Conn. State Park Open After Storm Damage

May 20, 2013 by · Comments Off on Conn. State Park Open After Storm Damage 

Summer camping kicked off Friday (May 17) at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, Conn. Crews have been busy during the off season trying to put it back together after Sandy and some of the winter’s harsh weather hit, WFSB-TV, Hartford, reported.

The grounds, for the most part, are in great condition after all of the trees that had fallen were removed.

“There was some trees down here, they’re all cleaned up now, they’re gone,” said camper Frank Tucker.

When Sandy and other fierce storms came through, they left massive debris throughout the park. Workers worked to clear a pile of debris Thursday.

Some of the trees that are still standing are also damaged. They’re missing tops and major branches.

At the camp shop, the race was on to get everything ready. It suffered considerable flood damage from the storm surge.

Before the storm surge, there was a huge ice machine outside the camp shop and the water washed it all the way across the marsh. It was found under the porch of a house several yards away.

But after some nonstop work, the campground will open on time and be ready for another summer.

“Actually they got the park looking really good,” said Tucker.


N.C. Parks to Get $12.3M for ‘Sandy’ Relief Aid

May 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on N.C. Parks to Get $12.3M for ‘Sandy’ Relief Aid 

Another $12.3 million in Hurricane Sandy relief money is coming to North Carolina, much of it for national parks and refuges in the northeastern region, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said Tuesday (May 7).

The Outer Banks Voice reported that the money is in addition to the $17.6 million that went to the state in April to repair inlets and waterways, Hagan said in a statement.

“Our parks, refuges and beaches are critical to North Carolina’s coastal economy,” Hagan said. “This funding will ensure that these areas are repaired, rebuilt and open to the thousands of residents and visitors who visit each year and fuel our tourism economy.”

The money came from the U.S. Department of the Interior and will fund projects through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Work will repair and restore refuges and hatcheries and clear trash and hazardous materials.

Money will also go toward clearing canals, repairing impoundments and fixing roads.

The National Park Service is receiving money for repairs to walkovers, parking areas, docks, bulkheads and other facilities on Hatteras and Ocrocoke Islands.

Fish and Wildlife Service Projects

  • MacKay Island National Wildlife Refuge – $1.79 million.
  • Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge – $3 million.
  • Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge – $1.2 million.
  • Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge – $79,000.

National Park Service Construction Projects

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore – $2.9 million.
  • Cape Lookout National Seashore – $3.3 million.

North Carolina will also benefit from $9.7 million awarded through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for mitigation needs related to Hurricane Sandy, Hagan said.



Sandy-Damaged N.J. RV Parks Vow to Reopen

January 24, 2013 by · Comments Off on Sandy-Damaged N.J. RV Parks Vow to Reopen 

Red pin marks the location of Farreny’s Family RV Park & Boat Basin on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island.

While it was announced recently that the Long Beach Island Trailer Park along the New Jersey coast will not reopen, the site’s smaller neighbors just to the west in Holgate – Farreny’s Family RV Park & Boat Basin and Lindy’s Trailer Park & Marina – endured Superstorm Sandy less battered and bruised, and will be ready for the summer season after repairing what was damaged last October, the Long Beach Island Sandpaper reported.

“We are rebuilding,” Lindy’s owner Al Czerwinski said Monday (Jan. 21) of his bayside park at 5310 West Ave. “We are putting it back together. We’ll be good to go in March or early April.”

Similarly, Farreny’s, on the bay at 5400 West Ave., will be ready for its tenants to return with the warmer weather.

Owner Bryan Farreny and his son, Bryan Farreny Jr., have been making repairs and cleaning up the property. “Our tenants have banded together, offering work groups to ensure we are up and running for the 2013 summer season,” said the elder Farreny.

Operations Manager Laurie Farreny, Bryan senior’s wife, said that while Farreny’s is located in close proximity to the LBI Trailer Park, “we’re about 3 feet higher, and also further away by only a few feet where the force of the ocean rushed down West Avenue at full force,” as well as a bit farther from the waves that breached the ocean dunes in much of Holgate.

Of a total 39 RVs at Farreny’s, only six had minor flooding, as did the park office. The marina – with 30 boat slips, all empty as of October every year – “was completely torn up by the storm,” said Laurie, but the wood is being pulled out of the bay and reused to rebuild the dock.

