Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Secrets Of Sampawams Creek

This scene, looking north from Gerald Conroy 9 hole golf course is in Babylon Village . Babylon Town is on the left, Islip Town on the right.Most of the six-mile long Sampawams Creek is secret except to those who live on its banks. 94% of the creek is inaccessible. You’d have to trespass on private property to get at it. The same is true for the other 120 creeks that flow into the Great South Bay and other marine waters.

Naturalist Tom Stock set out to learn some of these secrets. Living across the street from the creek, he took frequent walks along Shore Road, the marine portion of the creek. His curiosity and interest in scouting various natural habitat started him on a three-year journey. He looked at old maps, historic photos, and make several surveys along and in the creek.

As Tom says, “There are still secrets that I haven’t learned. But now I can give back to the community with posters, a power point programs, and printed handouts.”

To view this presentation with the text for each picture, click on the top left thumbnail and navigate using the arrows to the right and left of the photo.

For a trail map or to have Tom come and give the presentation in person, contact Tom at tom@tomstock.org


  1. Linda

    Thank you for your posting A Neguntatogue Creek Steward.

    • Tom Stock

      Tom Stock

      appreciate your comment. I am compiling info on all the south shore creeks (120) and would lilke to know more abouot your stewardship, the creek,and how about a guided tour. I am presently working onThompson Creek, West Bay Shore. eventually, a guidebook to south shore creeks.
      toom stock

  2. Paul Schuler

    Great work and presentation. Lots of fond memories of the creek, from rowing boat up and down as a youngster to docking clam boat on Shore Road just opposite the boathouse.

  3. Paul Schuler

    Corrected email

  4. Susan

    Thank you so much for your presentation at the North Babylon Library.
    My parents went fishing at the south end of Hawley’s Lake (pre-Rt. 231) on the night before I was born, and my life has been a series of “creek crossings” ever since.
    Thanks for bringing all the maps, amazing photos, and history together for the “big picture”.

  5. Jacqueline Long

    I am sorry that I did not know you were at the library..I live on Deer Lake Drive since 1999..Currently, I have my home for sale, but I have always enjoyed coming home to the beautiful lake…Unfortunately, resently we have a drought.It is such a picturesque place to be….I am happy to hear that the pump has been approved for many more years of enjoyment for the next owner of my property.

  6. Joe Lehmann

    Thanks for your presentation with regard to Sampwams Creek. My family moved to a new home, along the Creek on Longfellow Avenue in 1962. A State wooded area was across the Creek. Your picture of the White Ducks was not far from my house. I saw those Cat Tails, along with baby frogs and lily pads on the small pond north of Higbe Lane Park when I was about 13 yrs old. Sadly, I saw a lot of debris from storm runoff float down the creek. Still, it was a beautiful place in the summer. My friends and I, enjoyed row boating and exploring the wooded trails across the creek..

  7. Mike C

    Sorry I missed the Presentation. Growing up in West Bay shore, i have fond memories of exploring the creek at various points along it’s way. I’ve always had interest in the creeks origins and I guess as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become nostalgic for those exciting and adventurous times of my youth. Starting from riding our bikes in the late 70’s early 80’s and exploring the creek from behind our West Junior High School. We had a ball catching frogs and turtles with our bare hands! The creek ran along Brookdale Avenue and expanded at Bay Shore Road . We brought our drop nets and caught fish as it passed under Bay Shore Road on it’s way to Deer Lake. A family friend lived on Hunter Ave where the creek crossed under the road and to this day when I’m in the area, my eyes are drawn to the north side where you can see the creek flowing and sometimes ducks floating. As I got older, we rode our bikes from Bay Shore, along Udall road, and cut in through the woods next to Udall Jr. High School, with our fishing gear. The creek opened up and passed through a West Islip park. I think by Harvest Lane/Higbie Lane. We caught some big Mud Carp off the cement pillars through a hole in the fence. As you can see, this creek brings back such happy memories of youth for me. Thank you.

  8. JOhn
    The fish is a mud minnow, not a mud carp. We found one at the edge of a pool that had three feet of mud. My friend caught this small fish ( three inches) and called to come and see. I was on the opposite side of the pool. I crossed straight away and got stuck in the mud so tight that I could not move. He came to rescue me. I pulled on his net handle, my waders filled with water and a man standing on his lawn shouted YOU’RE TRESPASSING>” We were not, the Sampawams Creek is open to anyone.

