Paul Laursen/Herald Life
Members of the Friends of Levy Preserve include, from left, Marian Fraker-Gutin, Paul Laursen, Richard and Lisa Schary, Jay Pitti and Neil Yeoman.
So many people have been visiting the Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve in Merrick that the Town of Hempstead has had to add parking.
“Levy Preserve has been extremely busy throughout the spring and early summer, with a full parking area on many weekend days,” stated a recent town Sanitation Department Commissioner’s Report, which was presented by Deputy Commissioner Michael McConnell at the Friends of Levy Preserve’s annual tour recently. He estimated summer attendance at 5,600 visitors per month.
A new employees parking area was recently added, “making available additional spaces for visitors in the preserve lot,” the report noted. The new lot has 14 spaces for an average of eight employee vehicles. The visitor parking lot has 54 spaces.
The Levy preserve’s entrance is behind the Sanitation Department and the town’s trash transfer station on the south side of Merrick Road in Merrick.
The tour began on a sunny Thursday evening at the preserve’s amphitheater, followed by a jitney ride around the park, which brought group members to the top of the hill to take in the panoramic vista, including a clear view of the distant Manhattan skyline.
“While many visitors choose to hike or run the trails, riding tours continue to be a most popular activity for many,” the report continued. “The preserve obtained a new electric jitney, furthering the town’s continuing efforts to ‘go green.’”
“The Nigerian dwarf goat herd continues to be a favorite attraction of preserve visitors and can often be seen browsing along the perimeter trail or on the plateau, and often shares the trails with hikers,” the report stated.
The deputy commissioner said that rabbits and at least one fox have recently been sighted at the preserve.
Jay Pitti, who is acting chairman of the friends group, wrote to members last month, “The Nigerian goat herd numbers are stable, as well as the guinea fowl flocks. Both groups fared well during the winter’s harsh conditions. Understandably, the preserve was closed frequently during the winter due to snow cover and iced trails. However, all trails are now fine.”