State officials mull allowing water sports at 5 LI beaches

HECKSCHER STATE PARK - State officials have announced that they are considering allowing more water sports at five Long Island beaches, raising concerns among local fishermen. During today's hearing of the Long Island State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission, fishermen protested a plan to allow more water sports at Heckscher, Orient Beach, Wildwood, Caumsett, and Sunken Meadow state parks. Fishermen say they're permitted to use only a small portion of state beaches on the Island, and they fear these new activities may push them out.However, water sports advocates disagree. "They are safe activities, they need very little space on the beach," says Jack Riordan, of the Long Island Beach Access Group.Some residents say they're open-minded about water sports, so long as the activities don't interfere with swimmers. The commission approved the expanded sports plan, recommending to the New York State Parks Department that the new activities be allowed away from busy areas.

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