Westhampton Dunes

INCREDIBLE JOURNEY  "The Story Of West Hampton Dunes"

West Hampton Dunes is a small beach front community on the south shore of Long Island, New York. It is located entirely on a barrier island system that provides critical hurricane and storm protection to the mainland.

Due to an ill conceived and poorly planned erosion control project championed by local politicians in the 1960s, this area became known as the worst beach erosion problem in America as a result of human intervention. The combination of hostile politics and unsound engineering left this stretch of the barrier beach unprotected and vulnerable for over 30 years.

In December of 1992 a week long nor'easter created an ocean-to-bay breach that destroyed over 150 houses and caused millions of dollars in damage. It severely threatened the shell fish industry of the back bay and increased the likelihood of wide scale flooding on the mainland of Long Island.

A group of determined home owners banded together and sued various public agencies for failing to protect their property. After a long, bitter battle, the village West Hampton Dunes was born and a beach restoration project was finally put into action. The village blossomed into a thriving and vibrant coastal community.

By all accounts, West Hampton Dunes should not exist today. Over three decades, nature did its best to wash the entire barrier island into the sea, and political forces worked to block the heroic effort needed to prevent complete devastation. But the group of neighbors who founded a village on a tattered strip of sand can take pride in the power of will and sheer determination. They are the story of West Hampton Dunes.