Overall, the site fared better than most on the island’s south end. “We felt so much in awe that we didn’t suffer damage to the extent that our neighbors did,” Laurie remarked. “Somehow we were protected.”

“When Blease Farreny built the property, he had immense foresight in making the land higher to protect it from flooding,” Bryan senior said of his grandfather.

Farreny’s had just four spots open recently when residents of the LBI Trailer Park, a seasonal mobile home park, received word from owner Bob Muroff that the site would be closing for good, and that they have to remove their structures from the property by Feb. 15. Those four spots filled quickly, and Farreny’s now has a waiting list.

Laurie has asked her current tenants to let her know by Jan. 31 if they will be back this summer, so she can possibly take in more of the LBI Trailer Park community. “Availability can change at any moment as our tenants make their decisions. The waiting list is long, and I wish I had room to take them all in.”

As she did point out, “We are an RV park, not a mobile home park, so we have different size restrictions” – 8 feet wide by 36 feet long, versus perhaps 10 feet by 40 feet or 12 feet by 39 feet at a place such as the LBI Trailer Park.

Czerwinski said his park is full at the moment as well, but he also has a waiting list.

Both Farreny’s and Lindy’s regularly update their Facebook pages – Farreny’s Family RV Park & Boat Basin LLC and Lindy’s LBI, respectively – and lately Farreny has been using this social media site to disseminate information about alternative summer options for the former tenants of the LBI Trailer Park, including the Sea Pirate Campground at 148 Main St. in West Creek (609-296-7400/ and Lorry’s Island End Motel (609-492-6363/ in Holgate.

“I’ve had people calling me crying,” said Laurie, who feels the least she can do is investigate possibilities on behalf of these members of her south-end community.

While some believed after the storm that the LBI Trailer Park might not reopen because of the extensive damage, Laurie said that when Muroff informed his tenants this was in fact the case, she thought, “Wow, it’s a reality now.” Even though people may understand the reasons behind the closing, “We were all in shock.”

She has concerns about what will happen to the land, and how the loss of the many tenants will affect the south-end economy, but more than that, she noted, “Our neighbors are gone.”

A fourth trailer park in Holgate – Oceanside Trailer Park, at 5210 South Long Beach Blvd. – consists of seven trailers.



Sandy Amendment Bans Federal Land Grab

January 17, 2013 by · Comments Off on Sandy Amendment Bans Federal Land Grab 

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, pushed through language in an emergency spending bill for Hurricane Sandy relief that precludes the government from buying any more property, a move environmentalists say could undermine access to national park sites.

Bishop’s amendment, which passed the House late Tuesday (Jan. 15) on a near party-line vote of 223-198, is aimed at ensuring the National Park Service doesn’t try to add land to its inventory instead of using funds to repair Sandy-damaged parks, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

After the amendment passed, Bishop, along with fellow Utah GOP Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart, voted against the overall Sandy relief bill. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, backed it.

“If you want to buy more federal land, that’s the icing on the cake,” Bishop said on the House floor. “That should go through (the) regular (budgeting process). That is not emergency spending.”

Bishop said he understands that the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and several other parks were hard hit by the storm last October but that the original bill was vague enough to allow the Interior Department to do more than repair storm-ravaged facilities.

Craig Obey, a senior vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association, says Bishop’s change in the legislation could hamper the government’s ability to add new trailheads or parking lots where previous access points were destroyed.

Another amendment by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, also killed funding for restoring and protecting coastlines that the group says will hurt conservation efforts in New Jersey and New York.

“We urge the Senate to restore the funding for coastline protection and eliminate the language limiting the Interior secretary’s authority to provide for public access,” Obey said.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Click here to read Obey’s statement.

N.J.’s Double Trouble State Park Reopens

January 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on N.J.’s Double Trouble State Park Reopens 

A cranberry bog in Double Trouble State Park in New Jersey.

Double Trouble State Park has reopened, nearly 2 1/2 months after Superstorm Sandy pummeled New Jersey’s Ocean County, the Berkeley Patch reported.

“The park was hit hard by Sandy, with numerous downed or damaged trees – some of which you can see from Pinewald-Keswick Road,” said Bob Considine, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). “It’s safe to say there were several hundred downed or compromised trees.”

The DEP assessed all the state parks after Sandy roared into New Jersey and prioritized which parks needed the most in terms of resources, he said.

