Breezy Point parking FAQs

Aerial photos of West Beach and Hero Road show that these areas are natural areas.
Aerial photos of West Beach and Hero Road show that these areas are natural areas.

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NEW--I've heard rumors that Gateway wants to take our shoreline in return for the parking area.

Gateway has not targeted any of the property within the Breezy Point Cooperative (BPC), including its beaches, for acquisition or exchange.

On July 19, 2012, Gateway officials met with BPC members to brainstorm potential solutions to issues of concern that have been raised by the Cooperative, include the potentially encroaching retaining wall and overflow parking needs of the BPC. One of several possible solutions discussed was a voluntary land exchange of equal value between the park and BPC. Gateway identified areas which are important to the ecology of the area -- in part, the dunes and shoreline -- in a PowerPoint presentation used at the meeting. This does not mean that the park or the NPS wants to manage or control these areas, simply that we recognize them as important areas to protect.

In addition to a land exchange, other solutions were discussed including a commercial use authorization to allow a shuttle service from the Jacob Riis Parking Lot.

What is the criteria for a possible land exchange?

Land exchanges are not commonly used by the National Park Service, but are available to the agency when land encroachments occur on federal property. The first step requires a survey of the boundary shared by BPC and the park, which the park has initiated. If a land encroachment is identified, a land exchange is one possible solution. As was stated at the July 2012 meeting, any land exchange would be wholly voluntary in every aspect by both parties.

The main criteria for a federal land exchange is that the lands considered for the exchange must be within the legislative boundary of Gateway National Recreation Area, or another National Park Site within the State of New York, and the exchange for park property must be of equal value. The precise lands transferred would be subject to negotiation by both parties and the process generally takes years to accomplish.


Why can't I park at West Beach and Hero Road anymore?
For seven years, Breezy Point Cooperative was issued a special use permit allowing parking at West Beach and Hero Road. This area is convenient to the members and guests of the Cooperative. However, it is a designated natural resource area containing valuable coastal grassland resources, which the NPS is required to protect for the enjoyment of visitors. Gateway has determined that ongoing use of the area for long term parking is in conflict with the park's mission and values. The use of this area for parking, although sanctioned at one time, is inconsistent with our values. It is inappropriate to issue permits for parking not associated with a park activity.

What's the problem, especially if people have been doing it for years?
Just because misuse of natural resources has happened before does not make it right nor should it continue. The National Park Service cannot sanction an action that adversely impacts park resources, values or park purposes. Also, park management should not issue permits for parking which is not associated with park activities.

I've heard that people with fishing permits can still park at West Beach.
Yes, they can. A limited number of fishing parking permits are issued by Gateway to ensure proper management of our natural resources when the proposed activity is consistent with federal law and regulations [specifically 16 USC Sections 1-4 and 36 CFR Parts 1-7]. Fishing is consistent with these federal laws and regulations; therefore, parking is permitted in this location in support of ongoing natural resource based recreation. This park will continue to allow people who obtain fishing parking permits from Gateway to access this location.

Why is Gateway treating the community like this?
Gateway understands that the former parking area was convenient for members and guests and the park regrets the inconvenience this change will cause. However, the federal law that created Gateway charged us with protecting its natural resources. It is not optional. The park looks forward to finding a better long-term parking solution with the Cooperative. (See top of page.)

Where can I park this summer?
Please consider the parking available at Jacob Riis Park, which will be made available for the Cooperative's guests 24 hours a day. Season passes for standard size vehicles are $65 for the summer season, while daily parking for standard vehicles is available for $10 a day. There may be some options for a long-term solution, which we are happy to discuss with the Cooperative.

Who can I talk to?
Arthur Lighthall is the general manager for Breezy Point Cooperative, Inc.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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