In the far corner of the Uncle Guiseppe's parking lot, abutting Route 111, runs a walkway into the woods with no signage and no indication of where it leads. What isn't clear is that the trail is part of a 32-mile trail comprising the Long Island Greenbelt Stump Pond Loop Trail.
This trail starts at Heckscher State Park on the south shore and stretches all the way to Sunken Meadow State Park on the north shore, said president of the LI Greenbelt Trail Conference, David Reisfield. Part of the trail goes through a portion of Blydenburgh Park and is connected to the Stump Pond Loop.
Not exactly the most rural of spots for a trailhead, the trail experiences a substantial amount of waste, some from the large supermarket being just feet away, said Reisfield.
“Their refuse is constantly blowing onto the trail,” said Reisfield, “which my volunteers and employees from the Village of the Branch are constantly cleaning up.”
Reisfield feels this is an issue for the trail because it is so close to Uncle Giuseppe’s, and even closer is their back dumpster. Also, Uncle Giuseppe’s employees are told to park alongside the fence by the mouth of the trail.
“It comes from the back of the store,” Reisfield said. “Garbage blows over from the area of their dumpster.”
However a recent walk-through found little evidence of leftover litter on the trail, which is overgrown with weeds and runs between residential backyards on one side, and the busy Route 111 on the other.
Store manager of Uncle Giuseppe’s, Susanna Franceschi, said that they do ask employees to park alongside the fence and there is a seating area for them to eat by there, but they have garbage cans next to the fence to contain the waste.
“There shouldn’t be garbage on the trail at all,” Franceschi said. “There are garbage cans by there where employees sit to eat.”
According to Reisfield, the backlash of garbage is a constant issue and volunteers clean the trail on a regular basis because of it. Franceschi feels they have taken precautions already to ensure garbage doesn’t overflow onto the trail. Her and her employees never even knew it was a problem.
“We are never made aware of any garbage being present on the trail at all,” Franceschi said.