• 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 »


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.

Tangle of exposed roots on bay shoreline.

A tangled mat of rhizomes and roots of the common reed, or Phragmites, are exposed along the bay shoreline in early summer. 

An invasive plant mapping project in 2002 found fifteen invasive plant species on Fire Island. Weeds were found predominantly in disturbed areas, such as along boardwalks, around buildings, and wherever there is vehicular or pedestrian traffic. The barrier island's nutrient-poor soils, desert-like conditions and salt spray prevent many weeds from gaining a strong foothold on Fire Island.

The most prominent invasive plant species on Fire Island is the common reed, or Phragmites australis. 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.

Fire Island's most abundant weeds include the autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata), nodding thistle (Carduus nutans) and spotted knapweed (Centaurea aculosa).


Learn More

The National Park Service implements a nationwide Integrated Pest Management Program to reduce risks to the public, park resources, and the environment from pests and pest-related management strategies.

An IPM Plan for Fire Island National Seashore was prepared in 2006. The report may be available as a downloadable portable document format (PDF) file from the Internet at http://www.nps.gov/nero/science/.

Did You Know?

Lifeguard stand and rescue buoys are stationed on the beach.

Lifeguarded beaches are provided at Fire Island National Seashore during the summer at Watch Hill and Sailors Haven. More...