• 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 »

Nonnative Species

Fire Island National Seashore is a complex park with a number of historic and modern structures, landscapes, and natural areas, including wilderness and dynamic coastal dunes with accompanying vegetation.

Beyond the usual assortment of urban and rural pest issues, extensive populations of exotic invasive plants present an additional challenge. Invasive plants and animals often find their way into the park through neighboring non-federal lands.


An invasive plant mapping project in 2002 found fifteen invasive plant species on Fire Island and seven at the William Floyd Estate. Funding for continued inventory and mapping was obtained in 2007 and 2008, and an invasive species control program was initiated for Fire Island National Seashore in 2008.

The most prominent invasive plant species on Fire Island include:

  • Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergiana)
  • Autumn Olive (Eleagnus umbellata)
  • Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)

Other invasive plants of concern include:

  • Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
  • Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
  • Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
  • Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonicus)
  • Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
  • Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
  • Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)
  • Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
  • Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
  • Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Chinese Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata)
  • Chinese/Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria ssp.)
  • Nodding Thistle (Carduus nutans)
  • Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Bamboo (Phyllostachys spp.)
  • Pampas Grass (Cortaderia spp.)
  • White Poplar (Populus alba)

The common reed (Phragmites australis) is very extensive on Fire Island, especially on the eastern end of the wilderness area. This plant, which can grow up to 20 feet high, forms dense stands by a network of roots and rhizomes. One plant can spread more than 10 feet in a single growing season. However, there may also be a native genotype of this species (Phragmites australis americana) on Fire Island, which would need to be identified and protected. Fire Island National Seashore has not yet implemented an inventory and management program for invasive common reed.


For More Information

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Fire Island National Seashore does not currently have the resources to monitor invasive aquatic species or invasive animals.

For invasive microbes, Fire Island National Seashore has a monitoring program for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases through its mosquito surveillance and management program.

You can learn more about invasive plant species through the National Invasive Species Information Center.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation also has various invasive species management programs.

Did You Know?

Coral-pink sunrise over low, dark silhouette of the island, a sliver of calm bay water to the left and gentle ocean waves to the right.

Barrett Beach/Talisman is one of the narrowest parts of 32-mile-long Fire Island. You can easily walk from one side of the island to the other—bay to ocean—in 5 minutes or less. More...