Environmentally unique and invaluable natural
places are not guaranteed to exist forever. It requires time, resources,
and the concerted efforts of devoted people to preserve the natural
world for future generations and to defend it against those who
would bulldoze and develop already-saturated land without a second
This is the history of the trailblazing group that has led just
such an effort for the past thirty-five years: an effort to preserve
the fragile ecology and natural beauty at the very tip of the East
End of Long Island, New York.
of Montauk was formed in 1970 as an organized response
to block developers’ plans for 1,400 houses near an environmentally
important lake and historic Indian burial ground near Lake Montauk.
The struggle was successful, and the creation of Theodore Roosevelt
County Park was the result.
Over the following decades, CCOM would grow to become one of the
most effective citizens’ groups on the East End, saving parcel
after parcel of land, preserving clean groundwater and eroding coastlines,
and keeping a lid on overdevelopment. CCOM boasts a current membership
of over 800 residents, who have (along with their predecessors)
helped to preserve two-thirds of Montauk’s land.
This is the inspiring story of the people who
worked tirelessly towards this end, of their unlikely successful
campaigns waged against powerful entrenched interests, illustrated
with dozens of aerial and historical photos of the area.
As Montauk resident Edward Albee writes in the Preface, Holding
Back the Tide is a “true ‘how-to’ book for
all citizens.” It is a local history of universal importance
for all fighting to preserve and protect the natural places in their