Surfing now possible at Robert Moses

Nothing embraces nature and the unspoiled beauty of a state park quite like wireless Internet access.

So the state was pleased to announce that free WI-FI service is now available at Robert Moses State Park in Babylon, thanks to a partnership between the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the American Park Network and corporate sponsor Toyota.

All joking aside, free WI-FI has become a major factor in tourism and related trades, and bringing it to a state-owned beach that already attracts 3.4 million visitors annually is key to “boosting tourism and growing the Long Island economy,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement announcing the connectivity.

“This WI-FI expansion will attract more visitors to the great outdoors,” the governor added.

The Robert Moses WI-FI – installed at Fields 2, 3, 4 and 5 – follows WI-FI installations at four other New York State parks in the last year, including Jones Beach in Wantagh.

The park-based installations are part of a program called Oh, Ranger! WI-FI, managed by the American Park Network, a publisher of visitor guides and other trip-planning magazines under the Oh, Ranger! Brand. Among other publications, the network produces the annual New York State Parks Guide.

Visitors can access the free Internet connectivity by selecting “Oh, Ranger!” from the available networks list that appears on their laptops and other mobile devices at Robert Moses State Park and accepting the standard terms and conditions.

The Robert Moses State Park installation was made possible by support from Toyota, which is covering the cost of equipment, installation, maintenance and monitoring at Robert Moses and Jones Beach state parks at no expense to taxpayers.

The WI-FI installations are among the latest initiatives undertaken under Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 program, a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in public and private funding for improvements and innovations at New York’s 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, including $110 million earmarked in the governor’s 2015-16 state budget.

Previous Long Island-based initiatives under the program include the announced installation of a 500-kilowatt solar energy system that will turn Robert Moses State Park into the nation’s first energy-neutral state park. Installation of a $1.7 million photovoltaic system is expected to take place at the park in 2016, according to the governor’s office, following a series of energy audits.