The Impact of Weather

Working at a national park typically keeps you busy. There’s always something to do: a program to plan for, a visitor center to be staffed, a meeting or training to attend – and that’s just from an interpretive staff member’s perspective.

This past weekend was quite rainy, which meant that visitor center traffic was low for a “typical” weekend. Weather has a huge impact on what visitors can do, and each site is affected differently. It wasn’t completely deserted out in the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness. It seems like a forecast for inclement weather didn’t keep the fisherman at bay. Crossing the bridge to Fire Island National Seashore (FIIS), I saw several fishermen waist deep in the bay, fishing rods in hand. The county park lifeguards on duty kept up with their daily runs down the beach. Every now and then a visitor would pop into the visitor center looking for something to do, or to ask more about the seashore. I personally feel like an overcast day is the best day for a beach hike, since you don’t sweat as much during the three-mile round trip hike. Nonetheless, you should still wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water!

Just a short drive from the Wilderness Visitor Center is the William Floyd Estate. The guided house tours are a perfect way to spend the day. At the moment the Estate is celebrating its 300th year anniversary of being purchased by the National Park Service. There is a new exhibit on display called “A Celebration of 300 Years” which can be viewed during a guided tour.

Getting to and from FIIS can become complicated on rainy days because the ferries run on a rain schedule, running two trips a day instead of a trip every 1-2 hours. As a result, most of the visitors we see are the people who ride over with us on the ferry. Every now and then residents from the community stop by and visit. Rainy days are perfect if you want a quieter experience with your park. Less foot traffic could even mean more wildlife sightings. It also means you have a better chance of getting to know a park ranger.

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