TRENTON – Many State Parks across New Jersey reopened Tuesday following a thorough and continuing review and inspection of dozens of State-owned natural, recreational and historic sites from High Point to Cape May in the aftermath of damage caused by Hurricane Irene.
Thirty of 42 State Parks and Recreation Areas were open Tuesday, including some of the most popular venues, such as Liberty State Park, Island Beach State Park, Allaire State Park and Ringwood State Park. Also, state administered marinas are open for slip holders. Visitors should call park areas to check availability of amenities, including swimming, historic sites and camps.
Some State Parks will stagger openings over the next few days as further inspections are done, needed repairs are made, flooding recedes and power is restored.
In some cases, only portions of State Parks will immediately reopen in time for the Labor Day weekend, with some damaged trails and facilities off limits and some swimming areas closed temporarily. All State Parks will open completely once they are deemed safe for public access.
“We are working hard to get these incredible State Parks open as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Chris Christie. “We want these parks open to the public for Labor Day weekend and for the remainder of the summer, so our residents can enjoy these beautiful state assets.”
“The DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry is working diligently to assess the health of all State Parks to ensure the integrity of the facilities and safety of our residents in a park system that draws more than 18 million visitors annually,” added DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.
Before planning a visit to a State Park or historic site please call ahead to make sure it has re-opened. For individual contact information and directions to areas, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/.
Nine State Parks suffered more significant storm damage and are temporarily closed pending thorough inspections and repairs and to address all safety concerns. At Wharton State Forest, the Mullica and Batsto Rivers converged and flooded Batsto Village, overwhelmed some bridges and roads, and caused power and communications outages. The park areas will be closed pending evaluation and restoration.
Parts of Brendan Byrne State Park, which has flooded roads and a loss of power, may not be accessible for inspection for several days. Cheesequake State Park suffered road washouts, a loss of power, and many downed trees. It will likely be reopened this week, but the swimming area may remain closed for the rest of the season. Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park has significant damage. Access is limited, historic properties are flooded, with repairs ongoing.
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