Less than one week after reopening to the public after the COVID-19 lockdown, Fire Island Lighthouse was defaced with graffiti on Monday, July 27, 2020. Animated response on our Facebook page mirrored the sadness and outrage our readership felt by this action.
Since this incident is an open and ongoing investigation by National Park Service Law enforcement, Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) could only share limited details about the crime with this publication. However FINS Superintendent Alexcy Romero did reveal that this is but one of several destructive acts to National Park Service property over a short span of time.
“There have been six acts of vandalism to Park property over a period of 10 days,” Romero shared in a telephone conversation. “Our public bathrooms have been defaced, two stop signs were tagged, and one of our vessels, even a part of the ‘find your park’ frame was sawed off. This is actually the second tagging incident to the lighthouse, another one had showed up earlier in the day.”
Romero did not discuss what any of the graffiti said, whether authorities believed the incidents were related, or if any security camera footage is being examined in connection with the incidents.
Similar abuses are taking place in national parks across the county, according to a July 22, 2020, article in Time, as they experience visitor surges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with littering, garbage dumping, and stepping off trails on foot or with off-road vehicles are some of the litany of problems described.
“We are working with Suffolk County to catch the perpetrator or perpetrators as well as revisiting how we do things,” added Romero. “If you see something report it to FINS or call 911, but don’t put yourself in an unsafe situation. People care about this landmark and don’t want to see it destroyed.”
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