Southold, NY: Suffolk County and Southold Town Officials met at Cedar Beach County Park on Saturday to announce plans to stem the recent, and often times overwhelming, tide of non-resident visitors to local beaches. Prompted by last weekend’s crowds at Cedar Beach County Park, many of whom did not adhere to social distancing rules, and in many instances, failed to wear masks, the Town and County have collaborated in a set of initiatives aimed at protecting public safety and environmental resources.
Legislator Al Krupski, whose district is home Cedar Beach County Park, stated, “We welcome Suffolk County residents to County Parks, including to our beaches, but we simply can’t accommodate non-residents at a time when we are trying to bounce back from a pandemic. All visitors to our parks must follow the rules. Behavior displayed here last weekend was unacceptable, both in terms public health and disregard for natural resources.”
The County has hired an attendant to confirm residency of visitors to Cedar Beach, by driver’s license or a Suffolk County Green Key, enlisted the services of a private security firm and limited park hours to sunrise to sunset. In addition, new signs have been installed waring visitors the park is open to Suffolk County residents only, to practice social distancing and to carry out their own trash.
“I want to thank County Executive Bellone and Acting Parks Commissioner Jason Smagin for their prompt attention and intervention after last weekend’s events, as well as Supervisor Russell and Chief Flatley for their contributions for keeping this park, as well as other local beaches, safe and clean during this challenging time,” said Legislator Krupski.
Southold will erect “no parking signs” on the road leading up to the beach, as this where non-residents had been parking. The Southold Town Police will continue to monitor the park and enforce Town, County and State laws as necessary. Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said the department had been “issuing 50-75 tickets every weekend” for a variety of violations.
“We are pleased to work with Legislator Al Krupski to help implement a plan to bring order back to Cedar Beach. Al has lobbied Suffolk County agencies for some time to provide better management so that recent events could have been avoided altogether. His hard work has paid off and I believe we will see a profound effect for the better as we move into the summer season,” said Southold Supervisor Scott Russell.
“Living on an island, we are instinctively drawn to our surrounding coastline and waterways for decompression and recreation,” said Deputy Presiding Officer Kara Hahn, Chairwoman of the Suffolk County Legislature’s Environment, Parks and Agriculture Committee. “For Suffolk County residents to truly get the spiritual and emotional nourishment they seek from visiting our beaches, it will be incumbent on all of us to be social responsible by remaining socially distant and take personal responsibility by taking trash with us for appropriate disposal when leaving the park.”