A free public WiFi network recently launched at Robert Moses State Park, making it easier for visitors to access the Internet from the popular beach on the western tip of Fire Island.
The network, titled Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi™, has been installed—at no expense to taxpayers—at Fields 2, 3, 4 and 5 as a part of a partnership between Toyota Motors, the American Park Network and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, officials announced Tuesday.
“Whether opting to use Wi-Fi to share real-time photos of friends and family exploring our parks, or accessing apps and maps, having access to this technology is another way to draw people to spend precious leisure time at our parks,” said Rose Harvey, the state parks commissioner.
The announcement came about a year after the same WiFi network launched at Jones Beach State Park. Over the past year, the partnership has also installed Wi-Fi networks at Niagara Falls, Saratoga Spa and East River State Park.
Officials are hopeful that the improved Internet availability will draw more patrons to the beach, as well as other state parks this summer.
The Wi-Fi program has been expanded as part of Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places” program. Officials are hopeful that this program will not only enhance visitors’ experiences by improving Internet access at the beach, but encourage them to learn about upcoming events, promote volunteerism, and support state park-related groups.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he expects the initiative “will attract more visitors to the great outdoors—boosting tourism and growing the Long Island economy.”
Even though signs announcing the new network were only installed within the past week, the network had already seen hundreds of users since it was activated on July 10. This past Sunday, more than 2,000 users were on the network, according to the state parks department.
While officials acknowledge that some people may be annoyed by the distraction that Internet access at the beach may cause, they feel that most, particularly younger generations, will view the new service favorably.
Visitors seeking to log on to the Wi-Fi select “Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi™” under available Wi-Fi networks on their devices, and then accept the standard terms and conditions.
Jones Beach is not the only oceanfront park on LI that has free WiFi. All Suffolk County parks, including Smith Point in Shirley and Cupsogue in Westhampton, also provide the free service. Babylon town beaches such as Gilgo, Cedar and Overlook beaches do the same.