The Christie Administration announced today that Island Beach State Park, is now partially reopened for walking, sport fishing and four-wheel driving after cleanup from damages caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Public access to Island Beach State Park is now possible with the recent reopening of Route 35 in Seaside Park. Entry to the park during this initial reopening phase is free.

Ocean Bathing Area 1 is now open for walking and vehicle beach access following removal of debris and cleanup of sand. Ocean Bathing Area 1, traditionally one of the most popular areas at Island Beach, is located four miles south of the entrance to the park.

Four-wheel drive vehicles with park-issued permits may now 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. The State Park System is marking every effort to be fully operational for the 2013 peak summer visitor season.

While restroom facilities are not operational as they are winterized annually, portable comfort stations are available in the Ocean Bathing Area 1 parking lot. Air stations for four-wheel drive vehicles are also operable at the Park Administration Office parking lot, allowing owners of these vehicles to inflate their tires again after driving on the beach.

Due to the closure of Island Beach State Park, the Division of Parks and Forestry has extended the 2012 Island Beach State Park Mobile Sport Fishing Permits until March 31, 2013. The 2013 Mobile Sport Fishing Permits cannot currently be purchased at Island Beach State Park. They can be secured via mail or at the Trenton Central Office of the State Park Service.

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 Island Beach State Park visit http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/island.html or http://www.nj.gov/dep/daw/islandbeach/

Image courtesy New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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