Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) has been a busy place since I arrived in June. There were only a few quiet days between end of the school year field trips, seasonal training activities and the rush of summer beach-goers. For this reason I have been participating in a wide variety of tasks on and off park grounds. While I love being out in the park teaching guests about all the awesome things Fire Island has to offer, I can’t help but feel like many others are missing out. Fire Island is only a short car or boat ride from Long Island but it seems that many Long Islanders haven’t visited in years. For this reason, I also appreciate the times where I can engage the local community in their own backyard.
Fire Island National Seashore has been participating in a local street festival every other week since the start of the summer. Alive After 5 was an initiative created by the local Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce to bring people into Patchogue with family friendly events, a variety of food and drink vendors as well as local bands. This works out perfectly for FINS since our headquarters, maintenance facility and Watch Hill ferry terminal are based in Patchogue. It never ceases to amaze me how many people I speak with at Alive After 5 who have never been to Fire Island and/or never realized it was part of the National Park Service.
Our Alive After 5 booth has a variety of things for people to do such as learning about local wildlife at our touch table or taking a picture in front of the lighthouse. We have even incorporated a mystery box where courageous visitors can close their eyes and stick their hand into the box to see what’s inside. My goal is to have everyone leave the booth with a new Fire Island fact. While I would love for everyone to come see FINS for themselves it isn’t always a feasible option. Having to pay for parking and/or ferry tickets can make a trip to Fire Island costly. As a way to encourage people to visit our park we have been working with our cooperating organizations and concessionaires to provide visitors with half price ferry days. Being able to promote these half price ferry days during Alive After 5 has been successful and worthwhile.
I look forward to attending the next Alive After 5 and promoting all that Fire Island National Seashore has to offer!
Kim Lamiroult – Fire Island National Seashore