Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness

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Otic Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
FireIslandWilderness.jpg
Fire Island Wilderness
Map showing the location of Otic Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness
Map showing the location of Otic Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness
Location New York, USA
Nearest city Brookhaven, NY
Coordinates 40°42′42″N 72°55′42″W / 40.711667°N 72.928333°W / 40.711667; -72.928333Coordinates: 40°42′42″N 72°55′42″W / 40.711667°N 72.928333°W / 40.711667; -72.928333
Area 1,380 acres (560 ha)
Established 1980 (1980)
Governing body National Park Service

The Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness Area, also known as the Otis G. Pike Wilderness Area, is a federally protected wilderness area composed of barrier islands off the south shore of Long Island, New York.

The wilderness area, named for former New York congressman Otis G. Pike, is the only federally designated wilderness area in New York State.[1] At 1,380 acres (5.6 km2; 2.16 sq mi), it is also one of the smallest wilderness areas managed by the National Park Service.[1]

Description[edit]

Access to the Fire Island Wilderness can be obtained either from Watch Hill (which is accessible seasonally by ferry or private boat, or Smith Point County Park, accessible year round by car or bus). The Wilderness Visitor Center (located adjacent to privately owned Bellport Beach) splits the wilderness into two zones east and west of these protected areas.[citation needed]

The island is about 31 miles (50 km) long and 0.25 miles (0.40 km) wide at the widest point.[citation needed] The Otis G. Pike Wilderness area is 7 miles (11 km) of National Park Service wilderness located on the eastern side of Fire Island. It is the only National Park Service wilderness in New York State.[citation needed] The wilderness area is named for former New York Congressman Otis G. Pike, who co-sponsored the bill which created the Fire Island National Seashore and worked hard to secure public support and the legislation's passage through Congress to establish the new national park.

Miles of undeveloped beach, some 40-foot (12 m) high dunes, are covered in wildflowers, deer trails, old bones, and many natural seaside artifacts. The Wilderness is only 50 miles (80 km) east of New York City.

The United States Congress designated the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness Area in 1980 and it now has a total of 1,380 acres (5.6 km2; 2.16 sq mi). All of the wilderness is in New York and is managed by the National Park Service.

Old Inlet breach[edit]

Old Inlet just west of Smith Point County Park in the wilderness has been the site of breaches of Fire Island that have joined the Atlantic Ocean with the Great South Bay.

The most recent breach occurred during the high tides associated with Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The breach was 108 feet wide after the storm on the Atlantic side and 1,171 feet on February 28, 2013.[2]

Officials have been debating whether to close the breach or let nature take its course as it has been flushing out the Great South Bay. However residents of the bay front communities have noted increased flooding since the storm. Officials have moved to close the other two breaches which are on either side of Moriches Inlet -- one in Cupsogue County Park and the other one being in Smith Point County Park.[3][4][5]

See also[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]

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