State Senator Owen H. Johnson (4th Senate District, Babylon), Chairman of the Finance Committee, is pictured with Chris Schiavo, Chief of the Deer Park Fire Department, aboard one of the department’s stump jumpers that was used to fight the massive brush fire that engulfed roughly 80-acres of the Edgewood State Preserve. More than 40 fire departments, including Deer Park, helped fight the fire before anyone was hurt or property was lost. The departments were recognized for their tremendous efforts at a recent ceremony that was held at the Preserve.
The Edgewood State land is especially significant to Senator Johnson who wrote the legislation in 1987 which created the preserve. It was Senator Johnson who provided the impetus to get the demolition and cleanup of the 14-story tall Edgewood Hospital building and other structures underway so that ultimately, the open space could be protected and the preserve could be created. Today, the Edgewood State Preserve totals more than 800 protected acres and is the last vestige of the Oak Brush Plain. Not only does the property provide residents with a unique area in which to enjoy activities such as hiking, biking and bird watching, but it is in a special groundwater protection area that overlays a sole source aquifer that provides drinking water for numerous Long Islanders.
"The Edgewood State Preserve has a special place in my heart," said Senator Owen H. Johnson. "I am so grateful to all the fire departments who responded to the call and protected this precious gem."