A guest blog post by Elizabeth Rogers from the National Park Service.
Most mornings you can find me sipping coffee, thumbing through email and checking Fire Island National Seashore’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages on my mobile phone. The tiny red bubbles notifying me of likes, comments, and shares make me smile. It is encouraging to know that our virtual visitors love Fire Island as much as I do.
And what is not to love? Fire Island National Seashore – one of 412 national parks in the United States – is a beautiful barrier island with a diversity of marine and terrestrial habitats, rich culture, and fascinating history. The iconic Fire Island Lighthouse, for example, was the first sign of land for many European immigrants en route to New York Harbor. Today the lighthouse tower stands 168 feet tall and shines over 20 miles out to sea. From the top of the tower you can see the Atlantic Ocean and Great South Bay, and Fire Island’s sinuous shorelines, high dunes, lush maritime forests, and charming beach cottages.
Although mobile service can be patchy on Fire Island I always have my phone with me – and for good reason. My job is to share the stories of the seashore online, in print, and in person. Images are invaluable storytelling tools and can be shared in an instant through social media (@FireIslandNPS). Whether I am with a wildlife biologist watching for threatened and endangered shorebirds on the beach, following an interpretive park ranger on a tour of the globally-rare Sunken Forest, or walking on my own in Fire Island’s seven miles of wilderness, I am always taking pictures.
I think Fire Island is picture perfect in all seasons but my favorite time of year to take photos is autumn. Summer blossoms turn to fruit and seed, leaves change color from green to garnet and gold, and thousands of birds and butterflies make a temporary home here as they rest and refuel along their southbound migration. Autumn’s amber glow amplifies the dynamic nature of the barrier island and the compelling interplay of sea and sky, making for fantastic photos.
But what is most special about Fire Island National Seashore cannot be captured on camera. Like the more than 400 national parks, monuments, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, and recreation areas across the country, Fire Island is protected for everyone and for generations to come. This year we honor these special places and look forward to the next century of national parks as we celebrate the National Park Service Centennial. Join the celebration, find your park, and share your story at www.FindYourPark.com.
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