Reading “Donation Saves Boater” by Kitty Merrill in The Southampton Press of October 15 caused me to curtail the folderol and focus my thoughts concerning this Shinnecock Canal.
According to an old dictionary of mine, a canal is an artificial water course for navigation or drainage.
First of all, this is actually a county park: the Shinnecock Canal County Park, it’s called. According to my dictionary, a park is a tract of land, generally large and enclosed, set apart for ornament or recreation. There is no play area, or picnic area or hiking trail, or ballfield, or swing or slide. The layout, to me, should really have this renamed as a rest area, like on the sides of highways.
Did you know that there is only a 6- or 7-inch curb keeping a car from going over and into this canal? Should there be guardrails the entire length of the water’s edge? Should there be large red warning signs installed?
This past summer, for almost two full weeks the southern gate or lock was broken, so no boat traffic could be “locked through.” This was the expression used by the employee announcing to a boater that there was no passage until repairs could be made.
Since navigation was halted, would the drainage function be stopped as well? I doubt it, since my dad always reminded me that “tide and time wait for no man.”
What drainage could there be? Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Hog Neck Bay, Little Peconic Bay, Noyac Bay, Southold Bay and, of course, Gardiners Bay probably all flow through the canal to reach the ocean.
The volume of seawater through the canal on full outgoing tide has to be seen in person to grasp the danger in the water flow in this park. I’m sure if you call the attendant at the Shinnecock Lock House, at 631-852-8299, you could find out when the gates or locks will be opened.
To see the full volume, it’s better to wait about two hours after they open.
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One fine body…