• 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 »

Wetlands, Marshes and Swamps


Salt Marsh

Fire Island National Seashore includes a considerable amount of salt marsh within its boundaries.

Salt marsh vegetation has extensive root systems that enable them to withstand brief storm surges and buffer storm impacts on upland areas.

Salt marshes act as filters. They are able to absorb nutrients and pollutants, reducing the amount that would otherwise run into both estuarine and coastal systems. They are also sediment traps, preventing sediments from washing offshore and often creating more land area.

Salt marshes are nursery grounds for important commercial and recreational fishes as well as other species that are a vital part of the estuarine food chain. Salt marshes are valuable habitats for wading birds and waterfowl. They provide refuge for birds feeding on adjacent mudflat; breeding sites for waders, gulls and terns; a source of food for passerine birds in autumn and winter; and a feeding ground in winter for large flocks of geese and ducks.


Salt marsh communities often serve as biological indicators of the overall ecological health of a park. Threats to a salt marsh include sea level rise, storms, shoreline changes, invasion by exotic species, ditching, watershed development, and nutrient loading.

To monitor the health of several salt marsh communities on the Atlantic coast, the National Park Service has established protocols for monitoring specific variables, which will be implemented at Fire Island National Seashore.

For more information about the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program, see:

Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network


For More Information

You can learn more about salt marshes and the resources of the Great South Bay at the South Shore Estuary Reserve's web site:

Did You Know?

1964-2014 Wilderness 50th Anniversary logo beside winter backpacker on Fire Island

In 2014, America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act on September 3, 1964, just a week before the establishment of Fire Island National Seashore.