The official opening of Long Island beaches for the season is accompanied by both good and bad news.
2012 is expected to be another busy season for Long Island beaches. Memorial Day marks the official opening of most Long Island waterfront parks, and as lifeguards take to their posts and concession stands open, Long Islander’s are flocking to the shores.
This week brings both good and bad news for beach-goers on Long Island. First, the good news: Main Beach in East Hampton has been rated the 3rd best beach in America, moving up on the list from 4th in 2011 and 5th in 2010. First and second ratings were awarded to Kahanamoku Beach in Hawaii, and Coronado Beach in San Diego. The ratings were assigned by Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a Dr. Beach. The professor noted the star-spotting appeals of the beach that attracts some of Hollywood’s wealthiest celebrities. However, the beach’s exclusivity, which is appreciated by celebrities who are looking for a small-town beach, keeps non-residents from enjoying the scene. 2012 non-resident parking permits are already sold out.
Now, for the bad news. A portion of one of Long Island’s most popular beaches, visited by millions of beach-goers each year, is closed this season due to erosion. Field 5 at Robert Moses State Park, its popularity due to its proximity to the Fire Island Lighthouse, a playground and large concession and bath facilities, is noticeably devoid of it’s typically wide sandy shore.
For the past two years, the park has been repairing the beach by replacing the lost sand. According to New York State Parks spokesman George Gorman, the stockpile of sand has run out, and the only solution is for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Fire Island Inlet and use that sand to replenish field five. Unfortunately, federal funding for dredging won’t be available until fiscal year 2013, and until then only half of the parking lot will be utilized to minimize visitorship in the area. All other parking fields will be working at full capacity.
This summer, whether you are visiting Long Island’s most exclusive beach, or any of the beautiful state parks, remember to be courteous and respectful to the park and your fellow visitors. Bring out any garbage you bring in, only build fires in designated areas and don’t feed the wildlife. Erosion is just one major problem plaguing Long Island beaches. Littering and encroaching on wildlife habitats further eliminates viable areas of the beach for all its visitors.
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