Calverton Ponds, also known as the Dennis and Katherine Krusos Ecological research Area, is a 350 acre oak-pine forest that contains coastal plain ponds and is considered one of the rarest wetlands in North America, with 26 rare plants, several rare amphibians and fish and a number of damselflies, butterflies and moths. The trail system is cooperatively owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy and the Suffolk County Parks department. The trails are open for hiking from dawn to dusk.
When visiting the preserve it is recommended to avoid walking on the pond’s shores since the plants are delicate and easily can be destroyed. Try to stay on marked trails to avoid destroying the rare environment as well as ticks, since they are abundant here. If you want close up views, the trails have some split off’s that will lead you to several observation points.
The preserve is a part of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens region, which is a complex of pitch pine woodlands, pine-oak forests, coastal plain ponds, swamps, marches and bogs. The forest and woodlands that surround the ponds are dominated by pitch pine and oak trees, along with a shrubby layer of scrub oak, huckleberry and blueberries.
Most of the rare plants in this preserve are found on the gently sloped shores of the ponds. Coastal plain ponds are not stream-fed but rather dependent on groundwater. The water is nutrient poor, and it’s levels rise and fall with the water table.
During the 20th century, the 3 Ponds were used to create commercial cranberry bogs, that were in operation for over 50 years! Though today, you’d be hard pressed to see any cranberries in the ponds.