Gateway National Recreation Area was created to preserve and protect for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations an area possessing outstanding natural and recreational features. The Jamaica Bay Insitute was established to facilitate the use of parks as natural laboratories and outdoor classrooms. Gateway provides abundant recreational and learning opportunities, from swimming, boating and fishing to team sports, bicycling and nature study. The nation’s oldest operating lighthouse, forts that defended America, and sites that trace aviation’s early days tell significant stories. The living world can be explored in a wildlife refuge, holly forest, ocean dunes and coastal uplands.