On Tuesday, September 2, the National Park Service and Congressman Timothy Bishop celebrated the recent restoration of Fire Island National Seashore’s wilderness boardwalk trail. The ¼-mile boardwalk replaces one destroyed during Hurricane Sandy and provides access to New York State’s only federally designated wilderness.
“The restoration of the wilderness boardwalk on Fire Island is an important step forward in our efforts as a community to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy,” said Congressman Tim Bishop. “In its 50 year history, the Fire Island National Seashore has provided a place for families to spend quality time together while exploring one of Long Island’s most beautiful areas. The restoration of this boardwalk will help to ensure that legacy continues.”
“The federal funds secured by Congressman Bishop made it possible to restore one of Fire Island’s most popular boardwalk in time for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and for Fire Island National Seashore’s own 50th anniversary,” said Seashore Superintendent Chris Soller.
The $273,000 project was completed in April with federal storm recovery funds and visitation has increased since it was completed.
“People come to Fire Island’s wilderness for a unique and peaceful experience and this boardwalk enhances that experience,” said Soller.
“The new wilderness boardwalk was designed to be more sustainable,” said Seashore Facility Manager James Dunphy. Although Hurricane Sandy destroyed 2,500 feet of boardwalk in the wilderness area, Dunphy said “the storm gave the National Park Service the opportunity to reconsider its location.” The new boardwalk was built with composite lumber made from recycled materials and relocated inland to the site of a former boardwalk to allow for greater protection from future storms.
The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness is accessible year-round, with parking available at the adjacent Smith Point County Park.
The Seashore will host “Wilderness Weekend” on September 6 and 7 with special programs to highlight Fire Island’s wilderness and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Wilderness Weekend events include: “Walk in Wilderness,” “Junior Ranger Wilderness Explorer,” and a “Leave No Trace Workshop.”
“Songs of Wilderness,” an exhibit featuring artwork inspired by Fire Island’s wilderness by mixed-media artist David Adams will be on display at the Wilderness Visitor Center through October 13.
The Seashore will continue to host special programming at the Fire Island Wilderness throughout its year-long 50th anniversary celebration starting mid-September.
Fire Island National Seashore encompasses 26 miles of ocean and bay shoreline, lush backdunes, maritime forests and residential communities on Fire Island, a barrier island situated south of Long Island, New York. Fire Island’s dynamic coastal landscape is home to a diversity of plants and wildlife and offers a retreat from nearby metropolitan New York. For more information visit www.nps.gov/fiis.
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