Push to Preserve Plum Island Gets Boost

Plum Island Lighthouse
Plum Island Lighthouse

Preservationists are proposing that Plum Island be designated as a national monument — culturally significant historic sites deemed protected areas, managed by the federal government — to effectively turn it into a park preserve.

The Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) is asking Gov. Kathy Hochul to formally request President Joe Biden make the declaration preserving the 822-acre island off the tip of Orient Point. 

“Preserving Plum Island represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to permanently protect a significant natural and historic resource sitting right off our eastern shore,” stated LIRPC Chairman John Cameron, 

Advocates previously nixed a federal plan to auction off the land after the Plum Island Animal Disease Center closed, which is expected to happen next year so it can be replaced by a facility in Kansas.

Ninety percent of the island is undeveloped land that is home to federally threatened piping plovers and a migratory stop for hundreds of other bird species. It is also home to nationally significant historic buildings, including the Plum Island Lighthouse built in 1869 and the circa 1897 Fort Terry army barracks and weapons batteries that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

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