The Fire Island National Seashore

A History

By Lee E. Koppelman & Seth Forman

Subjects: Environmental Studies
Paperback : 9780791473429, 220 pages, February 2008
Hardcover : 9780791473412, 220 pages, February 2008

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
1. Fire Island—Historical Background

Brief Overview of Fire Island History 

2. Fire Island Erosion: Shifting Sands and Shoreline of a Barrier Island

Causes of Erosion
Erosion Control—A Sorry Saga
Erosion Control Efforts
USCE Reformulation Plan
The New York Coastal Partnership
Hierarchy of Needs—Based on Costs

3. The Creation of the Fire Island National Seashore

Evolution of National Park Service
Parks on Fire Island
The Moses Road Proposal
The Move for a National Seashore
The Legislative Process
General William Floyd

4. Historic and Cultural Resources

Threatened, Endangered, and Other Species

5. Seashore Management

The Formative Years: Creation of the Wilderness Area and Its Conflicts, 1964-1978
Management Issues
Draft Master Plan of 1975
Class I--Natural Zone
Class II--Historic Zone
Class III--Park Development Zone
Class IV--Special Use Zones
Land Use
The Squatters Controversy
Seashore Zoning
Mainland Terminal and Transportation
Mosquito and Vector Control
Off-Road Vehicle Management
Personal Watercraft
Management and Organizational Structure of the Seashore

Appendix A. Fire Island Superintendents
Appendix B. Timeline 1964 to present

A comprehensive account of the history of the Fire Island National Seashore since its creation in 1964.


This book provides a comprehensive account of the establishment of the Fire Island National Seashore and its management from 1964 to the present. Located off of Long Island's south shore, Fire Island is one of only five national seashores in the national parks system. Focusing on the major policy issues generated during the past forty years, Lee E. Koppelman and Seth Forman explore the tensions between local and national interests as well as the desire to conserve resources unimpaired for the benefit and use of future generations. The book includes a brief history of the island before its induction into the national parks system; a discussion of the battle to control erosion; the conflict between preservation and public access; the establishment and maintenance of many historical and cultural resources, including the William Floyd Estate, the Fire Island Lighthouse, Sailor's Haven/Sunken Forest, and High Dune Wilderness Area; and the Seashore's changing management and organizational structure.

At Stony Brook University, the State University of New York, Lee E. Koppelman is Leading Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Regional Planning Studies, and Seth Forman is Research Associate Professor of Political Science. Koppelman is the coauthor of numerous papers and books on Long Island's waste management, urban planning and design criteria, and government finance.


"The authors elucidate the complex issues that arise where people and nature intersect in a coastal setting … The book has a very good time line of events and a listing of the NPS Directors of FINS—a nice tribute to their service." — Long Island History Journal

"As the authors explain the often competing objectives of the National Park Service and Fire Island homeowners, the complex issue of zoning, and the role of political leaders on the municipal, state, and federal levels, they bring forth issues of great importance." — Marilyn E. Weigold, author of The Long Island Sound: A History of Its People, Places, and Environment