Fire Island – Wilderness


March 22 has been designated as World Water Day. The date is intended to raise public awareness about water and climate change – and how the two are inextricably linked.

This got me thinking about the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness Area, which is part of Fire Island National Seashore. It is deemed to be a “wilderness” because no human “improvements” – such as boardwalks, piers, walking paths, rest areas, etc. – can be introduced.

The High Dune ecosystem includes a salt marsh, which is a critical habitat for fish, mollusks, and crustaceans.

It is remarkable to think that one can travel 50 miles east of New York City and be in a seven mile stretch of barrier islands where nature is allowed to take its course without intervention.

Camping is allowed in the High Dune. But to protect its wilderness status, there are no facilities. So campers must bring their own drinking water and all necessary supplies. No open fires are permitted and all garbage must be carried out.

I had arrived at this part of the High Dune before dawn. The colors of the sand, water, and sky changed dramatically as the sun gradually rose. Indeed, the wilderness landscape is in a constant state of change as natural forces sculpt the elements into new and nuanced forms.

By late morning, I was walking toward a marsh area and happened to look behind me. As soon as I saw the serpentine shoreline suggesting a yin and yang, I knew I had to work fast to create a photograph of a fleeting moment in time.

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Published by Xiomáro

Nationally exhibited artist, photographer, speaker, teacher, and curator. Author of "Weir Farm National Historic Site" (Arcadia Publishing).

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