Improvements to Rec Path at Wilderness Road & Ecosystem Benefits of Downed Wood

In February 2022, Fishers Island Waste Management District (FIWMD) approved the Rec Path Committee’s request to make the section of Wilderness Road between Oriental Ave and the Pickett Landfill safer through improved visibility for bikers, pedestrians, and cars. Now underway, the work includes selective tree and rock removal to improve sight lines, targeted 2’ road widening to maintain a minimum of 11’ for cars and 6’ for rec path uses, and road painting and signage to reinforce road sharing awareness.

FIWMD’s mission includes respecting the fragile nature of our island. In addition to requesting that the tree and rock removal be kept to a minimum, FIWMD also suggested that the Rec Path Committee leave the downed trees to decompose naturally on site.

“Downed trees and logs are ideal for salamanders, small mammals, invertebrates, and some important pollinator species. This habitat can also act as foraging or nesting sites for birds, and den sites for mammals. Many species of insects, fungi, and other microorganisms live and feed within the tree; recycling the energy back into the ecosystem.” (Heritage Conservancy).

Consider adopting this habitat friendly strategy – downed trees as ecosystem facilitators extraordinaire – for your own projects!

Please note though that invasives like the Tree of Heaven, the preferred home for the invading Lantern Fly, should not be left to decompose on site but instead handled according to specific containment protocols described in the following post about our joint project with the FI Conservancy:

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)