There are precious few opportunities for Babylon, West Islip, North Babylon, and West Brentwood residents to actually see the fresh, flowing water of Sampwams Creek.
I parked at the dead end of Village Line Road off Deer Park Avenue. From the car, I caught my first glimpse.. A drain at the curb funnels rain water runoff through an 18 “ concrete pipe into the stream. The edge was muddy. The recent drought has lowered the water table, so the creek is carrying less water. The volume of water flowing determines its speed. Leaves floating on the far side were barely moving.
The water was making its way to the brackish esturary portion just south of Montauk Highway. I estimate that the width at this point to be about 35 feet. Overhanging tree branches on both sides had me feeling optimistic for what I may expect further upstream. I decided to explore the stream as far as I could by wading this creek as far as possible.
This is a beautiful place except for the fact that I could hear cars wising by no Route 231 just east of the creek. Not many people know much about the fresh water portion of Sampwams Creek. I asked a resident who was walking nearby. He was not even aware that the stream was there.
Sad too, for me, is the fact that the creek is considered as a dumping ground accepting water that accumulated litter, pollutants, fertilizers, and pesticides. In some places, creeks and streams of this size are protected by being buffered with forest. Here on Long Island, developers have been able to build houses with backyards right up to the banks which eliminates access. If you can’t see the stream, you can’t care about it. I only discovered this access point by looking on a local map.