The Beach belongs to everyone

We want Long Island to be a place where this, and the next generation can surf, windsurf, sail, swim, sunbathe, fish, kayak or just soak in Long Island's Natural Beauty.

Long Island is losing its waterfront and wet lands to private homes at an alarming pace. Beach Access is disappearing right along with it. In addition, many NYS laws concerning Beach Access are archaic at best.

It is not LIBAG's intent to take away any existing rights of NYS Beach users. Only to add to them.

We are fortunate, to be working with the Long Island Regional State Parks Commission towards solutions that would allow all beach user groups equal access to all NYS Parks Beaches, with out excluding or taking away any access rights from any user groups.

The Long Island Beach Access Group is most commonly known for its four core programs;

1- The Beach Access program whose research and advocacy programs support the maintenance and expansion of access to those remote beach locations on Long Island for all users.

2- Also, our Beach Preservation program works to sponsor, participate and encourage those activities that ensure the healthy maintenance of our beaches and barrier islands, such as beach grass plantings.

3- Our Beach Clean-up program works to sponsor, participate and encourage continual beach clean-ups in conjunction with the America Littoral Society. This includes the adoption of Gilgo Beach.

4- But also, Long Island Beach Access Group is known for our Beach Actions program which seeks to encourage and reward proper behavior when enjoying the beaches. This includes following the official rules and regulations of each of the beaches and areas that provide access to those beaches, promoting the “Carry in, Carry out more” philosophy, and in a more informal fashion, instructing people on safe enjoyment of our natural resources.

Remember: it is not LIBAG's intent to take away any existing rights of NYS Beach users. Only to add to them.

LIBAG is honored to work with New York State Park officials, as we continue to connect the Parks to the People.

We look forward to our continued work with New York State officials in order to implement solutions that encourage more diverse use of NYS’s Beaches.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

I Love My Park Day

Park Lovers Address Pollution at Hempstead Lake In honor of "I Love My Park Day" volunteers remove trash from state park in West Hempstead-Rockville Centre. By Tara Conry | May 9, 2012 "I Love My Park Day" brought some much-needed TLC to Hempstead Lake State Park.
From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 5, volunteers toiled away on the shores of the park's Northwest Pond and some fisherman, clad in knee-high rubber boots, even headed into the water, to remove as much trash as they could.
The community clean-up event at the 775-acre state park, which straddles West Hempstead and Rockville Centre, was hosted by the newly formed non-profit organization, Hempstead Lake State Park Alliance.
"I've been coming here for about 10 years and it's a great park, it's huge but it doesn't get the recognition it deserves," says Chris Carter, president of the HLSPA.
As a lifelong West Hempstead, Carter, 27, says he and his friends have wanted to do something like this for years to bring more awareness to what the park has to offer and address its severe pollution problem. Inspired by the good turnout at the clean-up event that was held at the park in November, which was coordinated by Alex Jacobson, owner
of the nearby Lakewood Stables, and the Parks Department, Carter, along with fellow West Hempsteaders Joel Ruiz and Adia Bethel, and Teresa Reid, of Floral Park, decided to form the non-profit.
"We wanted to get more people involved," Carter said. "Now, we're just doing some clean-ups and trying to get the word out."
For now, the group is focused on coordinating more clean-up events and "getting the word out," but going forward, he says, they'd like to team up with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, community organizations, and schools, including science clubs and sports teams.
"If all goes well we can get some more art events, craft fairs, kayaking on the lake ... bird watching, just to get people more immersed in nature right in their own backyard," he says.
Based on enthusiastic feedback from the community so far, Carter is optimistic adding, "Hopefully, we're the catalyst that can start bringing people down here more."
For Saturday's clean-up project, HLSPA partnered up with park manager Bill Brown, who supplied the pickers, garbage bags and vehicles and manpower to haul away the trash.
"We're looking for all the help we can get from the community and volunteers," Brown told Patch. He also explained what's causing the pollution problem.
"It's street run-off from local villages that ... end up here in North East Pond and North West Pond," he said. "It's stuff that people throw out of their cars, bottle caps..."
All the trash discarded along Peninsula Boulevard for instance runs off into a creek that flows past Hempstead High School and into the park's two north ponds, Hempstead Lake and then eventually the South Pond and the bay.
"Ideally, if we can get some sort of education about where the pollution goes, that would be great long term," Brown says. "Right now, we're just trying to clean it up."
Despite Saturday's dreary weather, roughly 50 volunteers pitched throughout the day. They came from the immediate area, but also from Hempstead, Glen Head, East Meadow, Bay Shore and Wantagh.
"I do the Summer Series, where you run in the parks, and this was a way for me to help clean up one of the parks I run in," said Ellen Caravella, who along with her young daughter, Emily, spent the morning picking up trash along the shore of the pond.
Osman Canales, of Hempstead, came down with fellow members of the Long Island Civic Civic Participation Project, after finding out about the event online.
Seven year-old John, of East Meadow, was one of the youngest volunteers but was the most eager to get his hands dirty. His aunt and uncle, Glen Head residents Kevin and Michelle, brought him to the park, but once there, he wanted to take charge and even goaded them to help him retrieve a discarded car tire that was buried under some fallen branches. He then hauled it away himself.
His motivation was simple. "I wanted to help clean," he says.
Many of the residents recognized that the state parks are working with small budgets nowadays and were willing to lend a hand to offset this.
"It's either we pay for it in taxes or we come out every now and then," Jack Riordan, a fisherman from Bay Shore, said as he stood inside the pond fishing out trash. "I don't mind. I could use the exercise."
By the end of the day, the volunteers had removed tons of garbage from the area, but they weren't the only ones showing their love of state parks that day. Projects to address pollution and other environmental issues were also held at Caumsett, Hecksher and Bethpage state parks on Long Island, and others throughout the region.
To learn more about the Hempstead Lake State Park Alliance and how you can get involved, visit the group's Web site and Facebook page.
Please visit the Westhampton patch website for photos of those who participated, including  our own Jack Riordan.