February 12, 2013
Contact: Lena Koschmann, Chief Ranger
Contact: Paula Valentine, Public Affairs
Patchogue, NY - On February 4, 2013, Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Chris Soller signed the 2013 Superintendent's Compendium, now available on the park web site. The purpose of the compendium is to provide the public and park employees with a document that lists the special designations, closures, public use limits, permit requirements and other restrictions imposed under the discretionary authority of the Superintendent. The compendium supplements and clarifies those regulations found in other federal law, including Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR), Parts 1-7, which pertain to the National Park Service. These regulations apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore.
The Fire Island Superintendent's Compendium provides useful information that helps visitors, Fire Island residents, and park employees understand and follow park rules and regulations. Included in the compendium are written determinations that describe the reasons for the regulations. The following information can be found in the compendium:
- Visiting dates and hours for park facilities
- Public use limits for specific areas and activities
- A list of activities that require a permit from the park, in addition to those found in 36 CFR
- Stay limits for campgrounds and docks
- A list of designated camping areas and camping regulations
- Areas identified for public assemblies and meetings
- Vehicle and traffic safety regulations specific to Fire Island
"We recommend that anyone visiting Fire Island read and become familiar with the regulations contained within this Superintendent's Compendium," stated Soller. Failure to abide by these regulations can result in a citation of up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail. Below are a few regulations that are in effect as of February 5, 2013.
One of the key elements included in this compendium is the announcement that New York State public nudity laws will be enforced at Fire Island National Seashore.
- State nudity laws will be enforced at Fire Island National Seashore. While state laws apply throughout the seashore, the park will focus its public education and enforcement efforts of the existing New York State law at the following federally-owned areas:
- Lighthouse Beach, from the western boundary of the park to the western boundary of Kismet.
- The federal tract of land in front of Sailors Haven, from Point O' Woods to Cherry Grove.
- One-half mile on either side of the Barrett Beach boardwalk.
- One mile on either side of the Watch Hill lifeguard stand.
- From the Wilderness Visitor Center to the breach at Old Inlet.
Public nudity has been prohibited in the State of New York since 1984 under New York State Penal Code 245.01. Public nudity in developed areas and historic landscapes is incompatible with the park's purposes and values, and diminishes opportunities for current and future generations to enjoy, learn about, or be inspired by park resources or values. On Lighthouse beach in particular, the dense visitation invited by the previously-designated "clothing optional beach" presented not only a visitor use conflict, but created a public safety hazard due to the lack of adequate facilities for trash and human waste, in addition to the dense recreation on a non-lifeguarded beach. Additionally, Hurricane Sandy leveled the dunes in this area, which increases the visibility of the beach from other public use areas, and creates added habitat for sensitive species in the area. Finally, park employees have observed an increase in criminal activity in the designated clothing-optional areas, but have been unable to appropriately manage this activity despite significant attempts at education and enforcement.
Annual closures and restrictions announced in the Compendium include the following:
- Entering any breach through federally-owned land on Fire Island is prohibited, either on foot or by vessel.
Breaches in a barrier island present a significant safety risk, as they can be unstable and often have strong currents running through them.
- Pets are prohibited in public buildings, swimming beaches, and on all federally-owned oceanfront National Seashore beaches and within the boundaries of Fire Island Wilderness from March 15 through Labor Day.
- Metalized nylon balloons ("Mylar balloons") are prohibited from all federally-owned National Seashore lands.
A link to the entire document is on the park's web page at www.nps.gov/fiis/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm.
For more information, please contact the Chief Ranger's office at 631-687-4757.
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2-page pdf of this news release