ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK, NJ – At every public access area along Island Beach, there’s a sign at the entrance that asks guests and visitors to stay on the predesignated trails and to stay off the dunes. There’s a good reason for it. The dune system is not only a sensitive environmental habitat but the dunes and dune grass protect both the barrier island and the mainland from coastal flooding during hurricanes and nor’easters.
We’re not sure if there are any such signs at the entrance to the governor’s mansion at the state park or along his private access trails.
According to the State of New Jersey, Island Beach is one of the few undeveloped Barrier Beach oped barrier beaches on the Atlantic coast. It has one of New Jersey’s largest osprey colonies, in addition to many other species of waterfowl, shorebirds and migratory birds. Today’s maritime vegetation is the same as it was hundreds of years ago. To accommodate recreation and to protect this natural vegetation, the park is divided into three management zones: the Northern Natural Area, the central recreation zone and the Southern Natural Area. The two natural areas contain 1,900 acres of sand dunes with coastal dune communities, tidal marshes, freshwater wetlands, designated trails and more than 200 species of plants. Public access to the Northern Natural Area is limited to the – ocean beach for fishing and walking. Picnicking, sunbath ing and fishing activities are allowed on the ocean beaches of the Southern Natural Area. Nature study is permitted throughout the park. Sand dunes are one of the park’s most precious resources, protecting the park and mainland from storm drive waves and tides. Visitors must stay off the sand storm-driven
dunes and should not disturb the vegetation.”