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Long Island state parks permits: What you need to know for 2019

Most fishing and stargazing permits will go on sale Tuesday. Here are the costs, requirements, restrictions and where to go.

A man leaves the beach after surf fishing

A man leaves the beach after surf fishing at sunset at Robert Moses State Park on Nov. 2, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Permits needed to enjoy some of the many activities state parks offer — from night sport fishing and stargazing to four-wheel driving for surfing and fishing — will start being sold Tuesday for the 2019 season.

All fishing and stargazing permits are sold only from Jan. 1 to March 31, and from the Tuesday after Labor Day to Dec. 31, the state parks department says. At the parks department's Babylon headquarters and Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, permit sales begin one day later, on Wednesday. 

"Overall attendance at Long Island State Parks continues to increase and remain strong," said George Gorman, state parks deputy regional director for Long Island, by email. "The special use permits, especially the four-wheel-drive access permits for Long Island State Park beaches have increased dramatically as more and more Long Islanders utilize their four-wheel-drive vehicles for fishing and surfing."

New York has more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, totaling nearly 350,000 acres. Last year, 71.5 million people visited them, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. That is a 23 percent increase since 2011 when Cuomo was sworn in  and began making up for years of neglect, with a goal of investing $900 million of public and private funds by 2020.

In 2017, Long Island accounted for almost half of the 1.6 million in gains from the six regions that saw visitors go up. 

For recreational fishing, the free state Department of Environmental Conservation registration, valid for one year, is required. Registrations are offered online, over the telephone or from a license issuing agent. People fishing from licensed party or charterboats do not need to register. The registration does not cover tuna and shark fishing; shellfishing has different requirements.

The 2019 annual Empire Pass, which offers unlimited daily access by vehicle to most state parks and DEC sites, will go on sale April 1. Yearlong, multiyear and lifetime passes are sold online and at state parks and regional offices.

Here are the details about specific parks and permits. Various other exceptions apply. For more information, visit parks.ny.gov.

Night sport fishing

Cost: $35 for New Yorkers, $60 for out-of-staters. 

Required: Driver's license, vehicle registration and DEC marine registry.

Valid: After sunset from April 1 to Dec. 31, unless otherwise noted. 

After sunset parking at these locations:

  • Captree: Main field, Overlook and Captree Drawbridge (24-hour access, north side only).
  • Jones Beach: Fields 6 and 10, West End 2, West End Boat Basin, West End Dock Area (24-hour access) and Green Island (24-hour access).
  • Hither Hills: Not valid from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • Montauk Point: Lower parking lot.
  • Robert Moses: Field 2 from April 1 to Dec. 31 (24-hour access), Field 3 from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31 (24-hour access), Field 4 from April 1 to June 23 (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) and from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31 (24-hour access).
  • Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow: Fields 1 and 3 (24-hour access).
  • Wildwood: Main Field.

Sold at: Babylon headquarters, Jones Beach, Montauk Downs, Robert Moses, Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow and Wildwood

Four-wheel-drive beach vehicle fishing permit

Cost: $80 for New Yorkers, $125 for out-of-staters.

Required: Driver's license, vehicle registry and marine registry.

Valid: Year-round at Hither Hills, Montauk Point and Napeague. From April 1 to Dec. 31 at Robert Moses (Democrat Point and Sore Thumb), hours vary.

Sold at: Babylon headquarters, Jones Beach, Montauk Downs, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow.

Four-wheel-drive beach vehicle surfing/windsurfing permit 

Cost: $80 for New Yorkers; $125 for out-of-staters.

Required: Vehicle registration and driver’s license.

Valid: During daylight at these locations.

  • Hither Hills and Napeague: Year-round.
  • Montauk Point: Jan. 1 to March 31.
  • Robert Moses: Year-round at Democrat Point, hours vary. From Sept. 15 to Dec. 31 at Fields 3 and 4.

Sold at: Babylon headquarters, Montauk Downs and Robert Moses.

Camp Hero fishing permit

Cost: $40 for New Yorkers, $75 for out-of-staters.

Required: Driver’s license, vehicle registration and marine registry. 

Valid: After sunset from April 1 to Dec. 31.

Sold at: Babylon headquarters and Montauk Downs.

Caumsett fishing permit

Cost: $40 for New Yorkers, $75 for out-of-staters.

Required: Driver's license, vehicle registration and marine registry.

Valid: April 1 to Dec. 31.

Sold at: Babylon headquarters and Caumsett.

Note: Only 500 permits are sold. 

Stargazing permit

Cost: $35 for New Yorkers, $60 for out-of-staters.

Required: Driver's license and vehicle registration.

Valid: Year-round at these locations.

  • Jones Beach: West End 2 and Field 6.
  • Hither Hills: Except July & August.
  • Montauk Point: Upper Parking Lot.
  • Robert Moses: Field 2.
  • Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow: Field 1 & Field 3.
  • Wildwood: Main Parking Lot.

Sold at: Babylon headquarters, Jones Beach, Montauk Downs, Robert Moses, Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow and Wildwood.

Regional diving permit

Cost: $80 for New Yorkers, $125 for out-of-staters.

Required: Diver's certification card and vehicle registration.

Valid: April 1 to Dec. 31 at these locations.

  • Caumsett: Fisherman’s parking lot (24-hour access).
  • Jones Beach: Field 10 East End (24-hour access).
  • Orient Beach: 8 a.m. to sunset.
  • Robert Moses: Democrat Point (hours vary, four-wheel drive needed).

Sold at: Babylon headquarters.

Metal detector permit 

Cost: $40

How to request: Send a letter (available at parks.ny.gov), including your name, address and phone number, with payment and a business size self-addressed stamped envelope to:

  • Metal Detector Permit, P.O. Box 247, Babylon, NY 11702

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