Annual Wildwoods sand transfer underway

WHYY graphic showing the width of a Wildwood beach.

WHYY graphic showing the width of a Wildwood beach.

For years, North Wildwood crews have trucked sand from Wildwood’s massively wide beaches to combat erosion that typically occurs during the offseason.

Dubbed “backpassing,” the annual sand loading, trucking, and beach replenishment in North Wildwood is underway, forcing closure of some beaches in both municipalities.

North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello says the effort, which will continue for about a month and end before Memorial Day weekend, is more than just to create wider beaches for the summer season.

“Although temporary, these sand backpass projects continue to protect our investments in property and infrastructure, while helping to preserve our quality of life in North Wildwood,” he said.

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Wildwood’s beaches, 500 yards wide at points, are the largest in New Jersey, thanks to two man-made features and eroding sand from Avalon and Stone Harbor, located north of Wildwood, naturally funneling into Hereford Inlet.

But others argue there can be too much of a good thing.

More beach means more to maintain for the city, and more to trek across for beachgoers, which can be off-putting for the elderly and large families. And since long wheelchair walkways don’t cover the width of the beaches, it can be difficult for the disabled who’d rather not call for the help of a lifeguard.

Diane Stopyra contributed to this report.

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