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 »
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?
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...