South Fairview Avenue, Montauk, NY
1,755 acres

122 miles from Manhattan via Sunrise highway, (Route 27) east to park.

Drive east toward Montauk at Napeague Bay there is an obscure road that goes nortrh off the highway; climbs the moraine; crosses the railroad tracks; hugs the eastern shore of the harbor.

A stretch along the great curve of Napeague Bay backed by high bluffs overlooking Block Island Sound. There are good views of Gardiner's Island.


With the people of East Hampton keeping their livestock on Montauk for the good grazing, homes had to be built for the keepers. Montauk was the first cattle ranch in America, long before the rest of the country.

The first house built in 1744 was located across and to the west of the entrance to Hither Hills State Park on Old Montauk Highway.

In l798 it was rebuilt, it was destroyed in a fire in 1919 and never rebuilt. The original brick foundation and a small cemetery can still be seen.

Stephen Talkhouse was a member of the Pharaoh family of the Montauk Indian trip. In his later years he lived here and led the legal battle to stay.  He would claim that he walked all the way from Montauk to Brooklyn and back in a single day.  The famous circus promoter P.T. Barnum signed him up as the pseudo-"Last King of the Montauks."

1879  --  Talkhouse dies, found dead on a trail at the age of 60.

1924  -- Hither Hills was the first state park to be established by the present Commission after its creation in 1924.

History: Napeague Dunes

Johnson, Ann F. 1985. A Guide to the Plant Communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mattituck, New York: copy right by Ann F. Johnson, Southampton, NY.

1648 -- Napeague isthmus was the easternmost portion of the purchase of the town of Easthampton from the Earl of Stirling by nine settlers from Lynn, Massachusetts.

1686 -- the settlers purchase the remainder of Montauk peninsula from the Indians, whose numbers had been greatly lessened by smallpox.

1748 -- the pine woods and salt marshes of Napeague survey for lots for sale. The lots did not sell. Salt hay cut for winter fodder. The trees cut down to make charcoal for sale to Connecticut and New York.

1845 -- a map of the area shows no U-shaped dunes parallel to the shore.

1858 -- fish factory at Napeague built at Goff Point. (Oil pressed from the fish used for gun oil as well as other products.)

1870s -- heyday of fish factories with 10 operations.

1892 -- a map of the area shows two u-shaped dunes.

1904 -- a map of the area shows the two u-shaped dunes in approximately their present positions.

1927 -- first paved road built across the isthmus. Montauk developer Carl Fisher provided some of the money.

1929 -- Great Depression limits Carl Fisher's development plans.

1933 -- the main factory remaining bought by the Smith Meal Company.

1935 -- building of the bungalow development Beach Hampton at the southwest end of the isthmus leads to ditching and draining for control of mosquitoes.

1940s -- DDT spraying leads to the disappearance of the ospreys in the area.

1968 -- last of the fish factories shut down.

1971 -- DDT spraying finally banned.

1975 -- federal government offers to pay half the cost of a new state park in the area.

1976 -- The Nature Conservancy buys the land from Smith Meal Co. and Hanson Trust Ltd.

1983 -- fish hawks start to come back to the area.

Fresh Pond; woodlands; beach

Along the eastern boundary of the park on Napeague Harbor, can be found the unique "Walking Dunes" so named because of their mobility. The shape and location of these sand dunes is constantly changing due to the wind currents peculiar to the area.

Habitats of Nappeague Dunes (Johnson, 1985):

7 plant communities: beach & dune, dune heath, pine forest, cranberry marsh, tall shrub thicket, salt marsh, brackish meadow.

Facility and Services:

Hither Hills offers Day Trippers scenic picnic areas, restrooms, and fireplaces. Sportfishing is available year round (permits are available at the camp office and at Montauk Downs State Park.) The parks beautiful ocean beach is protected by lifeguards and offers bathers the best of sun and fun. A ball field, volleyball court and children's playground offers recreation for the entire family.

Our popular 165 site campground on the ocean is equipped with concrete platforms and picnic tables at each site. A General Store concession stocks groceries and gifts and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner specials.

Park is open year-round-seven days a week, Sunrise to Sunset.


