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K Christopher Soller Supt – Fire Island Nat Seashore
May 13, 2011 @ 12:00 am EDT
This morning’s meeting was a reminder that we have on Long Island at our disposal an excellent recreational area that is as varied as it is interesting. No matter what about living near oceans and bays attracts you, it is here on Fire Island. It is well within our reach in terms of distance and cost.
Our speaker this morning was the Superintendent of the Fire Island National Seashore K Christopher Soller. Mr. Soller has worked for the park service for over 30 years and has a real passion of the park. His knowledge of the park is extensive, and there is a lot about the park to know.
Fire Island has a long history that dates back to the early settlers and the native Indians that used this spit of land to fish and hunt whales. In the early part of the 20th century it was the playground of the glitzy New York entertainment people. Later in the 20’s and 30’s it was a landing place for rum runners who transported their wares from off-shore vessels, across the island and the Great South Bay, with the hooch coming into places like Patchogue, Sayville and Bay Shore.
Mr. Soller stuck to the modern history of Fire Island and discussed the strange arrangement of the park. This is a park that has about 4500 private homes and privately owned businesses, located in 17 communities. Fire Island is also shared by the State of New York. So managing this real estate with these various interests to deal with, is no easy task. It has three interesting visitors centers located in Sailors Haven, Watch Hill, and the Wilderness Center which is located at the end of the road coming from the main island at Shirley. In addition there is the Fire Island lighthouse adjacent to Robert Moses Park.
Among the interesting aspects of the island is the array of wildlife. And I’m not talking about Saturday nights in the villages. There are, as most people know a lot of deer, but there also red fox, piping plovers, owls, gulls, turtles, and hundreds, if not thousands of other species.
The William Floyd Estate is not on Fire Island, but it is part of the Fire Island National Seashore Park. (William Floyd was one of the New York signers of the Declaration of Independence).This property is comprised of the main house, 12 out-buildings a family graveyard 8 ½ miles of paths on 613 acres. The estate can be accessed by using the William Floyd Parkway and is before the bridge to Fire Island.
More on this local treasure can be found by contacting:
Fire Island National Seashore
120 Laurel Street
Patchogue NY 11772
Phone 631 687-4750