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.
Fire Island's Sunken Forest is a rare ecological community. The Maritime Holly Forest is only found behind well-established sand dunes along the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Massachusetts. It is one of six forest types recognized in the National Vegetation Classification System. According to the New York Natural Heritage Program, this state's maritime holly forest was ranked as "globally rare," meaning there are few remaining occurrences of this assemblage of plants throughout the world.
Today you can easily visit this rare habitat from May to October, when ferries run from Sayville to Sailors Haven. Throughout the year you may stroll along the boardwalk, although facilities (restrooms) and other services are not available when ferry service is not operating.
The Sunken Forest Preserve
In May 1966, the Sunken Forest Preserve, Inc. donated the property to the recently established (1964) Fire Island National Seashore, under the condition that the property shall always be maintained in its natural state and operated as a sanctuary, and that no public road or highway shall be built through it.
Ecological Studies of the Sunken Forest, Fire Island National Seashore, New York
Origin and History of Maple Bog in the Sunken Forest, Fire Island, New York
Sunken Forest Trail Guide (1977, revised 1988)
Did You Know?
The piping plover is a federally threatened and New York State endangered species. It may be delisted when a total of 575 breeding pairs can be maintained in New York and New Jersey for five years. Fire Island National Seashore is currently the home of 15 - 20 nesting pairs of these shorebirds. More...