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The Otis Pike Wilderness Area in the Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) contains a rich variety of flora and fauna, a large expanse of salt marsh, and the highest ocean fronting dunes on the Atlantic Coast. It is the only Federal Wilderness Area in New York State and the smallest managed by the Park Service. Remarkably, virtually the entire area is less than 60 miles from Times Square. The National Park Service has recently begun the process of revising its General Management Plan (GMP) for the Seashore. Part of the process will include planning for the Wilderness Area. The period for public scoping comments is open until January 12, 2007, and we are urging members to send comments based on some of the following issues and concerns:
- The General Management Plan (GMP) now being developed should include a full revision of the Wilderness Management Plan (WMP). Otherwise, FINS should keep the existing plan in place until a full WMP can be developed.
- The wilderness area has been soundly managed since its creation in 1980. As FINS creates a new GMP and WMP, it must continue its management of the area in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Wilderness Act, with the primary goal of preserving the wilderness character of the area.
- Because of the tiny size of the area- a mere 1400 acres- any activity taking place in it or any installation placed in it, however small, will have a much greater impact on the character of the area than it would in a larger wilderness.
- With the ocean on one side and the bay on the other, it is virtually impossible to get lost in the area. For that reason, no permanent signs have been necessary in the past, and are not needed now.
Over the years, FINS has been gradually removing evidence of previous human activity in the area, but scattered minor objects— building debris, utility markers, etc.— still remain. FINS should give priority to removing as many of these as possible.
Send your comments to: Fire Island National Seashore, 120 Laurel St. Patchogue, NY 11772 Att: Planning Team, or by e-mail at: fire_island_gmp.nps.gov
and send copies to: Senator Charles Schumer 145 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747 fax: (631) 753-0997 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton 155 Pinelawn Road. Melville, NY 11747, fax: (631) 249-2847
If you live in his district: Congressman Tim Bishop 3680 Route 112 Coram, NY 11727, fax: (631) 696-452 We will keep you posted on further developments in the GMP revision process.