    • Mike C

      Actually, back in the day (Early 80’s), right behind BarX in West Islip, We fished for Carp. We caught Carp that were from 3 to 5 lbs where the cattails now are and slightly downstream at the southern end of the park off the cement embankment. Big fish. We floated pieces of Bagel and they just took it and ran. Largest fish we ever caught there was an 8lb’er. Remember it like it was yesterday.

    • Nonnon List Michelle Marie

      Re the trespassing. I don’t know what the regulations say about rights to be on and around the shallow waters, of Long Island streams, but I do remember that, as kids that we were instructed to tell ‘interlopers’ that they were on private property, and there was no trespassing allowed–(which we did with all the sassiness of our entitled, childish selves.) I know that the property lines of our family home on Longfellow Avenue ran under the water all the way to the opposite stream shore of” Sumpwums” Creek, and I assume property delineations were the same for other neighbors.

  9. Thank you so much for all the information you have gathered and for the interesting presentation. I have wondered about this area for a very long time and am so grateful that you took the time to find out about the area and share your discoveries with us!

  10. Tracy kerr

    Very interesting. I used to hang out by the creek at the end of Independence Ave in West Islip….I grew up on Kobb Blvd in West Islip. Kobb Blvd used to run go straight to Babylon, 231 now divides it, but my brothers used to walk down the block to a pond/lake just west of 231, south of Sunrise. I dont know if that lake has a name. Anyway used to love to just sit there and watch the water. Of course I wasnt supposed to be there as there was a fence to keep people out….

  11. Chris Schoedler

    Thank you for this! I grew up on Emerson Ave. in North Babylon and have fond memories of riding my bike as a kid (early 90’s) down Beecher Rd. and sneaking back onto the creek in someones backyard on Longfellow to go fishing. If it was anyone readings this’s yard, I apologize, but that little creek fueled a lifetime passion for fishing and the out doors.

  12. Does anyone know what type of fish live in there

  13. James Muller

    I love on Hunter Avenue, near the Babylon/Islip border and am always drawn to the creek. I’d love to find a place to access it and explore more.

  14. Catherine Mercier

    I came across your site while doing some family research. Beautiful images and history of this little known water way. For many years, my father kept his boat on the Sumpawams Creek in a space on Shore directly across from Reid so I have many fond memories of motoring up and down it as we made our way to and from Great South Bay. It’s amazing to see the white boat house still standing! My brother, in the early 1960s, would trap muskrats in Hawley’s pond. They were plentiful then and kept young teens occupied. While my Grandfather, Hermman Boettjer worked for Robert Moses, no one in our family was fond of the installation of Rt. 231 and what that project did to the wetlands and woods in that area. Today, thank goodness, we better understand these ecosystems. Thank-you for documenting Sumpawams and sharing its history for future generations.

  15. David E.

    Your site is an absolute a gem – a veritable diamond-in-the-rough, as is Sampawams Creek itself. As a child, I was sent over from England to spend summers with my grandparents, whose backyard in West Islip backed to the creek. Such fond memories of exploring the waterway and surrounding wetlands.

    Would love to hear more about your work and know whether there is anything that can be done to support efforts to maintain and preserve these important waterways.

  16. Michael Volk

    I lived on Brookes Road and remember as kids going down to “The Stream” to play. There was a path off Longfellow between Beecher and Brookes that went through. Every Earth Day we would go clean up down there.

  17. Thank you for this. I find it all fascinating. I grew up a few houses from Greenwood lake (Guggenheim)

  18. Bob Abooey

    The south end of Deer Lake used to be a ‘public’ beach of sorts for those who lived in the Parkdale Estates section of North Babylon (bounded by the lake, Weeks Road, Deer Park Ave and the Southern State Parkway). In the 80’s it slowly ended up in the hands of developers and new houses built. It was a fun place for us kids to hang out.

  19. Yokai

    I live on Brookdale ave and the creek is part of my property, an unusable part but it’s back there. Very cool learning about it, and I’d be happy to give you access should you ever want. Bearing in mind it heavily heavily wooded, something we love for privacy but is not great for walking through.

  20. John

    Hi I was wondering if that darter fish you drew was caught? I found this on google sorry of this was just meant to be a presentation.

  21. Michael Volk

    I just spent an hour on Google maps trying to find that dang concrete bridge with the “H” on it which is the last remaining remnant of the Hawley Estate. There are two concrete bridges along Lake Drive South, adjacent to Parkwood Avenue (not Lane) – the bridge with the “H” is close to this house:

  22. Cathy Campbell

    My family lived right near the lake on Irving Avenue. My sister Betty and I spent a lot of time playing in the woods and fishing. We lived right at the end of the street. Boy we had a great childhood ❤️

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