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#99-Seals and Sunsets at Cupsogue

Westhampton's Cupsogue Beach State Park offers great wildlife viewing and sunset strolls in every season.

Located at the end of Dune Road in Westhampton, Cupsogue Beach State Park is a pristine 296 acre barrier beach that features a wide, white stretch of sand along its Atlantic side, opposed by the more rugged rocky shoreline along the Moriches Bay.

From the parking area, ocean beach access is available via designated walkways over the dunes or along the boardwalked Pavilion area, which in the summer features showers, restrooms and concessions. 

Stand on the seaside and you can view mega mansions and motels or take a stroll through the wind swept dunes onto a shell-sprinkled shore where there are unobstructed views of the Atlantic, making for an amazing sunset vista.

Where the paved parking area ends, a sandy access road begins and allows 4-wheeling fisherman and day hikers entrance to a seal observation area, a Piping Plover nesting site and the remote outer beach area.

As part of the Habitat Restoration Project, sponsored by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several volunteer groups, the dunes and bayside trails are considered a sanctuary, offering conservationists the chance to observe lounging families of harbor seals in winter or watch a variety of birds nestled in pine trees that dot the dunes.

The project is aimed at restoring the habitat of shore birds, such as the federally-protected Piping Plovers and Least Terns; visitors should respect the parks rules and protected areas by avoiding posted or fenced nesting sites.  

From December to May, the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island offers through the Seal Observation Area, which is a great opportunity for families and nature lovers to enjoy the park during the off-season. For more information on the seal walks, visit www.cresli.org/cresli/seals/sealwalk.html.

Category: Outdoors, Exercise
Price: Free
Season: Winter
Note: Dress warm.

Stay tuned for #98 next week, same time same place. And click here if you missed .

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