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 »
New Reservation System for Wilderness-Backcountry Camping at Fire Island
Contact: Paula Valentine, Public Affairs, 631-687-4759
Patchogue, NY -- Fire Island National Seashore and Recreation.gov activated a new online reservation system this morning for permits required to camp in the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness. A limited number of wilderness/backcountry camping permits are issued for overnight stays in the Fire Island Wilderness, so reservations will provide potential campers with the assurance that space will be available when they arrive. There is a $20.00 cost recovery fee associated with each permit reserved, but there is not a nightly fee or per person charge for the Seashore's wilderness/backcountry camping permits. Group size is limited, however, and the maximum length of stay is three consecutive nights. Campers must be prepared to hike from one to five miles down the beach to reach the designated wilderness camping zones, and must carry in (and carry out) everything needed for this primitive camping experience. Since the breach at Old Inlet has cut off access to the wilderness camping areas, campers staying in both the eastern camping zone and the western camping zone must now check in at Watch Hill Visitor Center, a half-hour ferry ride from Patchogue. The Watch Hill VC reopens on May 25, 2013. (Permits are not currently issued at the Wilderness Visitor Center.)
"Permits were previously issued on a first-come, first-served basis," stated John Mahoney, concessions specialist and special park uses coordinator for the Seashore, "but more people have been using this resource in recent years. The new reservation system will help us better serve our visitors and better protect park resources, too."
Camping is also available at the Watch Hill Campground, operated for the Seashore by Fire Island Concessions, LLC, for campers who prefer to be closer to the restrooms, snack bar and other amenities. Reservations for this campground, accessible by passenger ferry from Patchogue or by private boat, may be made online at watchillfi.com. There is a $25 nightly fee for each campsite at the Watch Hill Campground, with a two night minimum for Friday and Saturday night stays.
For more information about programs or camping in the Fire Island Wilderness, contact the Division of Interpretation at 631-687-4780 (weekdays) or 631-281-3010 (weekends).
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Did You Know?
Horseshoe crabs come near shore on the full moon in May and June to lay thousands of eggs, which are a valuable food source for migrating shorebirds in spring and early summer. Occasionally, a perfectly-formed horseshoe crab molt can be found on the beach, shed as the young animal grows. More...