FIRE ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Those who want to hit one of the areas most popular beaches may have to find somewhere else to go this weekend.
As CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, one Long Island beach is losing so much sand, the crowd has to be cut in half.
Robert Moses State Park is a beautiful beach, the problem is there’s just not enough of it.
“I’m really surprised to see how much is missing,” Victor Marchon of Dix Hills said Friday.
Marchon loves coming to Field 5 at the park with his granddaughters, but the beach is vanishing before his eyes.
“We come here last year…there was plenty of room, but now there is none,” Marchon described to CBS 2’s Murdock.
Hurricane Irene and smaller storms since have sucked the sand out to sea. Now, there’s not enough sand for everyone.
“It’s beloved because it’s a nice short walk to the beach front…unfortunately this year, it’s just too short walk,” said George Gorman, the deputy regional director for New York State Parks on Long Island.
The beach looks pretty decent at times, but at high tide, the high water mark is just 10 steps from the boardwalk.
So, Friday night the fences got filled in to block the western half of the parking lot at Field 5. That means more than 7,000 beach goers will need to secure sun, sand and surf somewhere else this Memorial Day weekend.
“It is getting smaller — too confining, too many people,” said Pam Kelly of Deer Park.
“It’s going to be crowed – what are you going to do, you can’t stop mother nature,” said Robert Flett.
Gorman said the beach has seen some erosion in April, a time when they normally see the sand replenished.
“We’re hoping the sand will build up now over the next month or two — by July 4 were hoping to reopen it fully,” Gorman said.
But, if the sand stays at sea, Gorman said they are at the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers.
“Eight to 10 years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers stopped dredging the Fire Island inlet and therefore we stopped seeing the sand replenished on the beaches,” said Gorman.
The Army Corps of Engineers told CBS 2 “We don’t have any current plans for dredging the inlet because we’re still waiting for funding from Congress.”
So, this summer beach goers at Field 5 are at the mercy of Mother Nature.