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State: Wildwood, Heckscher parks to get cabins, cottages

The view of Long Island Sound from Wildwood

The view of Long Island Sound from Wildwood State Park in Wading River on Aug. 29, 2016. Credit: Marisol Diaz

Two Long Island state parks are getting their first vacation cabins and cottages.

Construction will start in spring on 10 cabins at Wildwood State Park in Wading River, on the Long Island Sound, and they should be ready by the following year, according to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Cottages are being designed for Heckscher State Park in East Islip that will overlook the Great South Bay, with construction expected to begin in 2018, the agency said.

Wildwood’s new one- or two-bedroom cabins will be furnished and have screened-in decks or porches, kitchenettes and bathrooms. Heckscher’s cottages are expected to be roomier.

The department did not provide further details on the rentals, including how much they will cost.

Long Islanders and tourists should be able to enjoy the new digs in every season but winter.

The cabins and cottages will offer people more choices for a “unique experience” on Long Island, state parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said in a statement.

“High quality overnight lodging will provide visitors with a hub to visit the region’s beaches, wineries, and cultural destinations — and help to continue to grow Long Island tourism economy,” Harvey said.

The cabins and cottages, estimated to cost $6 million, are made possible by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s promise to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for state parks from 2011 to 2020.

Adding cabins and cottages is a departure for the camping long offered at Long Island’s state parks, but one that experts said is increasingly advisable in an era where the threat of mosquito-borne viruses is far from confined to the tropics.

Currently, both Wildwood and Hither Hills State Park in Montauk only offer camp sites for trailers and tents.

This year, camping once again proved popular at Long Island’s state parks.

Campers booked 23,739 nights at Hither Hills up from 22,071 in 2015, the agency said.

“We added approximately 24 more sites this year and it is our most popular campground in the state, mostly due to its unique location,” parks spokesman Randy Simons said.

Wildwood’s results fell slightly to 21,255 from 21,756.

Heckscher had been one of the state’s most prized campgrounds, and it landed a place on the nation’s top 100 family campgrounds in 2005 that was drawn up by IAC, an internet and media company.

The park’s campground was closed in 2010 due to concerns about West Nile virus. The virus has been identified in Suffolk every year since 1999, when infected birds and mosquitoes were found.

With Jean-Paul Salamanca

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