Nature & Science
Nationally Significant Natural Resources
The park includes several islands, sand flats, and wetlands landward of the of the barrier island. Approximately 15,000 acres of the seashore are submerged in the Great South Bay or Atlantic Ocean.
A Globally Rare Ecosystem
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.
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
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.
Researchers and resource specialists study Fire Island natural systems from the long-term change in shoreline position to the population dynamics of Eastern box turtles at the William Floyd Estate and more. Learn more about conducting research at Fire Island National Seashore.
Protecting Fire Island's Natural Resources