Planning for the Fire Island National Seashore and
the Fire Island Wilderness Area
The Long Island Group is deeply dismayed by the Fire Island National Seashore’s Draft General Management Plan (GMP) and Environmental Impact Statement and its accompanying (rather than separate) Wilderness Stewardship Plan (WSP). Problems include the following:
The structure of the plan is difficult to navigate. Important issues that affect the Wilderness are in various places in the GMP. The WSP Table of Contents is wrong and the page numbers are missing.
Wilderness character monitoring relies on the general criteria used in the Wilderness Act for wilderness designation rather than the character of this specific wilderness.
The NPS rebuilt the boardwalk in a Potential Wilderness Addition area after it had been destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. It seems as though they now intend to designate that area as wilderness, thereby legitimizing boardwalks within this wilderness, which is not part of its character (previous boardwalks were deemed incompatible and removed).
Access to the wilderness is now extremely limited. The breach from Sandy has cut off access by car to more than 4/5 of this small wilderness. Ferries run less the 1/3 of the year--when mosquitoes are out and ticks are most prevalent. The NPS has allowed the trail to degrade and is refusing to maintain it. They seem to be okay with people hiking in and out of the area via the beach--which is not wilderness. This seriously limits opportunities for solitude.