Aerial view of opening in barrier island and sandy bay islands.

Breach Management Plan

Learn more about the Draft Breach Management Plan/EIS. (Photo: USFWS/G. Thompson)

A woman walks with a small GPS unit at the edge of the water.

Monitoring the Wilderness Breach

Soon after the wilderness breach was created, the National Park Service and partners began monitoring it.

View of shoreline runnels and breach channel.

Dynamic Shorelines

The shoreline is constantly changing, from day to day and decade to decade. Learn more about Fire Island's dynamic natural features.

A group stands by the breach channel at sunset.

Join a Hike to the Breach

Check the calendar for ranger-guided hikes to the breach, or take the 3-mile walk on your own from Wilderness Visitor Center.

What is a breach?

Breaches are channels connecting ocean to bay which form during powerful storms. Like the shoreline and dunes, breaches are dynamic barrier island features.

A Powerful Storm

On October 29, 2012 Hurricane Sandy created three breaches in the barrier island system off the south shore of Long Island, including one within the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, a federally-designated wilderness area on the eastern end of Fire Island National Seashore.

Tracking Changes

Since the occurrence of the wilderness breach, the National Park Service (NPS) has worked with its partners to monitor the breach, which is a relatively stable but dynamic natural feature.

How are breaches managed?

Two of the three breaches which opened during Hurricane Sandy on the barrier islands along Long Island's south shore were closed immediately after the storm. The NPS is in the process of making a decision on how best to manage the third which occurred in Fire Island National Seashore's wilderness. The National Park Service will release for public review a Draft Fire Island Wilderness Breach Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate alternatives for managing the wilderness breach.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

120 Laurel Street
Patchogue, NY 11772


(631) 687-4750
Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Closed on federal holidays.

Contact Us