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Four-Wheel-Drivers Lament; Outer Beach Opening in Jeopardy

The Suffolk County Parks Department is monitoring the outer beaches after Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the shoreline.

For thousands of Suffolk County residents, packing up their four-wheel-drive vehicle and heading to one of Suffolk County's outer beaches makes for a perfect summer day. But with Hurricane Sandy devastating some of the beaches, driving on any one of the six area outer beaches may be a thing of the past.

A decision to open the 17 miles of outer beaches is pending and most likely won't come until the winter is over, according to the Suffolk County Parks Department, which recently released its 2013 outer-beach permit fee schedule for outer beaches, including Cupsogue in Westhampton Beach; Smith Point in Mastic Beach; Charles Altenkirch in Hampton Bays; Shinnecock East in Southampton; Cedar Point in East Hampton; and Montauk County Park.

"The department is continually evaluating the conditions of all beaches as we are still in the midst of the storm season. No determinations have been made at this point about what beaches or portions thereof may or may not open," said Emily R. Lauri, the community relations director for the Suffolk County Parks Department.

According to Lauri, the parks department is continuously monitoring the beaches and taking measures to shore them up, especially beaches that were significantly damaged by Sandy, including Cupsogue and Smith Point, which were both breached during the superstorm.

The Cupsogue and Smith Point breaches were filled in with the assistance of the Army Corps of Engineers and Lori said snow fencing has been installed at Smith Point. In addition, she said 3,000 Christmas trees have been laid along the beach front to help stabilize the dune.

The trees, she said, were donated by Home Depot and area fire departments.

If any of the beaches are closed in the summer, the parks department stands to loose thousands of dollars in permit revenue.

In 2012, the parks department issued 11,500 outer beach permits, which equated to $88,000.

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Maria January 24, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Driving on beaches just leads to more errosion and shouldn't be allowed. The $88,000 lost is nothing compared to what trying to repair those beaches will be or when they are gone the shorelineof the island. The only people who may need their vehicules on the beach are fishermen and they should be allowed to get permits. It is time to start getting real about this problem.
tito January 24, 2013 at 05:28 PM
cant disagree with you more about the erosion of the beach due to vehicular use. i request you show me one study that supports your claim.
Citizens for Access Rights January 24, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Citizens for Access Rights recognizes the extreme damage done by Hurricane Sandy to Long Island beaches and particularly East Hampton Town beaches. We hope that while the county does the assessment of the damage, they assess each four wheel drive public access point individually and not as an umbrella determination for the county. CfAR hopes the county continues to provide public beach access, by all means, in the locations where the beaches physically allow it.
Doug January 24, 2013 at 11:23 PM
I also wish to see scientific evidence that driving on the beach (not dunes) along the tide line erodes the beach in any way.
MARTIN DREW January 25, 2013 at 06:17 AM
The environmental concerns of the few will end vehicle access for the many .. It's a matter of time .. Commercial permit holders will survive the access by vehicle issue ; all others will be "parked" accordingly . The Environmental agenda is in play .. If they can change the second Admendment .. They will change access to our beaches .. YOUR desires will be overlooked .. Been there ..your needs are NOT in THIER plan$..
Mary Beth January 25, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Patriot, really?
James Gagnon March 08, 2013 at 08:31 PM
I purchased my permit today and had to sign a release stating I was aware the beaches may not be open, fully or partially to 4x4 access due to Sandy erosion and/or piping plover closed nesting areas. Driving on sand in no way excellerates beach erosion as long as drivers follow the regulations. Anyone who thinks otherwise really is not in touch with reality and should not comment here. I'm hopeful the beaches begin to replenish this spring and we can continue enjoying the beauty of our beaches in a respectful manor. Pass #00071 baby!!
Dean Kresse March 09, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Growing up on long island the beach, bay, ocean, and outer beach has been a way of life and as an adult continues to be the main reason (besides family) why i stay in this great place.. praying the outer beaches will be open

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