Island Beach State Park to host “Harvest the Bay” festival today

     A sweeping Island Beach State Park vista. (Photo: Eveline Schwanitz Principe via The Friends of Island Beach State Park)

    A sweeping Island Beach State Park vista. (Photo: Eveline Schwanitz Principe via The Friends of Island Beach State Park)

    The diverse ecosystem and interpretive programming offerings at Island Beach State Park will be on display today during the “Harvest the Bay” festival.

    Providing visitors with a unique view of the more than 3,000-acre park, which boosts the largest reserve of undeveloped barrier island in New Jersey, the festival will cultivate public awareness and appreciation of the Barnegat Bay’s ecology and commercial fishing industry that depends on the watershed.

    “Our first Harvest the Bay festival was a great success and we know these events are only going to get better,” said State Park Service Director Mark Texel. “This is another chance for visitors to get a very unique perspective of Barnegat Bay, while also taking advantage of our tremendous interpretive programming, which has been restored and improved since Superstorm Sandy.”

    Visitors will learn about the role that clams, crabs, and fish play in the bay’s ecosystem and how they are reliant on a healthy bay.

    Bring your appetite, because attendees will learn proper techniques for harvesting the bay creatures and sample locally caught seafood.

    The festival, which is the second in a series of three this summer, runs from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. August 20 at Ocean Bathing Area 1 and is free with park admission. The final Harvest the Bay event is slated for October 12.

    Officials say that Island Beach State Park has been experiencing a high visitor rate since Superstorm Sandy, which had a substantial impact on the park’s infrastructure and ecosystem

    “This has been a tremendous summer so far at Island Beach State Park,” said Park Manager Ray Bukowski. “The Harvest the Bay days provide a perfect opportunity for people to savor this unique place and learn about it through our interpretive programming.”

    For more information about the Harvest the Bay summer programs, contact Edward Hale at (732) 793-0506 or edahalejr@gmail.com

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