Portable Recreation Path at Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island Portable Path
Portable paths at Fire Island National Seashore replaces boardwalks that are often damaged by hurricanes.

Photo: Jim Dunphy

Fast facts

Location: New York
Compliance (PEPC ID): Categorical exclusion (NA)
Cost/fund source: $30,000/Hurricane Sandy recovery funding
Installation time: With three workers, installation takes around 5-6 hours (the material weighs 0.27 lbs./sq.ft.); the park has not had to remove the boardwalk yet, but removal would likely take less time
Type of material/product used: Mobi-Mat® RecPath™ ADA Beach Access Mat™
Contact information: Facility Manager, Fire Island National Seashore, 631-687-4756


Hurricane Sandy’s strong wind and waves caused boardwalks at Fire Island National Seashore to float away. In addition to using more durable materials and stronger construction techniques for boardwalks across the park, the park has also recently debuted a portable recreation path that can be quickly rolled up prior to a storm. The recreation path is also used at Cape Cod National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


The recreation path is rolled out over sand (although it can also be placed over other materials such as grass and gravel) and is light on the landscape. It has striping down the middle to create walkway lanes, is nonslip, and does not sustain damage when driven
over by an OSV. It can also be extended into salt water and is produced from recycled materials. This particular recreation path is 5-6 feet wide and 400-500 feet long, and rolls up for easy storage. The park uses a rake or piece of fence attached to an OSV to level out the sand before installation, and a rubber mallet to hammer in tent stakes at the ends of each panel. This project presents a viable alternative to the much more costly built structure that was proposed for this area.

Maintenance needs

Before the recreation path is laid down, workers level out the sand. While the recreation path has only been used for a few months at the park, so far there has been minimal
maintenance required. Sand does not stick to the surface but rather filters through the material, so only periodic cleaning with a broom or leafblower is needed.

Last updated: January 19, 2017