Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island, NY
Text and by Stu Levine, Photography by Stu Levine and Rosanne Veilson
Are you into fishing, 4x4'ing AND taking nature images? Well, there is a place right here
on Long Island that can satisfy all three of those urges...Democrat Point, located by
field 3 of Robert Moses State Park.
I discovered Democrat Point this year as a hotbed for nature photography purely by
accident. My brother in-law is a hardcore surf fisherman, and said....get the permit this
year and let's go fishing. Well, I had the truck, I do like to fish, so why not? I always
noticed the little birds, but never thought...bring a camera...until my buddy Jimmy said I
should. So...Jimmy and I started hitting this area around 5pm during the summer. Boy did
we have a blast taking pictures. I should mention right here...the permit you can get for
access is for fishing....you do stand a chance to get kicked out. During the summer a
hurricane was close enough to make the surf really high. I went out to photograph the
surfers, and the marine police kicked everyone out. This was the only time they have
hassled me....just giving ya the warning.
Let's get the techs out of the
way right here. Just because you get the fishing permit, doesn't mean you're prepared to
take your truck on the beach. Aside from letting the air out of your tires (to get good
traction in the sand) You need the following:
- Tow Rope
- Jack Board
- Porta Potty
- Fishing Gear
- Air Hose or portable Air Compressor
- Tire Gauge
- Cell Phone
I usually bring my tires down to 15psi before hitting the sand. And trust me, you WILL get
stuck if you don't. While driving in the sand, you want to maintain a constant speed....I
like 20mph. Steady as she goes and you'll do just fine. If you have an airhose, they have
fill stations at the entrance, and it takes about 25 seconds per tire to get back up to
4 Wheel Drive Fishing Permit
What it gives you: Night fishing and parking privileges PLUS allows for 4x4 beach access
in designated areas at Gilgo Beach, Cedar Beach (the Sore Thumb area), Robert Moses State
Park (Democrat Point), Napeague, Hither Hills, and Mountauk Point State parks. Obtain at:
The park offices at either Robert Moses State Park, Belmont Lake State Park (park
headquarters), or Montauk Downs (golf course building).
Issued: From January 1st thru April 30th, and again from September 1st to December 31st.
Fee for the permit: $39 annually. For more information contact Belmont Lake State
Park Office (631) 667-5055
Note: Between May 1st and September 1st, you can only get ON the beach before 8am and
after 5pm. If your on before 8am, you're ok to stay there.
In a word...SAND. This is the beach. Once you get into the sand, you will pass rocks on
the left hand side. Lots of people fish there, mostly for striped bass and fluke, and you
can get really good sunset images from that spot. Careful, there is poison ivy in this
area along the left hand side fence. Once you get past that area, you go through some
dunes before you reach the beach. Stay on the path! There are many protected areas for
plants and piping plovers. Respect these areas!
Then suddenly, the beach is right there. It's a pretty cool sight from sitting in your
truck. All along the shoreline in the spring and summer you can photograph small shore
birds, such as Piping Plovers, Sanderlings, American Oystercatchers, Greater Yellowlegs,
White Rumps, the occasional Red Necked Phalarope and more! Plenty of Seagulls too. Between
the beach and the north side dunes, often times at high tide water pools up. Over the
summer, we have found these small shore birds cleaning themselves here. You can shoot from
your car (as a blind), or just park anywhere, lay down in the sand, and wait. The birds
In the back area past the beach
is an area where die hard clammers go. In this area (pictured below) is a hot bed for
different avian. One morning before sunrise at low tide, this area had at least 50 egrets,
black crown night herons and tons of Oystercatchers. Terns are feeding, which makes for
great flight shots. Bring your waders, you'll want to lay down in the mud. Unlike Jamaica
Bay, this is clean non stinky mud.
Take Southern State Parkway to Robert Moses Causeway South....cross over all the bridges
til you get to the end. Bear right at the end and head to the very end. DO NOT SPEED.
There are plenty of deer in this area. At the very end, there is an opening in the orange
and black baracades, and that is where you enter the 4x4 area. Air down and have a great