Fire Island is a unique place in need of lasting protection.  First settled as a whaling station in 1653, Fire Island’s abundant native seafood, waterfowl, and plants attracted Native Americans and, later, European settlers.  Today, it is one of the top summer retreats in the nation and – less than 40 miles from New York City – one can still find secluded beaches, natural dune fields, and a diversity of wildlife on Fire Island.  The Fire Island Land Trust, with the help of its partners, intends to keep it that way.   

We encourage you to utilize the resources available at the National Park Service to learn more about the creation about the Fire Island National Seashore and the only federally designated wilderness area in New York State, Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness.

There are many different private communities on this unique island.  These communities all share a common thread - living on the barrier island.  Living on a barrier island means that one need to understand the fragile nature and ecology of this changing ecosystem.  We believe that Fire Island's communities a can coexist with this ecosystem and help to protect and preserve our land and natural resources for future generations.


Map courtesy of NPS. For a more detailed map, please click here.

Sometimes when people leave Fire Island they say their going back to the real world.  But the real world is here on Fire Island.  Fire Island is what nature made it; we don't want to lose it.” David Greise, Administrator of the FI Lighthouse Preservation Society. Click here for a documentary about Fire Island.

One can hardly hear about Fire Island without some comment about erosion and failed erosion control efforts.  The Fire Island Association has been a tireless advocate for Fire Island Communities, successfully lobbying for  beach nourishment projects and the protection of property rights on Fire Island. 

Click here to learn more about the Fire Island Association

 
Immediately after the 1938 hurricane, which destroyed Westhampton Beach and communities in Fire Island, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began in a comprehensive protection plan known as the Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) Reformulation Study.


The initial reformulation study, released in 1959, called for raising the height of dunes, increasing the depth of beach, vegetating dunes, and the construction of as many as fifty groins between Fire Island Inlet and Montauk Point.  Seventeen groins put in place from 1969 to 1970 by the USACE but the project was never completed.  The Westhampton groin field is blamed by some for actually accelerating erosion of Fire Island's beaches.   A draft report and environmental impact statement for the comprehensive FIMP study is scheduled to be released in 2009.

Click here for more information on the FIMP Study from the USACE.

The FIMP study will likely recommend some combination of strategic retreat from the shore and beach nourishment but it is unclear how or when the study will be implemented. The Fire Island Land Trust will keep residents informed about the plan while working proactively to preserve our beaches, our communities, and our way of life.

"From 1938 to the present, all past management efforts can be characterized as short-term responses to crisis situations at specific locations." Koppelman & Forman, The Fire Island National Seashore: A History (2008) at 27.

The Fire Island Land Trust maintains a politically neutral position.  We will represent the common interest of Fire Islanders in ensuring that there is public access to the ocean and the preventing unwise development by purchasing vulnerable parcels.  The Fire Island Land Trust supports the original vision for the Seashore: to protect the natural resources on Fire Island while maintaining its existing communities.

We envision a Fire Island where the interests of the residents of Fire Island are properly balanced with the interests of the environment -- with a community consensus on the importance of protecting the unique land, natural resources, historical sites, scenic beauty, and community character of Fire Island.
 

The Fire Island Land Trust works with all communities on Fire Island to create one voice for land protection, historic restoration, and conservation.

The Fire Island Land Trust understands the need to maintain the seventeen communities on Fire Island.  Click on each community below, organized from East to West, to learn more about its unique character.  For more information on the communities, please click here to visit The Fire Island Travel Guide.

Davis Park / Ocean Ridge
Davis Park/Leja Beach/Ocean Ridge is now the eastern-most community on Fire Island.  Before the creation of the Fire Island National Seashore in 1964, communities were father east including Bayberry Dunes, Whalehouse Point and Long Cove.

Davis Park has approximately 550 homes, one general store, one restaurant and one bar.
Water Island
Water Island is a small, private Fire Island beach community of about 50 houses. With Davis Park to the East and Barrett Beach to the west, Water Island is afforded a generous space cushion from Fire Island beach civilization – giving it a secluded privacy that is well-appreciated by its residents.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Fire Island Pines
  Fire Island Pines is a premier beach resort destination that appeals to the luxury minded complete with upscale real estate, lounges, cafes, grocery stores, boutiques, a hotel, restaurants and bars.  The Pines is how “downtown NYC does the beach,” known by leaders in fashion, design, photography and the arts.

Although a predominantly gay community, the Pines offers enough space and diversity to suit all newcomers, residents and visitors.

