BERKELEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Old Christmas trees are being repurposed in an unlikely place — on the Jersey Shore.
Piles and piles of Christmas trees sit in multiple parking lots at the very end of Island Beach State Park. The park put out a modest request for 200 discarded evergreens to help build the dunes.
“And boy did we get a response,” said Jenifer Clayton, Island Beach State Park superintendent. “People brought trailers full.”
They received 10 times what they asked for. More than 2,000 trees were dropped off this past weekend, returning them to nature and to help nature.
This Saturday, volunteers will move the trees strategically onto the beach.
“We’ll line them up in some of the holes and pockets that we have in our continuous dune system here. And as we lay them out, we lay them out in a fashion that it will trap the sand,” Clayton told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
The park first collected Christmas trees after Superstorm Sandy. Officials say the program was so successful, some of the dunes grew naturally by more than 7 feet.
Island Beach State Park is a 10-mile barrier island of preserved land that acts as a buffer to mainland Ocean County. More than 1 million people visit the natural habitat each year to swim in the ocean and much more.
“We also have kayaking. We have nature programs. Fishing, obviously very huge here. Birding also, we’re within a migratory pathway,” Clayton said.
Visitors agree it must be protected.
“We think this is one of the greatest things that this county did … because there’s not much like this left anyplace in New Jersey anymore,” said Jill McIntire, of Point Pleasant.
Due to the overwhelming response, a lot of hands will be needed to move the trees in place on Saturday. Volunteers are welcome.