The Mashomack Nature Preserve

The house is one of only a handful of privately-owned homes located within the Mashomack Preserve. As a result, you will benefit from the virtual seclusion provided by the thousands of acres of natural surrounding woodlands, spectacular wildlife viewing with over 200 species of bird, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

Edged by 10 miles of coastline, Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island is considered one of the richest habitats in the Northeast. The preserve covers a third of the island with 2,039 acres of interlacing tidal creeks, mature oak woodlands, fields, and freshwater marshes and is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Peconic.”

Shelter Island was originally inhabited by the Manhansets, Native Americans who were part of the wide-spread Algonquin culture. In 1653 Chief Pogatticut, sachem or “chief”, of the Manhansets, deeded all of Shelter Island to Nathaniel Sylvester, a sugar merchant from Barbados, who established a Quaker refuge on the island.

What is now known as Mashomack was originally called Sachem’s Neck (the main body of the preserve) and Mashomack referred only to Mashomack Point. Mashomack means “where they go by water” and the point was probably an island before a narrow neck formed, connecting it to the rest of the peninsula. In 1980, The Nature Conservancy and its members, with the support of 1700 Shelter Islanders, purchased Mashomack in an effort to stop development of this nearly pristine peninsula and to protect one of the most dense populations of breeding ospreys on the east coast.

In the years since, Mashomack has continued to be a favorite nesting place for ospreys, in addition to harboring populations of the endangered piping plover and least tern, as well as a number of rare plants. Five well-marked land trails and a marine water trail offer over 20 miles of varying lengths and difficulty. A wheelchair-accessible trail is located close to the visitor center, where you will find literature, displays, and a small gift shop. Volunteers provide guidance and answer questions daily in the summer and on weekends during the rest of the year. Mashomack also offers nature programs and guided hikes throughout the year.