Gateway National Recreation Area

Gateway National Recreation Area


Centennial Initiative 2016

Centennial Vision

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, America invites the world to discover the meaning of national parks to their lives and inspires people to both experience and become devoted to these special places.

On August 25, 2006 - the 90th anniversary of the National Park Service - Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne launched the National Park Centennial Initiative to prepare national parks for another century of conservation, preservation and enjoyment. Since then the National Park Service asked citizens, park partners, experts and other stakeholders what they envisioned for a second century of national parks.

A nationwide series of more than 40 listening sessions produced more than 6,000 comments that helped to shape five centennial goals. The goals and vision were presented to President Bush and to the American people on May 31st in a report called The Future of America's National Parks.

Every national park staff took their lead from this report and created local centennial strategies to describe their vision and desired accomplishments by 2016. This is just the first year, and there are many great things to come as the National Park Service prepares to celebrate 100 years!

Join Our Friends

Friends of Gateway
Friends of Gateway (FoG) is dedicated to protecting, improving and enhancing public awareness of, and access to the New York metropolitan area's unique National Recreation Area. FoG works to ensure the preservation of Gateway's significant natural and historic areas, while encouraging the addition of appropriate recreational, educational and cultural programs and facilities to serve an urban population that is woefully under-served in terms of open space opportunities.

Sandy Hook Foundation

The Sandy Hook Foundation is the official friends group of the National Park Service (NPS) at the Sandy Hook Unit, Gateway National Recreation Area.

Established in 1989, the Foundation's goal is to nurture and protect all of Sandy Hook including Fort Hancock, a National Historic Landmark site, by supporting programs and projects of environmental, historic, and cultural importance. The Sandy Hook Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization that relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporations, as well as dedicated volunteers, to reach its goals.


Supporting Gateway National Recreation Area

Individuals and groups can help support their parks by contributing in many ways.

Gateway NRA is privileged to have two friends groups, Friends of Gateway and the Sandy Hook Foundation.

Volunteering at Gateway NRA is a fun and rewarding way to spend a day.


The Volunteer in Park Program

Volunteering is just one way that people can get involved with their national parks. Volunteers serve many important roles throughout Gateway. They staff information desks, give public tours, monitor and conserve the park's diverse natural and cultural resources, help design exhibits and brochures, and rehabilitate historic aircraft, among other duties. Their support of the park makes it the wonderful place that it is today.

How Do I Sign Up?

Call 718-354-4564 for information on current volunteer opportunities throughout Gateway. 

For more information on volunteer opportunities throughout Gateway, go to the links below:

Student Conservation Association

Students in high school and college are encouraged to participate in service internships and volunteer opportunities with the National Park Service.

Volunteering at Sandy Hook

Volunteers working with the public at Sandy Hook staff the Visitor Center, Fort Hancock Museum, History House, Battery Potter, the Nike Radar Site, and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. Others contribute by monitoring the piping plover, cleaning the beaches, putting up fences and painting historic structures. Internship opportunities are also available for college students. Please call 732-872-5959 to learn more.

Volunteering at Jamaica Bay

Gateway National Recreation Area is actively seeking people interested in joining the Volunteer In Parks program. Gateway's Jamaica Bay Unit offers prospective volunteers a wide variety of opportunities for service. These include assisting with public and education programming, sailing and boating programs, visitor center operations, natural resource management, historic aircraft restoration, trail maintenance, and many others.


Gateway NRA has a very diverse ecosystem. From ocean beaches to maritime forests, freshwater ponds, and salt water marshes the park contains many environments that contain a wide variety of wildlife. Over 300 species of birds use the park as a stop over during spring and fall migration.

Jamaica Bay Institute

Gateway National Recreation Area is committed to focusing energy and resources to conserve the health and diversity of our ecosystem. The Jamaica Bay Institute was created as a testament to this commitment with the mission: to promote and improve the ecological health and social relevance of Jamaica Bay through research, education, and informed decision making.

Through partnerships with academic institutions, state, and federal agencies, Gateway National Recreation Area is able to gain access to sophisticated and multidisciplinary scientific information. This up- to-date scientific knowledge will then be shared with park management, local community leaders, and the public to foster science-based decisions.

Important aspects of the science investigations needed at Gateway are urban ecology themes such as: environmental justice, resource conservation versus visitor access and integrated management of cultural and natural resources. Although these projects are of high importance, we welcome research proposals in any area of scientific, historic, cultural, or social inquiry.