Officials: Fire Island back in business this weekend

At a beach on Fire Island with nude,

At a beach on Fire Island with nude, unidentified sun bathers. (April 16, 2002) Photo Credit: Daniel Goodrich

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About six months after Sandy slammed Fire Island, the beaches, marinas and tourist attractions on the barrier island are reopening, with marinas at Watch Hill and Sailor's Haven slated for relaunch Friday, officials said.

Fire Island Concessions LLC, which operates both marinas, is expected to reopen them, though electricity had not been restored to the slips at the marinas as of Thursday, Fire Island National Seashore spokeswoman Paula Valentine said.

"There's electric out there, but boats may not have electrical capability, and at Sailor's Haven Marina, only the west side of the marina has slips available," she said.

Local politicians and Fire Island business owners plan a news conference on Ocean Beach Friday to announce the start of the summer season.

Valentine said electricity has also not been restored to facilities at Barrett Beach and Talisman Beach. And Barrett Beach this summer is expected to be without lifeguards because of the effects of federal cutbacks through the sequester, Valentine said.

The Watch Hill Campground is expected to reopen Saturday; Sayville Ferry Service should resume from Sayville to Sailors Haven/Sunken Forest on Monday; and Davis Park Ferry Co. is slated to begin service from Patchogue to Watch Hill on May 18, though both ferries plan to operate on limited schedules until June 22.

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Camping in the Fire Island wilderness area is scheduled to begin May 25, according to a FINS news release, but because of the Sandy-caused breach at Old Inlet, access to the wilderness area will be only through Watch Hill.

The Fire Island Lighthouse is expected to reopen by Memorial Day weekend, according to the news release. But because Sandy destroyed many of the boardwalks leading to the lighthouse from Robert Moses Field 5, visitors may have to trek down the beach on foot.

"As of right now, everything will be open, but maybe not entirely accessible initially because there will still be work taking place during the summer and maybe even beyond after contracts are implemented," Valentine said.

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