Wednesday, Jul 8, 2009
Park partners were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour at Fire Island National Seashore on June 30. More than 50 participants got an opportunity to see this year's completed improvements and catch some work in progress as they took in the sights and sounds at three of the Seashore's land and water-based facilities. The full-day event has been offered to park partner organizations, volunteers and local media for the past three years.
This year, Superintendent Chris Soller revised the previously water-based venue, and created a new "land and sea" format. The group took a bus to the William Floyd Estate, on mainland Long Island, for the morning portion of the tour, followed by an afternoon ferry tour to Sailors Haven and Watch Hill.
On the bus, Cultural Resources Manager Steven A. Czarniecki provided an overview to the home of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. At the Estate, the group was able to meet park staff and get a brief tour through the 25-room historic home and its outbuildings. A major highlight was seeing the preservation crew at work. Preservation Specialist Dennis Mott, Maintenance Worker Vic Arnemann (both in photo above), and Carpenter Jack Falvey and demonstrated newly gained skills of historic plaster application in the structure's entryway.
At the Sailors Haven Ferry Terminal in Sayville, the group was able to join the unveiling of a new wayside exhibit. The panels were funded by the Friends of Fire Island National Seashore through a memorial donation to Dr. Vincent Lynch, the founding president of the group. Vinnie's widow Emelia also attended the ceremony, joined by Judy Stein, whose husband was the founder of Sayville Ferry Service. Both families were recognized for their contributions to the park.
On Fire Island, the group toured two recreational sites, seeing the latest improvements made by park staff and Fire Island Concessions employees. Park Interpreter Steve Henderson gave brief tours of each nature trail, including a short jaunt into the Sunken Forest. Pam Boyle, the president of Friends of Watch Hill, showed off some of her organization's latest contributions to the park.
With the park management team on hand to answer questions and engage in other conversations, many ideas were generated by the group of partners to provide additional support for the park. The current president of the Friends of Fire Island National Seashore, Dr. Dave Hensen, wasted no time submitting a new to-do list for consideration.
Support for the tour was provided by Friends of FINS and other partners.