Posters from Concerned Citizens of Montauk events over the years. Courtesy Concerned Citizens of Montauk

NY - In Montauk, a Small Organization With a Big Reach

The physical and cultural landscapes of Montauk have been evolving for decades, as shifts in the environment and social scene have wrought even more changes at what seems like a faster and faster rate.

One local organization has found itself evolving alongside it.

Concerned Citizens of Montauk is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It started out as a small group of residents trying to block -- and ultimately succeed in halting -- the development of more than 1,000 houses near Big Reed Pond, and has grown into a formal organization with a lot more on its to-do list.

"Land preservation and water quality were important 50 years ago," said Ed Braun, C.C.O.M.'s board chairman and a Montauk resident for 20 years. "Today our advocacy includes sustainability, coastal erosion, clean energy, planning, and protecting. It's a longer list. It's more complex, requiring more science."

Since 1970, C.C.O.M. has helped usher in the preservation of more than 3,500 acres in the hamlet -- or about 70 percent of its area -- including Montauk County Park, Camp Hero, Shadmoor, and Hither Hills and Hither Woods.

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