The Appalachian Mountain Club is seeking to sell its Fire Island cabin and the 1.4-acre parcel it sits on, much to the dismay of Long Island club members who use the facility for eco-friendly outdoor recreation.
The Boston-based nonprofit notified members of the New York-North Jersey Chapter of the AMC on March 2 that it was seeking to sell the cabin, located in Atlantique, on the edge of Great South Bay.
Regional members said they have been told by the AMC that the organization’s leadership will vote on the proposed sale on Thursday. Members pay a $100 annual fee to join the club, and pay additional fees to use specific AMC facilities.
“We had no warning that this was even being considered,” said Elizabeth Marinis, a member of the club who lives in Seaford. “We had no idea. I feel like there should’ve been some kind of process to reach out to the members.”
Members of the New York-North Jersey chapter have objected to the move and started a petition to stop the sale. They said they are organizing a protest at the AMC’s headquarters the day of the vote.
“The programs and experiences available at the Fire Island Cabin are unlike those at any other AMC property,” said John Maier, a sailing instructor at the Fire Island cabin. “Selling the property will only increase development in this precious ecosystem. It would be a direct negation of the mission of the AMC to turn the property over to private hands, and it would be unconscionable to do so without an open dialogue with the members of the AMC.”
AMC president and CEO John Judge did not return calls seeking comment, and it is unclear if the organization has a buyer for the Fire Island property.
The club’s board of directors released a statement on its website saying that it has been evaluating its various facilities in an effort to determine how much each location “contributes to organizational goals and mission.”
“The Fire Island cabin raises some specific concerns, namely the residential character of the surrounding neighborhood, limited flexibility in lodging options and access, and its proximity to rising seas,” the statement said. “Given these concerns, the board is weighing AMC’s continued presence on Fire Island against the likelihood that increased investments elsewhere would allow us to engage more constituents in the outdoor recreation, learning, and conservation that lies at the heart of the AMC mission.”
The board said in the statement that it was considering expansion in Harriman State Park, located in Rockland and Orange counties, as an alternate opportunity for investment after the Fire Island cabin is sold.
The Fire Island property was donated to the AMC in 1928. Members of the New York-North Jersey branch say it is the only 100 percent volunteer-run facility that AMC operates.