Island Beach State Park Reopens

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Berkeley Township. January 25, 2013

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A car from destroyed Seaside Height roller coaster buried in the sand at Island Beach State Park (photo by Phil Gregory)

New Jersey’s Island Beach State Park is open again after the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy.

Most of the sand and debris the storm deposited on the park’s roadway has been removed.  The park is now partially open for walking and sport fishing. Officials are hoping the entire park will be open by Memorial Day

State Park Service director Mark Texel says the boardwalks were destroyed, but the bath houses, the governor’s mansion, and other buildings escaped Sandy’s wrath.

 “We had slight damage, some flooding, a few tiles and roof damage, but it’s really the dunes themselves that took the most amount of damage. The primary and secondary dunes in the lower I would say six to seven miles of the island are virtually gone.”

Island Beach State Park manager Ray Bukowski says Christmas trees have been lined up on their sides along the beach to help form new protective dunes.

 “They catch a lot more sand than an individual slot from dune fencing. The sand is driven by the wind. It’s carried and then it’s caught on something and it deposits. That’s really the best method to build a dune as opposed to mechanical piling of sand. If you pile up sand it blows away. If you catch sand it stays.”

Bukowski pointed to one of the most dramatic displays of the storm’s fury. A 40 feet long barge that washed ashore in a 1992 storm had been buried beneath the sand as part of a dune. It scraped away the roadway as it was pushed into the park’s woodland by Sandy’s storm surge.

“The barge ended up getting unearthed from 20 feet down under the sand, and it came just about a half a mile west. There’s trees between where it came from and here. So lord knows how high the water was when it came across.”

Three cars from the destroyed roller coaster ride in Seaside Heights ended up buried in the park’s sand.

“They’re going to come and get them back. Obviously we would want to make sure that they get where they need to be. Not that they can be used again, but it’s a pretty interesting piece. Nobody wants to see it end up in the trash.”

At the southern end of the park, stones at the jetty along the Barnegat Inlet were undermined and toppled.

The Army Corp of Engineers is assessing how to deal with that damage.


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