• 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

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Pet Restrictions in Effect March 15 through Labor Day

    Dogs/other pets (except for service animals) are not allowed in the wilderness or on any of Fire Island's federally owned oceanfront beaches from March 15 through Labor Day to help protect threatened and endangered beach-nesting shorebirds. More »

  • Backcountry Camping Permit and Access Procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through www.recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Watch Hill or points west, and involve a 1½ to 8 mile hike. More »

  • Attention Watch Hill Ferry Passengers

    Due to channel conditions, delay or cancellation of ferry service between Patchogue and Watch Hill may occur. For updated ferry schedule information, please call 631-475-1665.

Wetlands, Marshes and Swamps

A Greater Yellowlegs forages in the salt marsh near Watch Hill
 

Salt Marsh Services
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.

 

Monitoring the Condition of Fire Island's Salt Marshes
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.

 

Did You Know?

Close-up view of pinkish sundew plants, bright green mosses, and spike-like leaves of other plants.

Tiny insectivorous plants called sundews (Drosera rotundifolia and D. intermedia) may be found in the low moist swales between dunes in the Fire Island wilderness area. Sundew gets its name from the glistening sticky substance on its leaves that traps ants and other small insects. More...