Fire Island Wilderness
New York's Only Federally Designated Wilderness
The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness contains a variety of barrier island ecosystems in a relatively natural condition. It is the only federally designated wilderness in the State of New York, and is just a short drive or train ride from New York City.
At 1,380 acres, it is also one of the smallest wilderness areas managed by the National Park Service.
In the wilderness, you can be free to explore, to discover a natural barrier island ecosystem, to savor the solitude. The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness offers a barrier island experience like no other.
From March 15 through Labor Day, pets are not permitted in the Fire Island Wilderness area or on the beach in front of the wilderness.
The Wilderness Act (Public Law 88-577) was signed into law on September 3, 1964. In 1975, what became known as the "Eastern Wilderness Areas Act" (Public Law 96-622) provided for the addition of areas that had been severely modified, including the authority to condemn and remove structures, to create designated wilderness in the East.
The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness Act, Public Law 96-585, December 23, 1980, designated approximately 1,363 acres as wilderness in Fire Island National Seashore, and identified 18 more acres as potential wilderness additions.
In October 1999, a Federal Register notice announced that 17 acres of potential wilderness by that time fully complied with wilderness standards, and were officially designated as wilderness.
Approximately 1 acre of potential wilderness exists within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore: the nature trail at Smith Point, which runs behind the dunes for about ½ mile from the Wilderness Visitor Center to the ocean beach; and the area of Old Inlet.
The Wilderness Act was signed into law on September 3, 1964, just a week before the establishment of Fire Island National Seashore. Watch: Three poets from New York City discover Fire Island Wilderness.