Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Status & Trends

LISS Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators

Public Access to Beaches and Waterways

Increase the number of public access points accessible by the public to the Sound and its rivers by at least 10 percent by 2035.

( Click labels in legend to hide data and adjust scale )


Public Access Sites
YearCT sitesNY sitesTotal (CT + NY sites)New Sites

Status and Trends
In order to meet this target, the number of public access points accessible by the public would need to increase by 50 sites by 2035 (more than two sites per year). Since 2014, three new public access sites to Long Island Sound have been opened, so progress toward this target is behind schedule. 

As of 2017, the Long Island Sound Study is six percent of its way toward meeting its 2035 goal of increasing the number of public access points to 554 sites.


The coast of Long Island Sound is highly developed, with many privately owned properties, so increasing public access sites may be difficult.

The accuracy of this target is dependent upon the ability to collect up-to-date information on public access sites from local partners and Long Island Sound municipalities.

How is This Target Measured?

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection  (CTDEEP) has developed a Coastal Access Guide designed to help the public explore and enjoy the Connecticut shore. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has not previously tracked this metric, but has begun to do so as part of this target.

Connecticut’s interactive guide provides information about each individual coastal access site along Connecticut’s shoreline. Therefore, the Long Island Sound Study is able to use this guide in order to track progress towards this goal.

New York did not track the number of public access points to Long Island Sound, but has begun to do so as part of this target. In order to get a baseline number of public access points in New York, a public access survey was developed and distributed to New York municipalities in the Long Island Sound watershed. The responses to the survey were analyzed and a list of public access sites for New York was generated. Currently, there are 177 access sites listed for New York.


Public access to the shore for all members of the Long Island Sound community is an important design principle for Long Island Sound Study’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

The Long Island Sound has over 580 miles of coastline and coastal view-scapes that are available to an estimated twenty million residents within 50 miles of the shoreline.  There are many state and municipal parks and properties that provide public access points to Long Island Sound for recreational enjoyment and for commercial use of its resources.

The Long Island Sound Study considers any site that is open to the public for boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, or any other outdoor activity along the Long Island Sound and  its rivers shoreline as a public access site.


Casey Personius, NYSDEC
[email protected]

David Kozak, CTDEEP
[email protected]

Mark Parker, CTDEEP 
[email protected]

Source of Data

CTDEEP, NYSDEC (see Data Notes)

Data Notes

  • The technical explanation on how the target was selected is found in Appendix B of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.
  • Connecticut data is compiled from CTDEEP’s Coastal Access Guide.  New York data is being derived from a public access survey and data from NOAA”s Marine Recreational Information Program site registry.
Show/Hide Table

Related Ecosystem Targets

Learn More

New 2017 Public Access Sites:

Subscribe to receive our e-newsletter, Sound Bytes by providing your email address. Interested in a free copy of our print newsletter, Sound Update? Then also provide your home/company/school address.