The Fishermen’s Walkway at Island Beach State Park, which serves a dual purpose as a fishing pier and walkway from Tices Shoal in Barnegat Bay to the oceanfront at the park, has been restored, state officials said this week.
The walkway was destroyed during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Approximately 1,000 feet of wooden walkway, measuring about eight feet in width, has been constructed starting from Parking Area 7, providing fishing access for people with disabilities and other anglers on foot who “prefer more mobility in transporting their fishing equipment from the parking area to the ocean,” a statement from the state Department of Environmental Protection said.
The path allows anglers to access the ocean beach without walking on the sand or having to use a four wheel drive vehicle to lug fishing equipment to the shoreline. Work on the walkway began in late September and was completed in late December by GCS Contractors Corp., officials said. The DEP is seeking reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the project. The walkway was first constructed in 1995 with funds through the Americans With Disabilities Act. Its location within the park is south of lifeguarded swimming areas and north of mobile sport fishing access roads.
It is also located near Tices Shoal, an area of Barnegat Bay that is a wildly popular hangout for boaters during the summer. Boaters often anchor up in the bay and walk to the ocean while at Tices.
“As advocates of providing beach access for the public, we are thrilled about the reopening of Fisherman’s Walkway,” said Tim Burden, president of the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association. “Outside of the two main bathing areas, the A7 walkway is the only other beach access point for persons that are physically challenged. We’re happy it’s been put back to good use.”
Island Beach State Park stretches 10 miles along Ocean County’s northern barrier island from the South Seaside Park section of Berkeley Township to Barnegat Inlet. It is one of the few, and largest, undeveloped barrier beaches in the state.