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East Hampton considers Montauk campsite for Paumanok hikers

A Montauk campsite for hikers walking the 125-mile Paumanok Path is being planned for use by up to six people at a time who want to camp in the hamlet for only one night.

Andrew Drake, an environmental analyst for the Town of East Hampton Land Acquisition & Management department, presented the plan to town board members during their work session Tuesday.

Drake said the site, at the end of Navy Road on the former Benson Point Realty property, would be created by clearing a 20-foot area of trees and brush.

“It would be there so people could do more than one hike at a time,” Drake told the board. “It would be a simple site with no amenities.”

Drake said it would be managed by his department and be used by hikers traveling along the Paumanok Path that stretches from Rocky Point to the Montauk Point lighthouse.

There are people who camp in the area illegally, Drake said, adding that a permit system would be put in place to monitor who was staying there.

Drake noted that 45 miles of the 125-mile Paumanok Path goes through East Hampton, which he said is the most beautiful area of the trail.

“Now, there’s nowhere you can camp on the trail legally,” Drake said. He added the campsite would be a spur off the trail.

Drake said no more than six people would be allowed to camp there at one time and there would be a limit of one night.

He noted campers using the site would also have to provide the town with information about who is staying there.

“We want people’s information,” Drake said. “If they’re going to be staying we want to know who’s going to be there.”

“We don’t want any long-term camping,” warned board member, Peter Van Scoyoc. He said he didn’t want word getting out, “You can pitch a tent in Montauk and stay there over the weekend.”

And there will be no fires at the site allowed.

The board members agreed to try the campsite as a “pilot” program to see if it can work without problems.

“I’m willing to do this, I see the value of the Path,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said. “If it gets out of hand we’ll shut it down.”

Drake said he hopes to have the site available to hikers by fall.

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