CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL AREAS OF
ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK TO REOPEN TODAY
SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS MADE IN CLEANUP AND RESTORATION OF PARK SINCE SUPERSTORM SANDY
(13/P35) TRENTON – Keeping pace with the Christie Administration’s goal of having Island Beach State Park fully operational for the peak summer season, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin has announced that more areas of the popular destination will reopen with enhanced amenities starting today.
In addition to the increased beach access points, which stretch about five miles down into the nearly 10-mile-long park, operating hours of the park will expand from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily for the first time since Superstorm Sandy struck last October.
“Thanks to the hard work of park staff, partnerships, volunteers and contractors, we have seen considerable progress in the cleanup and restoration of Island Beach State Park,” Commissioner Martin said. “This is all part of the Christie Administration’s plan to have a strong summer tourist season at the shore. We are eager to open up these new areas for visitors to experience or rediscover one of the jewels of the state park system while work continues.”
Starting today, expanded areas of Island Beach State Park will reopen, including access trails and parking lots at A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5 and A-6. Since January 25, only the popular Ocean Bathing Area 1 and Gillikin’s Road had been open for walking, sport fishing and four-wheel driving.
Visitors with 2012 and 2013 mobile sport fishing permits will now be authorized to utilize Gillikin’s Road south to the A-7 access point.
The Reed’s Road parking area at the northern end of the park is also reopened, allowing fishermen on foot to access the beach through the maintenance trail. As of today, the Nature Center is also open for group use by appointment only. Those reservations can be made through the park office at (732) 793-0506.
Restrooms at Ocean Bathing Area 1 are now open, as is the restroom facility at A-6. The air station for four-wheel drive vehicles at A-6 is also now operable, allowing owners of these vehicles to inflate and deflate their tires as needed.
Metal detectors, permitted in accordance with State Park Service policies, also are now allowed on open sections of the beach.
Access to the park remains free of charge until May.
“We have seen a very enthusiastic response from visitors at Island Beach State Park since our partial reopening in January,” said Richard Boornazian, Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “With the warmer weather and the increased access to the park, we anticipate a very steady climb in people coming out to experience what the park has to offer.”
Areas of the park that remain temporarily closed include Ocean Bathing Area 2 and Two-Bit Road at the northern most point at the park. All trails south of A-6 and bay access points 15 and 21 remain closed, as well. Horseback riding is also not permitted at this time at Island Beach State Park.
The Division of Parks and Forestry has extended the use of 2012 Island Beach State Park mobile sport fishing permits until 2013 permits can be sold on park grounds. Those who would like to purchase a 2013 mobile sport fishing permit can do so via mail or at the Trenton Central Office of the State Park Service.
Island Beach State Park manager Ray Bukowski also advises that visitors exercise caution when driving along Shore Road, the main artery of the park, due to increased truck traffic hauling debris and from the Ocean Bathing Area 2 parking lot and on-going road sweeping efforts.
Island Beach State Park sustained considerable damage when Sandy hit New Jersey on October 29. In addition to the loss of electric and gas utilities, boardwalk structures, lifeguard towers, signage and fencing, dunes were breached at certain beach access paths along the nearly 10-mile length of the park, leaving piles of sand as tall as seven feet high along portions of Shore Road.
Cleanup progress and dune restoration has been fueled by work from park staff, New Jersey State Park Service and a series of cleanups involving partnerships like Friends of Island Beach State Park and New Jersey Beach Buggy Association.
For more on Island Beach State Park, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/island.html
For an application for a Mobile Sport Fishing Vehicle Annual Permit, please visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/docs/island_beach_permit%20revised%2012-12.pdf
For more on New Jersey's State Parks, Forests and Historic Sites, please visit:http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/index.html