Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are there any Yalies out there?

I have recently read of the plans for management of the Fire Island National Seashore: Wilderness Alternatives, on the website: LISierraClub.org and would like to express my support of the first alternative, the so-called “status quo” and here are my reasons:

As a past member of the Suffolk County Archaeology Association I attended the public hearings at the William Floyd High School on establishing the National Wilderness designation and presented their report into the hearing as a positive vote for the then proposed Fire Island National Seashore or F.I.N.S. I also worked with them in an original archaeology survey of the William Floyd Manor house, a signer of the “Declaration of Independence” and perhaps the first New Yorker. His sister was married to Ezra L’Hommedieu, notable representative and the first on our New York State Board of Regents, certifying professionals and education.

As a Brookhaven Town Parks Department employee, in 1976, I had won a summer job lottery, I traveled on the occasion of the “tar balls” sightings on the “Burma Road” and the beach, usually Town vehicles travel along the waters edge, to the excluded Bellport, NY, Brookhaven Town section, so I have some knowledge of it and that town's historic district legislation. I have also read the results found by Mr. Swanson of the NOAA, the lead researcher who investigated the wash-up, of the “tar balls” a result of pier fires in New Jersey and not moving sediments from the New York Bight, where dumping had occurred for a number of years before taken further offshore. “Penalties” Section 105 moved the 12 mile permit dumping to 106 miles offshore but a deadline for that was extended until at least December 1991.

When the William Floyd Manor property was transferred, it required some rehab before the public could safely use it. This required clearance archeology in the “impacts” (improvements) which was done by the Dept. of Interior’s Denver Service Center under the supervision of Dana Linck, archaeologist, (now “Great Chain Consulting”) and there, I was part of the crew. The interpretative work that has gone on subsequently is to be commended and this support should no way be interpreted as recommending that it be stopped, in fact I am of the opinion there should be more archaeology there, in the national interest, reconstruction, for example of the side garden, as is proposed for another Montauk Highway former manor, Rufus King Park in Jamaica, Queens, a NYC Landmark,  I’ve also worked on a number of times. An important figure in the early days of the United States, "Rufus was an author of the US Constitution, New York’s first US senator, and an early opponent of slavery." (OHNY 10/10/2010) Also the “last Federalist” and a presidential and vice-presidential candidate. He served as our first Minister to Great Britain.

That said, I stand by the recommendations of the Suffolk County Archaeology Association and that the rest of the FINS remain “forever wild” and whatever is done there, the minimum. I might also bring to your attention the possibility of ordnance, for a seaplane base for Yale University students was once nearby on the north side of the Great South Bay in the 1930s, I’ve read online. There was a gun emplacement there and large “deadly swirling holes” were described on the south side of the bay on Fire Island proper, the range, effect and surviving shells not accounted as described. Perhaps a survey should be conducted or a limiting perimeter established, as there is now at Camp Hero, the New York State Park at Montauk, NY.

Thanks for your time,

George J. Myers, Jr.
BA Anthropology
Stony Brook University

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