One the nation's oldest and probably most iconic outdoor publications, Field & Stream, is teaming up with local volunteers this weekend in a post-Sandy event to plant dune grass and clean up storm debris at Island Beach State Park.
From 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, May 11, as part of the magazine's Hero for a Day program, volunteers can be part of an effort to replace and improve wildlife habitat at the park, which was severely impacted by Sandy. Large sections of the dune system within the 3,000 acre park were heavily damaged.
Island Beach is located on a southern barrier island peninsula at the south end of Seaside Park Borough in Ocean County. As one of the few remaining undeveloped beaches along the north Atlantic coast, Island Beach is particularly beloved of New Jersey anglers because of its excellent surf fishing for striped bass and bluefish.
Two non-profit groups, Friends of Island Beach State Park and the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association, will work with Field & Stream staffers to rebuild and stabilize the dune system and remove debris left behind on the beach by Sandy. The public is also invited to join in. The magazine will be filming a show on the project that will be posted on FieldandStream.com, a top web destination for anglers and outdoorsmen.
"This year post-Sandy has been a challenging one and help from the public, partners, and Friends is going to be needed more than ever to assist in restoration and clean-up of the park and replacing destroyed beach grass and vegetation, as well as continuing operation of our Osprey Cam," said Patricia M. Vargo, president of the all-volunteer Friends of Island Beach State Park, an organization that has worked for 17 years to support interpretive, educational, recreational, and research programs at the park.
Mike Toth, executive editor of Field & Stream, said the project is a perfect fit for the New York City-based magazine because Island Beach is in the publication's backyard.
"When Sandy hit, many of our staffers witnessed the devastation with our own eyes and wondered how the area would recover. Fortunately there are groups … along with hundreds of community volunteers who through their coordinated volunteer efforts have begun healing the park."
Those interested can report on Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. to Bathing Beach No. 1, Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park. More information may be obtained at fieldandstream.com/heroforaday.