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Island Beach State Park Partially Reopened To Public, Three Months After Sandy

State Park System officials hoping to reopen entire park by summer

Nearly three months after Superstorm Sandy swamped Island Beach State Park, sections of the park are now open to the public, free of charge.

“This partial reopening of Island Beach State Park is an important benchmark in the state’s recovery from Sandy,” Gov. Chris Christie said. “While there is still much work to be done, we know that having even partial access to the park is important to residents and visitors and we are thrilled to welcome them back.”

Ocean Bathing Area 1 - four miles south of the park entrance - is now open for walking, four-wheel drive access and sport fishing.

Four-wheel drive vehicles with park-issued permits can enter the beach at Ocean Bathing Area 1 or at Gillikin’s Road, which is 1.2 miles north of Ocean Bathing Area 1. Horseback riding is not permitted at this time.

All points south of Ocean Bathing Area 1 – including Ocean Bathing Area 2, the Forked River Interpretive Center, the nature center, and access points to Sedge Island – will reopen as cleanup and restoration work progresses.

“I am proud of the hard work undertaken by our staff, volunteers and contractors who have been getting the job done despite very challenging conditions that included lack of utilities, extensive damage to park infrastructure and road closures,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin.

Restrooms at both bathing beaches have been winterized and are closed. But portable toilets are available at the Ocean Bathing Area 1's parking lot.

Four-wheel drive vehicle owners can inflate their tires after driving on the beach at the air stations in the parking lot of the park administration office, according to the DEP.

Island Beach State Park was badly damaged when Sandy hit New Jersey on Oct. 29. Electric and gas service were lost, dunes were breached in a number of beach access paths and sand was as high as seven feet along portions of the Shore Road.

Sandy slammed into boardwalks and lifeguard towers at the park’s two main bathing areas, leaving them either severely damaged or destroyed. Fisherman’s Walkway boardwalk at the A-7 access point was destroyed. The storm also caused wind or water damage to several buildings, as well as the loss of signs and fencing.

The gatehouse and maintenance buildings at the northern section of the park were flooded and structurally damaged. The Barnegat Inlet jetty at the southern tip of the park was also compromised, according to the DE.

Island Beach State Park Manager Ray Bukowski said recently that he and his staff were working seven days a week to repair the damage. Thanks to volunteer groups and other partnerships, some beach areas were restored.

“Just as our active and reliable partnerships are important to us during good times, they are even more important in times of need,” Bukowski said.

 “A great deal of credit has to go to our partners who care so much for this special place, including Friends of Island Beach State Park, the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association, Clean Ocean Action, the Surfrider Foundation and Waste Management of New Jersey," he said.

bayway mike January 25, 2013 at 05:18 PM
So will the park accept a partial vehicle fee to enter the park??
CCGG January 25, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Wow! Now the homeless will have a place to camp out with a nice view. Will we be able to build a fire to keep warm?
Debbie January 25, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Why so negative? This state is a mess. Maybe some of the homeless are now people that used to be your neighbors but can't afford the $30,000.00 a year flood insurance. Maybe they lost their home and all of their possessions in the hurricane. Geez lighten up. Their was enough families .. regular people that lost their jobs and have been replaced by robots or by no one because corporate figured out they can do with less and make more profit. Don't you think its sad that a regular family might be living in a car?? This is America !!!
JerseyGirl January 25, 2013 at 07:45 PM
I can't wait till we are able to ride our horses on the beach again :) I'm sure they will be skipping this season. But hopefully next season (in October) we'll be able to ride their again :)
Gipper1971 January 25, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I guess it was the governors fault that the hurricane hit NJ as well. What a bunch of liberal, hippie loving cry babies. Our state was destroyed in certain areas. Maybe Corzine could donate some of the billions that he stole from his fund company, so NJ could rebuild.
Big Al January 26, 2013 at 02:31 AM
Wow...rough crowd....cant beat IBSP no matter what you say....gotta luv it....
Steven Erb January 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Paul Ryan January 26, 2013 at 12:27 PM
The Governor is the reason Steaks Unlimited was out of Cheesesteaks
Paul Ryan January 26, 2013 at 12:27 PM
its loaded with swingers lol
Big Al January 26, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Tices ok , no walkway on the ocean side, from the steps east


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