Pinus spp. (pine)
Quercus spp. (oak)

Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive)
Rosa rugosa (wrinkled rose)

Vitis sp. (grape)
Wisteria sp. (wisteria)

Cirsium horridulum (yellow thistle)
Sisyrinchium sp. (blue-eyed grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Lycopodium tristachyum (clubmoss) found by Skip Blanchard

1933 p. 153

Because of the unusual botanical and geological interest of Montauk Point, and the low excursion rate for $1.50 for the trip of 200 miles out and back now offered by the Long Island Railroad, the chairman of the field committee scheduled four excursions this season to that locality and all of them were well attended and enjoyed. In early June, club members joined with the Reptile Study Society in exploring the eastern tip, near the lighthouse and the bluffs; on July 30, the western end, in the Hither Hills State Park, was examined; and other parts were covered in trips in mid-August and early September.

On the July 30 trip, led by the writer, 28 members and guests were present. The best way to save time and reach interesting regions for botanical study, is to get bus transportation from the railroad station; a few miles east or west and walk back to the station for the return train. On this trip, we took a bus six miles west to the low part of the point, at Napeague Beach, and rambled eastward, through the oak and pine woods of the Hither Hills, out to the beach of the north shore, on Block Island Sound, and along the beach back to Montauk village.
On the inner slope of the backbeach dune, besides the usual marine flowering plants, among which Chrysopsis mariana was most common and brilliant at the time, were found some interesting lichens, rather surprising so close to the sea. There were large mats composed of Cladonia sylvatica and Boryi, and among them was found a large colony of the Iceland Moss lichen, Cetraria islandica var crispa, which is generally thought of as a northern species. Beach plums and bayberry bore small but well fruited plants of Usnea barbata, also reminiscent of the north Woods. Small colonies of Cladonia cristatella f vestita, covered the dead bases of Beach Grass.
The party then struck north, across the railroad track and among the moraine hills, veneered with dune sand, blown from Napeague Beach and Harbor, and covered with a dense, gnarled growth of white, red and black oak, with occasional holly. Our course brought us to the south side of a kettle-hole pond. Nommonuck or Fresh Pond, the eastern end of which is still open, but the western half is filling up with sand blowing from Napeague Harbor, which has shallowed the kettle so that swamp vegetation is filling it up, leaving a few small open pools here and there.

The blowing dune is reached at the west end of the kettle area, where its southern limb is moving into the depression. The dune is roughly crescentic, and most active on its south and north limbs, where trees 30 to 50 feet high are being rapidly covered and killed. There was a brisk westerly wind and grains of sand were blowing down the front of the dune, in copious quantities, visibly covering the leaves on the forest floor as we watched. On days of strong wind, the toe of the dune must advance some inches, and some of the trees had obviously been covered several feet deep around their bases during the present season.
In the center of the crescentic dune, the advance seems to be slowed up a bit and there is a little island of pitch pine and bearberry, and patches of Cladonia boryi and sylvatica, and bits of probable kettle remains, with sour gum, holly, and greenbrier, which seems to have escaped burying by the blowing sand.

After an exhilarating swim, in the warm, calm water, on the North shore, we moved along eastward, at the foot of the moraine bluffs. Large, healthy looking colonies of Ammodenia peploides grew thickly on this strand. An interesting exotic was the Chinese rose, Rosa rugosa, which has been established in many places on Montauk Point, possibly by the floating of its large hips from some cultivated stand of the species on the Connecticut or Rhode Island shore. Its large handsome flowers and immense hips, as big as small tomatoes, make it a striking plant.

Boulders of New England granite, on the top of the bluffs, proved to have an interesting flora of crustose lichens, including Rinodina oreina, which is an inhabitant of hilltops in the Highlands of the Hudson, and seemed odd a few feet above sea level; Lecanora melanaspis and cinera, and Biatorella clavus. Some of us had a pleasant visit with Mr. Edward Vail, a fisherman, and his wife, who were pleased at our interest in the lichens on their big boudlder. They are friends of Roy Latham, of Orient, who wrote an account of the flora of the Town of Southold, Long Island, which appeared in Torreya about 15 years ago.
A handsome colony of Solanum virginianum, with large lavender blue flowers, and spiny stems, was found, in the lane back to the station.

June 30, 1940
p. 182

June 12, 1977. P. 398
Richard Stalter

July 17, 1976. In P. 70 of 1977,
Richard Stalter

Overall List of Nappeague Dunes Area along with Associated Plant Community:

Johnson, Ann F. 1985. A Guide to the Plant Communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mattituck, New York: copy right by Ann F. Johnson, Southampton, NY.

