the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness at the Fire Island National Seashore. (May 10, 2012)

A pair of wild mushrooms grow in an
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

A pair of wild mushrooms grow in an opening of the deep forest at the Mashomack Preserve in Shelter Island (May 16, 2012)

At the Charles T. Church Preserve at Shu
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

At the Charles T. Church Preserve at Shu Swamp in Mill Neck, delicate ferns and large-leafed skunk cabbage evoke a feeling of being in a prehistoric world. (May 14, 2012)

Among the different habitats at the Mashomack Preserve
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Among the different habitats at the Mashomack Preserve in Shelter Island is the cobbled shoreline. (May 16, 2012)

With a diversity of habitats that include coastal
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

With a diversity of habitats that include coastal oak forests, salt marsh shorelines, grasslands, and fresh water wetlands, Mashomack Preserve in Shelter Island is home to a variety of plant, animal and bird species. (May 16, 2012)

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Separated from Block Island Sound by a narrow
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Separated from Block Island Sound by a narrow strip of beach, Oyster Pond sits at the eastern edge of Montauk County Park. Because of periodic spillovers from the sound, the fresh water pond is somewhat brackish, making it an ideal habitat for crabs. (Aug. 12, 2012)

Squaw Hill, the highest point at Montauk County
(Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Squaw Hill, the highest point at Montauk County Park, offers a panoramic view of Oyster Pond and Block Island Sound as horseback riders from nearby Deep Hollow Ranch make their way to the beach. (Aug.16, 2012)

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