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Nearly car-free Fire Island to consider allowing one car per household

Fire Island
Randy Levine
Fire Island

The National Park Service will consider a proposal that would create new driving regulations for the Fire Island National Seashore.

The plan would grant unlimited permits to full-time Fire Island residents who want to drive on the island, but only one vehicle would be allowed per household. The current regulations cap the number of permits for full-timers at 145, and don’t allow any residents to drive during the summer.

When the National Seashore was created, it was mandated Fire Island be roadless to keep the landscape pristine.

“It’s a jewel. It’s a roadless island with an amazing natural beauty,” said Suzy Goldhirsh, president of the Fire Island Association.

She said the current waitlist for driving permits is long. But, the general consensus from residents is that they want a balance — allow for some more cars, but not an unlimited amount.

“To inundate it with more cars, more trucks, more vehicles because people want permits and want to drive… I don’t think it’s the right balance,” Goldhirsh said.

The proposal would also allow full-time residents only two roundtrips through the east or west gate a day. The park service said this will be more effective than limiting permits.

A decision is expected late 2023 or early 2024.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.