Story and photo by Joseph Sapia
Sea Bright and the National Park Service are looking into ways to improve access via a shuttle service to parking lot-challenged beaches in the borough and Sandy Hook.
Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long said she and Pete McCarthy, coordinator of the Park Service’s Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area are looking into possible parking areas from which to run the shuttle. But it is in the early stages and probably would require a third partner to run the shuttle, Long said.
William D. Kastning, executive director of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, said both a drive-to and boat-to shuttle are being considered.
Kastning, McCarthy and Long were among the attendees participating in an Oct. 6 meeting at Sea Bright Borough Hall, where these ideas were discussed.
Sea Bright’s Atlantic Ocean beach has no parking area, limiting its potential use. It abuts the south end of Sandy Hook, which often has to close access on summer mornings because its parking areas are full.
Sandy Hook has about 4,200 parking spaces that provide direct access to beaches there, McCarthy said. Another 700 or so parking spaces are associated with Fort Hancock and administrative uses, McCarthy said.
“We need to look at alternative ways to get into the park beyond driving,” McCarthy said.
The Sea Bright beach is approximately 9,800 feet long, or almost 2 miles, said Jenna M. Cosimo, director of acquisitions for the Conservation Foundation.
This beach is disconnected by private property from the borough’s public beach in the downtown area. Parking is at a premium during the summer in Sea Bright because it is a heavily developed spit between the ocean and Shrewsbury River.
“I think we all have a desire to get more people on our Jersey beaches,” Long said.
“The biggest concern is parking,” said Lillian G. Burry, a member of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, who also attended the Oct. 6 meeting.
Long hosted the meeting to see who was interested in improving beach access. The meeting also was attended by representatives of the county and American Littoral Society, an environmental group based at Sandy Hook.
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