Atlantic and Gulf Coasts Recreation Area Survey
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Undeveloped Seashore Areas of New York (Vicinity Map) (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Gardiners Island
New York

Location: Off shore of eastern end of Long Island, northeast of Hampton, Long Island.
Accessibility: By boat only.
Description of Area: An island of unusual interest because of its wildlife, near virgin forest, fresh-water ponds, and varied shoreline. It is about four miles long, three miles wide, with hills reaching heights of about 130 feet. The seaward side of the shoreline is eroded, forming steeply sloping sand cliffs at the base of which a narrow, sand and boulder-strewn beach slants off abruptly into deep water. Fresh-water ponds near the beaches have been formed and are fed by streams from the hilly area in the center of the island.
Present Use: The island is in private ownership and is used as summer residential property.
Analysis: The Fish and Wildlife Service is negotiating for the acquisition of the island as a wildlife area. It is believed no further study is necessary at this time.
Gardiners Island

Shinnecock Inlet
New York

Location: Southern shore of Long Island, 90 miles east of New York City.
Accessibility: By paved road.
Description of Area: This seven-mile stretch of privately owned sea coast has relatively few ownerships, is easily accessible by road and is one of the few remaining seashore recreation opportunities available to the largest population center in the United States. The reef is about 1,200 feet wide and is bisected by Shinnecock Inlet. About 1/3 of the area lies east of the inlet, the other 2/3 to the west. The quality of the beach is outstanding. It is wide, clean and gently sloping. The vegetation is sparse, the dunes low and partly stabilized. The area also has historical interest.
Present Use: At the time of the reconnaissance of this area, 82 percent of it was in the hands of the Henry Phipps estate. It is understood now, however, that this portion has been sold to real estate interests. The remainder involves 15 to 20 separate ownerships. The area is used as a fishery station, for sun and surf bathing, and as a beach club, and has some summer cottages.
Analysis: The area is not as extensive as Fire Island but is only slightly less accessible to metropolitan New York.

Shinnecock Inlet

Fire Island
New York

Location: South shore of Long Island, about 50 miles east of New York City.
Accessibility: Bridge is planned and funds are available for its construction at Smith Point; elsewhere by ferry.
Description of Area: The sunken holly forest on this island is one of the most unique biotic communities to be found along the Atlantic coast. Fire Island's proximity to the largest population center in the United States and its 18 miles of undeveloped beach make it of unusual significance. The beach is wide, clean and gently sloping. The dunes are for the most part stabilized and reach a height of 20 to 30 feet. Other than the holly forest, vegetation is not abundant or unusual. Salt marshes border the Great South Bay. The area has considerable historical value.
Present Use: A State park, a county park, botanical preserve, communities, subdivisions, and numerous small ownerships are contained on the island.
Analysis: The area is of extreme importance because of its natural features and its close proximity to large centers of population. It would be very difficult and expensive to acquire.
Fire Island Beach

Sunken Forest near Point O'Woods

New York

Fishers Island

A long, narrow island, possibly 6 miles in length, located in Long Island Sound south and west of the city of New London, Connecticut. Its beaches are narrow and stony, with deep water just beyond. The rolling sparsely wooded hills break off sharply, here and there, at the beach's edge, to expose crumbling rock ledges or to become sand-and-boulder cliffs. In the central area of the island are several fresh water ponds. Access to the island is by boat and plane. On the western end are important military installations which protect the submarine pens on the Thames River and sea operations in this area. There are several extensive residential developments on the island. It is believed that further study of the island is unnecessary at this time.

Long Island (North Shore)

The north shore is approximately 125 miles long and consists of hilly terrain with steep sand-and-boulder cliffs and narrow boulder strewn beaches. The shore is marked by almost continuous development from west to east and from the shore inland. There are three State parks and numerous municipal beaches along the shore, with a number of bays and harbors being used for boat anchorage. The area contains many large estates and farms between the several communities along the coast. The undeveloped areas are, for the most part, held in large estates. The shoreline and beaches are not as conducive to public recreational use as those on the southern shore of Long Island.

Long Island, North Shore

Plum Island

A triangular-shaped island 1-1/2 miles long and 3/4 mile wide with a mile-long sandspit "tail" extending eastward from the main body. It is located in Long Island Sound, about 1 mile northeast of Orient Point. The beach areas are narrow and stony and the foreshore becomes deep rather quickly. Interrupting the beach areas are sandy cliffs. Behind the cliffs, the terrain is hilly and generally treeless. Near the west-central end of the island is a small fresh-water pond. The island is quite highly developed, including military installations, and it is understood the United States Department of Agriculture has leased a portion of the area from the military and is developing a multimillion dollar research laboratory. The existing developments and those planned indicate this area will require no further study at this time.

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Last Updated: 25-Jun-2007