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Letter: Great Neck And Open Space: Can We Coincide?

I saw a red fox last week. I wasn’t in the Catskill Mountains nor was I out on the East End, but here in Great Neck. Not only did I see it, thanks to today’s technology, I videotaped my sighting. So excited was I, a nature lover with the nickname D Birdman, I told my buddy Mark Schweitzer. He told me he saw a fox three hours earlier in another part of Great Neck. Coincidence? My buddy and I have so much in common, but to see a fox?

Open space is defined as undeveloped land that is protected by legislation. What’s your definition? Parkland? Baseball or soccer fields? Parking lots? Forests, marshes, ponds and streams are all classified as open space and (land) shouldn’t be developed near or around them. Anywhere that doesn’t have development on it is open space and must be better protected. Great Neck is comprised of all these natural features. Our town was created during the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago when giant glaciers carved us out of bedrock. Before any human stepped foot in our town there were chipmunks, snapping turtles, raccoons, rabbits, box turtles along with passenger pigeons and ringed-neck pheasant, just to name a few residing here. Over-development, uprooting trees and asphalting parking lots to name a few, have taken its toll on nature. Great Neck’s open space must be managed and protected better. Who knows what Great Neck would look like if it wasn’t for the Great Neck Park District’s preservation of its natural properties?

I’m not happy with the construction of homes along the eastern side of Split Rock Road. That is a prime example of over-developing. A great project going on though is the dredging of Udall’s Pond behind the public library on Bayview Avenue. This will restore the area to its natural habitat like before man occupied Saddle Rock.

Open space is necessary for the fox I saw. I spoke to Evelyn Yetski, a resident of Great Neck for over 50 years. She showed me the den where the fox live. Evelyn also told me the mother fox gave birth and had five kits (babies) in December. Red fox are beautiful animals and are very shy when it comes to humans. That’s why we have been living with them for all these years yet we rarely see them.

Jonathan Staller