Cherry Grove
Cherry Grove (“the grove”) is the most well-known Fire Island Communities. Considered by many to be the first and oldest gay community in the United States, Cherry Grove has a cultural pride reflected by events like the Miss Fire Island contest drag queen beauty pageant.  Downtown Cherry features a range of amenities, including several restaurants, clubs, bars, and boutiques along with more practical hardware store and convenience store. Cherry Grove is a nexus of artistic expression, seen in creative landscaping, murals, mosaics, and paintings produced by locals. In addition, Cherry Grove abounds with art galleries, elaborate theatrical productions, and amazing live entertainment that makes the entire Fire Island community shine. Cherry Grove embodies a liberal, welcoming Fire Island beach philosophy that encourages individuality; this mindset has over the years fostered a strong community bond that is palpable in the friendly smiles of community members.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Point O’Woods
As Fire Island’s oldest community, Point o' Woods is completely self-contained – with a store, kids’ camps, a ferry line, tennis courts, fields, and Fire Island’s only train track. Visitors who have the opportunity to explore Point O’ Woods are taken by its beauty; this private community, perhaps more than any other Fire Island community, has the look and feel of a bygone era. Walkways meander through wooded terrain, and old houses with ancient bicycles parked outside are laid out in a manner that appears haphazard when compared to the well-organized residential grids of Ocean Bay Park and Ocean Beach. This private community has a strong emphasis on family living, and offers no nightlife, bars, or restaurants.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Ocean Bay Park
Ocean Bay Park is perhaps most well-known for Flynn's Fire Island bar, a serious drinking and all-night dancing establishment. Flynn’s Fire Island bar captures the party atmosphere of this small town, which is populated by many summer beach house share and Fire Island shares tenants. Ocean Bay Park has a modest commercial stretch along the Bay Walk, which features a Fire Island hotel, four restaurants, bars, and a food market. Ocean Bay Park’s laid-back, non-restrictive lifestyle is especially appreciated by the waves of young renters who seek a carefree, fun environment as the ideal Fire Island beach experience.   (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Seaview
  Seaview maintains a peaceful village feel and features a mix of sleek modern architecture and old-school Fire Island cottages. Seaview is largely self-contained, with a private boat marina, playground, tennis and basketball courts, restaurants, and shopping. Seaview is home to Fire Island’s only Synagogue, which also runs a youth program and holds many Fire Island community activities.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Ocean Beach
  The unofficial “capital” of Fire Island, Ocean Beach is a 600-home community with the greatest concentration of bars, restaurants and stores on the entire island. Ocean Beach also offers more Fire Island hotels than any other community.

It is here, along Main Street, that Ocean Beach developed its reputation as the “Land of ‘No’” – regulations instituted to maintain safety and impose control over the influx of tourists reached levels of absurdity, most famously noted by a regulation against eating ice cream on Main Street.

Away from the hustle and bustle of Main Street, Ocean Beach preserves the peaceful Fire Island NY beach community atmosphere, with many family-occupied houses to balance out the Ocean Beach bar-hopping transients.

Ocean Beach was elevated to national prominence in the summer of 2006, when the ABC reality show, One Ocean View, began filming. For one month, reality TV invaded peaceful Ocean Beach walkways, as the summer share beach house boys and girls of reality TV experienced the magic of Ocean Beach through the lens of a reality TV camera.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Corneille Estates
Corneille Estates is popular among young professionals.  Corneille Estates stands on its own as a beautiful community with winding boardwalks, an elementary school, a ball field, a library and lush wooded areas.  Corneille Estates residents have easy access to Ocean Beach bars, the Fire Island school facilities and a small but popular beach area.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Summer Club
Fire Island Summer Club is a small community, with an old Coast Guard Station that is now being used as a central community house on the Great South Bay.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Robbins Rest
Nestled in the midst of Federal Seashore wilderness, Robbins Rest is a serene, peaceful Fire Island beach community with a popular restaurant and approximately 40 residential houses; a mix of classic Fire Island cottages and more modern, sleek architectural designs. (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Atlantique
Atlantique is difficult to access, since it has kept most of its area free from sidewalks. With only about 50 homes, Atlantique is close-knit and sheltered, with a privacy that is treasured by its residents. (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Lonelyville
One of the first communities to be established on Fire Island, Lonelyville has no stores, bars or crowds. Its secluded privacy attracts those who wish to get away from it all. Lonelyville’s Fire Island real estate includes a mix of modest beach cottages, largely concentrated at its east end; and more modern homes that were built on the west end. Lonelyville’s inhabitants enjoy the best of both worlds; choosing between the quiet solace of their homes and the nightlife and amenities offered by neighboring communities, which are only a short Fire Island beach walk away.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Dunewood
Dunewood is a family-oriented community with about 100 homes. Hardly the place for a summer share beach house or other Fire Island Shares, Dunewood banned group Fire Island rentals to maintain its residential-only atmosphere. Dunewood is a serene, private community; this privacy is preserved by Dunewood’s conspicuous lack of restaurants, bars, or stores. Dunewood is known for its Yacht Club, which offers sailing lessons and sponsors a well-known sailing regatta.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Fair Harbor
  Fair Harbor is a 400-home community that is a mix of swinging singles and vacationing families. Known as a refuge from the urban grind, Fair Harbor is a sanctuary for New York City inhabitants who find solace in its relaxed, casual atmosphere. Fair Harbor features downtown district with a liquor store, upscale food market, post office, and restaurant.
Saltaire
Saltaire caters to families with acclaimed youth programs, sports fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, and a Yacht Club featuring regattas and sailing instruction.  Saltaire residents wish to keep their community quiet and private; as a result, their commercial locations are limited by zoning, but still include a liquor store and food market. A library, post office, and town hall add to Saltaire’s snug, family-oriented community atmosphere. Saltaire’s culture includes an annual bluegrass festival and annual arts and crafts fair, but for the most part, this is a quiet, exclusive, family oriented community. and it is situated on the widest area on the Fire Island map. Fire Island Ferry service to Saltaire leaves from the Bay Shore Fire Island ferry terminal.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)
Kismet
Kismet is largely a singles Fire Island beach community boasting a vibrant nightlife of never-ending happy hours, disco dancing, and boisterous house parties. A popular Fire Island summer share beach house destination, Kismet is also has many residents.  Kismet features two bayside restaurants, along with a liquor store, food market, and pizzeria. Besides the quaint country-like atmosphere, this laid-back town offers a refuge from the over-populated beaches and towns to its east.  (Courtesy of www.fireisland.com)