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    Fire Island

    National Seashore New York

New Watch Hill Ferry Service Contract Awarded to Davis Park Ferry Co., Inc.

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Date: May 2, 2011
Contact: Paula Valentine, 631-687-4759

Patchogue, New York—National Park Service (NPS) Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach has announced the selection of Davis Park Ferry Co., Inc. to operate the seasonal passenger ferry services between Patchogue Ferry Terminal and Watch Hill, in Fire Island National Seashore.

The new concession contract is authorized under the NPS Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998. The NPS concessions program manages commercial visitor services that are necessary and appropriate for public use and enjoyment at national park sites. The NPS solicited offers for this contract through a publicly released prospectus and, in response, received a qualified offer from Davis Park Ferry Co., Inc., the business that held the most recent contract to provide this visitor service at Fire Island National Seashore, and has done so since 1966.

The new contract became effective on May 1, 2011, and runs through October 31, 2019. Transportation services for Fire Island National Seashore operate seasonally from mid-May to mid-October. The spring ferry schedule is set to begin on Saturday, May 14, 2011.

"We welcome the new contract with the Davis Park Ferry Company," stated Superintendent Chris Soller. "Three generations of the Sherman family, owners of the local company, have been providing service to Fire Island for many decades. We look forward to a new era of ferry service to Watch Hill with the completion of the Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal building in 2010 and a renewed contract with Davis Park Ferry Company."

Fire Island National Seashore's Watch Hill area includes the park's largest marina, a walk-in campground for individuals and organized groups, a visitor center, ranger-led interpretive programs, self-guiding nature trail, picnic area, and a lifeguarded beach. Another concessioner operates the marina services, campground, a small convenience store, snack bar, and a full-service restaurant at Watch Hill. The area also serves as a portal to backcountry camping in the Fire Island Wilderness. Watch Hill is located on the western edge of the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, directly across the Great South Bay from Patchogue, Long Island. This ferry service provides over 20,000 ferry rides each year to a section of the park which is only accessible by ferry, by private boat, and on foot.

This year, spring ferry service will commence on Saturday, May 14, with two trips per day; an extra trip will be provided after 5:30 p.m. on Fridays. Summer service, with additional daily trips generally timed to coincide with Long Island Railroad schedules, will operate from June 25 through Labor Day. A reduced number of fall trips will be in effect from September 6 through Columbus Day, October 10.

Fares have not increased from the 2009/2010 approved rates. The round-trip fare is $16.00/adult, $10.50/child. Credit and debit cards are now accepted at the Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal. There is no charge for parking in the Fire Island National Seashore lot. A complete schedule for the Watch Hill Ferry Service will be available on-line at www.davisparkferry.com.

Two additional NPS-authorized concession contracts are in effect at Fire Island National Seashore: Fire Island Concessions, LLC operates commercial services at the Watch Hill and Sailors Haven marinas, and Sayville Ferry Service operates a passenger ferry service from Sayville to Sailors Haven. To learn more about concession operations in the National Park Service visit www.concessions.nps.gov.

For more information about Fire Island National Seashore, visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/fiis.

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2-page PDF version of this press release

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