by FIN |

By Cathy Gladhill Shisler

Being in the community of Davis Park, everyone knows Watch Hill. You either are taking your morning run through the natural trails, or just strolling along taking in the scenery. However some people don’t know what it is all about. Watch Hill is the largest and most extensive of the Fire Island National Seashore visitor facilities, and is more of a rugged retreat than its counterpart FINS visitor centers. East of Davis Park, Watch Hill is similar to Davis Park – one restaurant with a tiki-bar, as well as snack bar and general store that is very similar to our Harbor Store selling sweatshirts and souvenirs. There is also a marina with 140 slips with water and electric as well as additional 29 day-slips. Of course there is plenty of beach; you can walk there from Davis or take the Watch Hill ferry out of Patchogue.

Watch Hill first opened to the public in 1967, and gradually improved over the years. Watch Hill is also the gateway to Otis Pike Wilderness Area, the only federal wilderness area in New York State and one of the last tracts of undeveloped barrier beach on the northeast coast. Established by the act of U.S Representative Otis Grey Pike, a champion of the cause to establish Fire Island National Seashore. Watch Hill is known for its campground, but you will not see me there. Love my beach house, but I’m not much of a camper! However if camping is your thing, they have 26 sand sites in a protected area behind the dune and a short walk to the ocean. The sites have running water, picnic tables, grills, showers, and bathrooms. There are beautiful nature trails that are great for running, walking, and bird watching.
You can also take a ranger-guided canoe or kayak trip of the salt marsh. Fun for the whole family, paddles and life jackets are provided. The rangers share their experiences and information on the wildlife, like how there are 330 species of birds particularly during spring and fall migrations. More than 60 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians live on Fire Island National Seashore. When you visit, keep your eye out for the red fox, deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, long tailed weasels, tiny masked shrews, black racer snakes, giant leather back sea turtles and at night the shy Fowler’s toad. Take this list on your trip to Watch Hill and see how many of these animals you can spot. You can also visit the little museum, which has activities on weekends like the guided tour. Fire Island National Seashore extends 1,000 feet into the ocean, and 4,000 feet into Great South Bay. It is home to a variety of fish, sea stars, clams and oysters; catch your dinner to cook over your campfire or have a raw bar.

What’s new in the Davis Park Community? On June 22, there will be a brush-chipping event. Organized by the DPA, this one-day event is to help homeowners, and prevent piles of brush that have accumulated in the community. They ask homeowners to pile up brush at the corners of their property, which will then be collected and chipped. The plan is to spread chips in the recreation area and the rest will be offered to the homeowners as mulch.

The post office will open on June 25. On Tuesday, Linda is offering her “post card experience” aimed at teaching kids how to properly address a post card. They select or create an original post card, address it, place the postage, and mail it. They can also bring their own photo, which is then converted to a postcard. In addition she will email a picture to the parent or caretaker with the child wearing a postal uniform, all for $3. Love it, Linda!

On Saturday, June 27, from 1-4 p.m., at the Casino Café, come join a great fundraiser for CRAB (Community Recreation, Arts and Beautification, Inc.) Enjoy beer, wine, and spirit tasting, appetizers, raffles and live music from the T-Birds. The cost is $50 a person and is a tax-deductible event. Tickets are available from all CRAB and DPA board members. Please go buy your ticket and help beautify the community.

Annual blood pressure screenings at the Bedside Manor are offered on Thursdays, July 9, July 23, Aug. 6, and Aug. 20, at 5 p.m. Please plan to attend one of these dates.

Got news for Cathy’s column? Email her at davispark@fireisland-news.com.

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