Amelanchier canadensis (coastal shadbush) -- tall shrub thicket
Pinus rigida (pitch pine) -- pine forest
Prunus serotina (black cherry) -- pine forest
Quercus alba (white oak) -- pine forest
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak) -- pine forest
Quercus stellata (post oak) -- pine forest
Quercus velutina (black oak) -- pine forest

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry) -- dune heath
Aronia melanocarpa (purple chokeberry) -- tall shrub thicket
Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush) -- brackish meadow
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush) -- tall shrub thicket
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) -- dune heath
Hudsonia tomentosa (beach heather) -- dune heath
Ilex glabra (inkberry holly) -- tall shrub thicket
Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel) -- tall shrub thicket
Lyonia ligustrina (maleberry) -- tall shrub thicket
Lyonia mariana (staggerbush) -- tall shrub thicket
Myrica gale (sweetgale) -- tall shrub thicket
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry) -- dune heath; brackish meadow
Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak) -- dune heath
Prunus maritimus (beach plum) -- dune heath; brackish meadow
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea) -- tall shrub thicket
Rosa rugosa (salt spray rose) -- dune heath
Rubus flagellaris (dewberry) -- dune heath
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) -- tall shrub thicket
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) -- cranberry marsh
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry) -- dune heath
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum) -- tall shrub thicket

Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier) -- dune heath
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy) -- dune heath; brackish meadow

Agalinis purpurea (purple gerardia) -- salt marsh; brackish meadow
Anaphalis margaritacea (pearly everlasting)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla) -- pine forest
Arenaria caroliniana (Carolina sandwort) -- dune heath
Artemisia stelleriana (dusty miller) -- beach and dune
Aster dumosus (bushy aster) -- dune heath
Aster ericoides (heath aster) -- dune heath
Aster linarifolius (stiff-leaved aster) -- dune heath
Aster tenuifolius (salt marsh aster) -- salt marsh
Atriplex arenaria (beach orach) -- salt marsh
Cakile edentula (sea rocket) -- beach and dune
Calopogon pulchellus (calopogon) -- cranberry marsh
Chamaesyce polygonifolia (beach spurge) -- beach and dune
Chrysopsis falcata (sickle-leaved golden aster) -- dune heath
Chrysopsis mariana (golden aster) -- dune heath
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper) -- pine forest
Drosera filiformis (thread-leaved sundew) -- thread-leaved sundew
Drosera intermedia (spatulate-leaved sundew) -- cranberry marsh
Drosera rotundifolia (round-leaved sundew) -- cranberry marsh
Lathyrus japonicus (beach pea) -- beach and dune
Liatris borealis (blazing star) -- dune heath; brackish meadow
Limonium carolinianum (sea lavender) -- salt marsh
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) -- pine forest
Monotropa hypopithys (pinesap) -- pine forest
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) -- pine forest
Planthera cristata (crested yellow orchid) -- pine forest
Pogonia ophioglossoides (rose pogonia) -- cranberry marsh
Polygonella articulata (coastal jointweed) -- dune heath
Polygonum glaucum (seabeach knotweed) -- beach and dune
Sabatia stellaris (sea pink) -- salt marsh
Salicornia bigelovii (glasswort) -- salt marsh
Salicornia virginica (glasswort) -- salt marsh
Salsola kali (common saltwort) -- beach and dune
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) -- brackish meadow
Seriocarpus asterioides (white-topped aster) -- dune heath
Solidago sempervirens (seaside goldenrod) -- beach and dune
Spergularia maritima (sand spurrey) -- salt marsh
Suaeda maritima (seablite) -- salt marsh
Trientalis borealis (starflower) -- pine forest
Xanthium echinatum (cocklebur) -- beach and dune
Xyris torta (yellow-eyed grass) -- cranberry marsh

Juncus canadensis (Canada rush) -- cranberry marsh
Juncus gerardii (black grass) -- salt marsh
Juncus greenii (dark-headed rush) -- cranberry marsh

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) -- pine forest
Cladium mariscoides (twig rush) -- cranberry marsh
Rhynchospora capitellata (beak rush) -- cranberry marsh
Scirpus americanus (three-square bulrush) -- cranberry marsh

