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New Jersey’s Island Beach State Park Reopens Months After Sandy

Island Beach State Park in New Jersey - Jan. 25, 2013 (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

Island Beach State Park in New Jersey – Jan. 25, 2013 (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

Superstorm Sandy

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - The public was welcomed back to Island Beach State Park on the Jersey Shore Friday, which had been closed since superstorm Sandy hit.

Walkers, four-wheelers, and fishermen may now make use of the park in Berkeley Township.

“The entire dune blew through and this area was nothing but sand. It was about two feet deep,” park manager Ray Bukowski told WCBS 880 reporter Jim Smith as he pointed out just how hard Sandy battered the ten-mile-long strip. “Gives you the perspective of what happens when a storm takes out a dune.”

Recycled Christmas trees have been placed by volunteers as the base for new dunes.

Christmas trees for new dunes at Island Beach State Park - Jan. 25, 2013 (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

Christmas trees for new dunes at Island Beach State Park – Jan. 25, 2013 (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

Crews even found roller coaster cars from Seaside Heights, which is several miles away.

“We’ve been in touch with the folks from Casino Pier and let them know that we have three roller coaster cars,” he said.

He said it was an enormous amount of work clearing out debris to allow the partial access.

Boardwalks and pavilions still need rebuilding and the cleanup continues.

“We’ll get down to areas of the south end and the north end that we haven’t been at yet, and it’s like literally a minefield of debris,” he said.

Debris pile at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey - Jan. 25, 2013 (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

Debris pile at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey – Jan. 25, 2013 (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

But there is a goal for the summer season.

“I have every intention we’ll be fully operational by Memorial Day.”

The partial access there means all New Jersey state parks closed since Sandy have have now reopened.