• Miles of uncrowded white sandy beaches extend to the horizon, separating the clear blue ocean and undulating grass-covered dunes.

    Fire Island

    National Seashore New York

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  • New Backcountry Camping procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through Recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Davis Park or access points west, and involve a 2½ to 10 mile hike. More »

Air Quality

View of dune line, looking east on a clear day with puffy clouds.
The clean, clear air of Fire Island National Seashore is one of the qualities that can help provide for a sensation of "spiritual renewal" for those people who are able to experience the park. 
 

At Fire Island National Seashore, it's reported that you can see the skyline of Manhattan from the top of the Fire Island Lighthouse on a very clear day.

Most days on Long Island are not quite that clear, but clean air is one of the qualities that makes Fire Island such a special, magical place.

 

Historic Quality of Fire Island's Air:
Have conditions changed?

As recorded in the 1977 Final Environmental Assessment for Fire Island National Seashore:

Air quality at Fire Island National Seashore is variable depending on turbulence, wind direction, and thermal stratification of the atmosphere. Prevailing westerly winds often carry pollutants over Long Island from the heavily industrialized areas of New Jersey and metropolitan New York. The far western horizon is usually shrouded in smog. The nearest air quality monitoring stations to central Fire Island are at Islip, about 8 miles away. In general, the levels of most monitored pollutants are in the intermediate range-much lower than downtown New York City but still substantially higher than rural upstate New York. Activities on Fire Island itself generate almost no on-site air pollution.

 

Locally air quality is still monitored at Islip, New York. States are responsible for the attainment and maintenance of national air quality standards developed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Through a web site managed by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, you may track regional trends of the following pollutants. Use the zip code for Ocean Beach (11770) to see where Fire Island stands.

Elevated concentration of these pollutants can have adverse impacts on park resources and visitors.

 

The National Park Service has a responsibility to protect air quality under both the 1916 Organic Act and the Clean Air Act (CAA). Vegetation, visibility, water quality, wildlife, historic and prehistoric structures and objects, cultural landscapes, and most other elements of a park environment are sensitive to air pollution and are referred to as "air quality-related values."

The NPS seeks to perpetuate the best possible air quality in parks to preserve natural resources and systems; to preserve cultural resources; and to sustain visitor enjoyment, human health, and scenic vistas.

While Fire Island National Seashore does not qualify as a Class I area under the Clean Air Act (national parks over 6,000 acres and national wilderness areas over 5,000 acres that were in existence on August 7, 1977), park management considers the impacts of air pollution in all its operations and planning.

Fire Island National Seashore is in a Class II area, meaning that the state may permit a moderate amount of new air pollution as long as neither ambient air quality standards, nor the maximum allowable increases over established baseline concentrations are exceeded.

 

Learn More

You can explore interactive educational material on visibility science, issues and laws and regulations through the following links:

Educational Material on Visibility Science and Regulations

 

Did You Know?

Two people head down sandy trail past bulletin boards and information signs, lighthouse in distance.

You can walk to the Fire Island Lighthouse from the Field 5 parking lot at Robert Moses State Park. The lighthouse is open year-round, weather permitting. More...