Deschampsia flexuosa (wavy hairgrass) -- pine forest
Distichlis spicata (salt grass) -- salt marsh
Panicum virgatum (switch grass) -- brackish meadow
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass) -- brackish meadow
Setaria geniculata (bristly foxtail grass) -- brackish meadow
Spartina alterniflora (salt marsh cordgrass) -- salt marsh
Spartina patens (salt hay cordgrass) -- salt marsh

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium inundatum (club moss) -- cranberry marsh
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern) -- cranberry marsh
Osmunda regalis (royal fern) -- cranberry marsh
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern) -- cranberry marsh

Cladina submitis (lichen) -- dune heath
Cladina subtenuis (lichen) -- dune heath
Cladonia boryi (lichen) -- dune heath
Cladonia cristatella (British soldier) -- dune heath
Polytrichum commune (haircap moss) -- pine forest; cranberry marsh
Sphagnum palustre (sphagnum moss) -- cranberry marsh

Ocean Dunes
Johnson, Ann F. 1985. A Guide to the Plant Communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mattituck, New York: copy right by Ann F. Johnson, Southampton, NY.

Amelanchier canadensis
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hudsonia tomentosa (b each heather)
Prunus maritima (beach plum)
Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry)

Arenaria caroliniana (Carolina sandwort)
Artemisia stelleriana (dusty miller)
Cakile edentula (sea rocket)
Calopogon pulchellus (calopogon)
Chamaesyce polygonifolia (beach spurge)
Drosera filiformis (thread-leaved sundew)
Lathyrus japonicus (beach pea)
Pogonia ophioglossoides (pink rose)
Solidago sempervirens (seaside goldenrod)

Ammophila breviligulata (beach dune grass)
Deschampsia flexuosa (wavy hairgrass)

Cladonia submitis (lichen)
Cladonia boryi (lichen)

Goff Point

Johnson, Ann F. 1985. A Guide to the Plant Communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mattituck, New York: copy right by Ann F. Johnson, Southampton, NY.

Prunus serotina (black cherry)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Iva frutescens (marsh elder)

Agalinis purpurea (purple gerardia)
Arenaria peploides (sandwort)
Artemisia caudata (wormwood)
Atriplex arenaria (beach orach)
Chamaesyce polygonifolia (beach spurge)
Lathyrus japonicus (beach pea)
Limonium carolinianum (sea lavender)
Plantago juncoides (seaside plantain)
Polygala cruciata (cross-leaved milkwort)
Polygonum glaucum (seabeach knotweed)
Raphanum raphanistrum (wild radish)
Sabatia stellaris (marsh pink)
Salicornia virginica (virginiana glasswort)
Salsola kali (saltwort)
Suaeda maritima (seablite)
Xanthium echinatum (cocklebur)
Xyris torta (yellow-eyed grass)

Juncus canadensis (Canada rush)
Juncus dichotomus (tan-fruited rush)
Juncus gerardii (black grass)
Juncus greenii (rush)

Cladium mariscoides (twig rush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Panicum amarum (bitter panic grass)
Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass)
Spartina alterniflora (tall cordgrass)
Spartina patens (salt hay cordgrass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Lycopodium inundatum (creeping clubmoss)

Enteromorpha sp. (Seaweed)
Fucus sp. (brown rockweed)

Old Montauk Highway

Johnson, Ann F. 1985. A Guide to the Plant Communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mattituck, New York: copy right by Ann F. Johnson, Southampton, NY.

Amelanchier canadensis (coastal shadbush)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus stellata (post oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
Hudsonia ericoides (golden heather)
Hudsonia tomentosa (beach heather)
Ilex glabra (inkberry holly)
Lyonia ligustrina (maleberry)
Lyonia mariana (staggerbush)
Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak)
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
Rubus hispidus (bristly dewberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)

Arenaria caroliniana (Carolina sandwort)
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper)
Drosera filiformis (thread-leaf sundew)
Iris prismatica (slender blue flag)
Pogonia ophioglossoides (rose pogonia)
Sisyrinchium atlanticum (blue-eyed grass)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Cladium mariscoides (twig rush)
Scirpus americanus (three square bulrush)

Spartina patens (salt hay cordgrass)
Spartina pectinata (cordgrass)

Lycopodium inundatum (creeping clubmoss)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Schizaea pusillus (curly fern)

Cladonia boryi (lichen)
Cladonia submitis (lichen)
Cladonia subtenuis (lichen)
Polytrichum commune (haircap moss)
Sphagnum palustre (sphagnum moss)