The United States Congress designated the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness (map
) in 1980 and it now has a total of 1,380 acres
All of this wilderness is located in New York
and is managed by the National Park Service.
Just miles from New York City's skyscrapers, herons stalk through grassy wetlands and startled white-tailed deer leap over thickets of catbrier and the ubiquitous poison ivy. Their home is the barrier island known as Fire Island, now protected as Fire Island National Seashore. The island, which shields Long Islanders from the raging Atlantic Ocean, attracts springtime rafts of migratory waterfowl bobbing on mainland-side waters and summer swimmers basking on the white beaches bordering the Atlantic.
Fire Island traces a thin line along the coast. Orientated east-west, this barrier island stretches 32 miles long and ranges from 200 yards to one-half mile wide. A seven-mile stretch on the eastern half has been designated wilderness. Known as the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness it extends from the wilderness visitor center, west, to Watch Hill. It includes everything from the toe of the primary dune with its patches of seaside plants, and extends across areas of pine forest with hidden groves to the sheltered marshes along the Great South Bay. The wilderness area does not include the ocean front beaches but provides for a remote and pristine experience. The area provides excellent backcountry camping opportunities and hiking along the trace of the old Burma Road, which ran the full length of what is now the wilderness. Anglers cast for bluefish, striped bass, winter flounder, among other saltwater species, and scenic views and abundant wildlife attract bird watchers, wildlife viewers, and nature lovers, alike.