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Contact: Kathy Krause, 631-687-4772
Contact: Paula Valentine, 631-687-4759
Fire Island National Seashore is kicking off 2013 National Park Week with its annual National Junior Ranger Day extravaganza, to be held at the Fire Island Wilderness Visitor Center on Saturday, April 20, 2013, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Each Junior Ranger activity is free!
This year's program will be held at the Fire Island Wilderness Visitor Center, located at the southernmost end of the William Floyd Parkway. Park at Smith Point County Park (no fee at this time of year), then meet under the tents adjacent to the visitor center for a variety of displays and hands-on activities that will be available throughout the day. Each activity is related to the historic, natural or recreational resources provided at Fire Island National Seashore. Play some Colonial games. Learn about the U.S. Lifesaving Service and the island's maritime heritage. See how the barrier island has changed since the arrival of Hurricane Sandy last fall!
Four special ranger-guided programs are available. Advance reservations are required to create your own i-Pad Video Postcard at 11:00 a.m., Noon, or 1:00 p.m. (Call 631-687-4780) Registration is also required for the 1:00 p.m. "Beach Detective Hike," which is a part of the Seashore's "Let's Move Outside" program. This 1-hour activity, limited to 25 participants, is geared for children ages 10 and up; advance reservations may be made at 631-687-4780, or on site if spaces are still open. Two additional 1-hour programs are also offered. "Basic Nature Photography" starts at 11:30 a.m. and "Shifty Sands" starts at 2:30 p.m.
A favorite feature of Fire Island National Seahore's program is the special Fire Island National Seashore Junior Ranger Day passport book. Children can get their books stamped as they complete each activity or program on this day.
Please note that there is no food service at the Wilderness Visitor Center, so be sure to pack a lunch and drink. Free parking is available at Smith Point County Park, then walk under the tunnel and along the beach to the National Park Service facility. Dress for the weather, and remember it can be a bit cooler along the ocean on Fire Island.
Fire Island National Seashore has an active Junior Ranger Program, with opportunities to complete a variety of general and special interest Junior Ranger activity booklets. Throughout the year, Junior Ranger programs are held at the Wilderness Visitor Center. During the summer, Junior Ranger activities are also offered at the Watch Hill and Sailors Haven visitor centers, and at the William Floyd Estate. The Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society also conducts a six-week "Junior Lighthouse Keepers" summer program, which starts on July 10, 2013. Call 631-661-4876 for reservations.
Additional National Park Week programs include a 2½-hour Old Mastic Earth Day Hike on Sunday, April 21 at 9:00 a.m. at the William Floyd Estate (245 Park Drive, Mastic Beach, NY 11951). That same afternoon and just a few miles away, a 2-hour, 3-mile ranger-guided Old Inlet Breach Hike starts at the Wilderness Visitor Center on April 21 at 1:00 p.m. (Take the William Floyd Parkway to its southernmost end, and park at Smith Point County Park.) This is a great way to spend a full day exploring the diversity and complexity of Fire Island National Seashore.
Since the arrival of Hurricane Sandy last fall, the Fire Island Lighthouse and most other island-based park developed areas have remained closed. As recovery progresses, facilities at Watch Hill, Sailors Haven and the Lighthouse are expected to reopen during May 2013.