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 »
Nature & Science
Nationally Significant Natural Resources
Fire Island National Seashore consists of 26 miles of Fire Island itself (See Park Map). The Seashore encompasses 19,579 acres of marine and terrestrial property within its boundaries, including Smith Point County Park located at the eastern end within the boundaries of the National Seashore, and the pre-existing communities on Fire Island.
Approximately 15,000 acres of the Park are submerged in the Great South Bay or Atlantic Ocean.
The boundary of Fire Island National Seashore extends approximately 4,000 feet into the bay, and approximately 1,000 feet seaward of the ocean shoreline. The park includes several islands, sand flats, and wetlands landward of the of the barrier island.
Unique resources include the Sunken Forest, a federal wilderness area, and eel grass beds. The Sunken Forest on Fire Island is a 16 hectare maritime holly forest occurring behind the secondary dune, one of only a few mature maritime forests in the New York area and the northernmost holly-dominated maritime forest on the Atlantic barrier island chain. The Nature Conservancy listed this community type as globally imperiled (G2), and in 2001 the New York Natural Heritage Program ranked this maritime holly forest as "globally rare" or "G1G2 S1," meaning there are few remaining occurrences of this assemblage of plants throughout the world.
Both federal and New York State endangered species either breed or germinate in the park, along with eleven other species of concern.
The William Floyd Estate, a unit of Fire Island National Seashore located across Great South Bay on the Long Island mainland, is quite different from the Seashore's barrier island habitat. The William Floyd Estate is 65% forested, 25% wetlands including salt marsh, 5% open space and 5% developed around the estate house area. Wildlife found here include the eastern box turtle, spring peeper tree frog, white-tailed deer, great horned owl, and a variety of water birds and songbirds.
Protecting Fire Island's Natural Resources
In order to preserve and protect natural resources in parks for future generations, NPS managers must be able to evaluate current management and restoration practices, recognize changes and trends in the condition of the resources, and anticipate future threats to those resources.
The National Park Service has implemented a natural resource inventory and monitoring program for the parks. Fire Island National Seashore is grouped in the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network with seven other NPS areas that have similar natural resources. Each unit contains critical coastal habitat and protects vital coastal wetlands which are essential to water quality, fisheries, and the biological diversity.
Did You Know?
As you cross the Great South Bay from Long Island to Fire Island, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the light atop the Fire Island Lighthouse, which appears to flash every 7½ seconds. More...