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Fire Island National Seashore Institutes Online Backcountry Reservation System


You can add Fire Island National Seashore in New York to the growing list of National Park System units with an online reservation system for backcountry camping. While the seashore won't charge you per night in the backcountry, there is a $20 reservation fee.

Fire Island's reservation system is for permits to camp in the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness. A limited number of wilderness/backcountry camping permits are issued for overnight stays in the Fire Island wilderness, so reservations will provide potential campers with the assurance that space will be available when they arrive.

Group size is limited, and the maximum length of stay is three consecutive nights. Campers must be prepared to hike from one to five miles down the beach to reach the designated wilderness camping zones, and must carry in (and carry out) everything needed for this primitive camping experience.

Since the breach at Old Inlet has cut off access to the wilderness camping areas, campers staying in both the eastern camping zone and the western camping zone must now check in at Watch Hill Visitor Center, a half-hour ferry ride from Patchogue. The Watch Hill VC reopens on May 25. (Permits are not currently issued at the Wilderness Visitor Center.)

"Permits were previously issued on a first-come, first-served basis," said John Mahoney, concessions specialist and special park uses coordinator for the Seashore, "but more people have been using this resource in recent years. The new reservation system will help us better serve our visitors and better protect park resources, too."

Camping is also available at the Watch Hill Campground, operated for the Seashore by Fire Island Concessions, LLC, for campers who prefer to be closer to the restrooms, snack bar and other amenities. Reservations for this campground, accessible by passenger ferry from Patchogue or by private boat, may be made online. There is a $25 nightly fee for each campsite at the Watch Hill Campground, with a two-night minimum for Friday and Saturday night stays.

For more information about programs or camping in the Fire Island Wilderness, contact the Division of Interpretation at 631-687-4780 (weekdays) or 631-281-3010 (weekends).


It just never ends with Jarvis NPS. the Feefdom of our NPS. Hail to the Feef.

$20?? Why would it cost $20 at Fire Islands and only $4 at GSMNP? Won't they be using the same system? Sounds like they are using the term "Reservation Fee" to back door something else.

This is just a guess, could it be more and more parks are turning to "reservation" fees to off-set a lack of federal dollars? After all, it does cost to staff backcountry offices, sort through and approval reservations, and maintain backcountry trails, campsites, and latrines.

As for the $20 vs $4, the $20 fee is for processing your permit application. There is no daily/nightly fee once you're out in Fire Island's backcountry. At the Smokies, there is no general reservation fee per se, and the fees are capped at $20 per person whether you stay out five nights or seven (treks of more than 7 nights would require an additional permit, however).

Do you have to make a reservation at Fire Island - or can you not pay the fee and take the chance the site might be full? If you can't do that, then its not a "reservation" fee but a camping fee and should be named as such.

I'm going to take a wild guess here, but I'm going to say it costs more because it's New York. They will charge what the market will bear. Anyone who has ever traveled to New York knows everything is more expensive there. Not just the city but the whole state.

This is what it says on when you look at the fee policy for Fire Island:

"A $20.00 permit fee is assessed for each permit. This includes a $6.00 service fee which is required for each permit reserved."

My best guess is that the $6 service fee goes to the NRRS contractor, ReserveAmerica, as $14 is refundable if you cancel.

Sara the fact finder comes through yet again! Thanks.

Thanks Sara - so the $20 isn't a "Reservation" fee.

Say Sara, if you are up to the risk of being investigated by the DOJ for leaks, can you get us a link to the detail proposal for the Pro Challange in CONM?

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