Beginning shortly: No beach buggy access near Barnegat Inlet in Island Beach State Park

     (Photo: Northside Jim/Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey)

    (Photo: Northside Jim/Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey)

    State officials will soon temporarily prohibit beach buggy access in a portion of Island Beach State Park due to the presence of a nesting endangered shorebird. 

    Beginning June 30, officials will close the section of the state park’s beach in the Southern Natural Area from the A-23 entrance to the Barnegat Inlet jetty to protect piping plovers, according to a Department of Environmental Protection release.

    [RELATED: Endangered piping plover population on the rise, study finds]

    Four-and-a-half miles of beach north of the A-23 entrance will remain open to beach buggy traffic. 

    The closure is required under federal law as the threatened shorebird’s eggs are present. Unless otherwise posted, foot traffic is permitted, but no dogs will be allowed in the closed area.

    Protective fencing is around the nesting area — marked with warning signs and posts — to keep it safe from predators, such as seagulls and fox.

    According to Park Manager Jenifer Clayton, if the plovers hatch on the predicted date, the 35 days to fledge — or fly — is on August 9.

    Due to the closure, the state park could reach capacity for beach buggies sooner than normal, requiring officials to temporary halt access. 

    “We appreciate your cooperation in ensuring the next generation of New Jersey’s shorebirds has a safe and successful start on our beach,” the release said.

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