“We have placed the most emphasis in improving the conditions at Liberty State Park and Island Beach State Park,” Considine said. “With Double Trouble, it has just been a matter of clearing where necessary and assessing for damage for the safety of our visitors. We would much rather take time to make sure the park is safe, than rush to reopen.”

There are still several areas of the park that remained closed until further notice to visitors – the Nature Trail and Double Trouble Road south of the White Bridge, Considine said.

“Some work still needs to be done, but we recognize the park means a lot to local residents and we’re happy that folks can enjoy a good portion of the park now,” he said.

The 8,495-acre park has miles of sugar sand trails that wind through pine and cedar forests and cranberry bogs. Double Trouble has a rich history of cranberry harvesting that began back in the early 1900s, when Edward Crabbe bought the tract.

Island Beach State Park remains closed to the public until further notice.


U.S. House Passes $9.7B Hurricane Sandy Bill

January 4, 2013 by · Comments Off on U.S. House Passes $9.7B Hurricane Sandy Bill 

More than two months after Superstorm Sandy struck, the U.S. House of Representatives today (Jan. 4) overwhelmingly approved $9.7 billion to pay flood insurance claims for the many home and business owners flooded out by the storm.

The 354-67 vote came days after Northeast Republicans erupted over House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to delay a vote earlier in the week; all of the no votes were cast by Republicans. The Senate was expected to pass the bill later in the day, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s the right step,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill gives more borrowing authority to the National Flood Insurance Program to pay about 115,000 pending Sandy-related claims as well as about 5,000 claims unrelated to Sandy.

Congress Set to Vote on $9.7B Sandy Aid Bill

January 4, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A $9.7 billion measure to pay flood insurance claims is set for a vote in Congress, boosting prospects for relief for the many home and business owners flooded out by Superstorm Sandy.

If the House, as expected, approves the flood insurance proposal today (Jan. 4), the Senate plans to follow with a likely uncontested vote later in the day, The Associated Press reported.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warns that the National Flood Insurance Program will run out of money next week if Congress doesn’t provide additional borrowing authority to pay out claims. Congress created the FEMA-run program in 1968 because few private insurers cover flood damage.

Northeast lawmakers say the money is urgently needed for storm victims awaiting claim checks from the late October storm, which was one of the worst ever to strike the Northeast, ravaging the coast from North Carolina to Maine, with the most severe flooding occurring in Atlantic City, N.J., New York City and Long Island and along the Connecticut coastline.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the states hardest hit by the storm in terms of damage from high winds, flooding and storm surges. The storm damaged or destroyed more than 72,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey. In New York, 305,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed and more than 265,000 businesses were affected.

Sandy was the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was blamed for at least 120 deaths. Northeast lawmakers have complained that it took just 10 days for Congress to approve about $50 billion in aid for Katrina but that it hasn’t provided aid for Sandy relief in more than two months.

More than $2 billion in federal money has been spent so far on relief efforts for 11 states and the District of Columbia struck by the storm. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia are receiving FEMA aid.


Hurricane Sandy Recovery Drags On in New York

December 26, 2012 by · Comments Off on Hurricane Sandy Recovery Drags On in New York 

Hurricane Sandy’s devastation and already tight budget constraints are stretching New York state parks resources to the limit, officials say.

The late October storm caused an estimated $120 million worth of damage at Robert Moses and Jones Beach state parks on Long Island, The Saratogian, Saratoga Springs, reported.

The federal government will pay for repairs, but much of the manpower needed to plan, design and do such work is coming from state personnel.

“We can’t catch a break,” said Alane Ball Chinian, Saratoga-Capital region director. “Sandy really hit us hard. We sent a crew down to FDR State Park to clean up trees for a week. It takes a tremendous amount of time and attention.

Some area sites, such as Schoharie Crossing, still haven’t been fixed following last year’s ravaging floods from Tropical Storm Lee. The parking lot there was washed away and a temporary one is in use until a permanent replacement can be installed.

State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey has established a two-pronged plan for parks statewide in 2013. Goals are:

  • Keep existing parks open, safe, affordable and accessible.
  • Boost attendance by providing more value-added experiences for park visitors — anything from better restrooms to new campground grills, wheelchair accessible trails or educational programs.

“We really want to be responsive and provide all the little pieces our patrons are looking for,” said Heather Mabee, regional parks commission chairwoman. “We want to do things to attract new people to our parks, too.”

Click here to read the entire story.


6 Weeks After Sandy Hit, Cleanup Remains Huge

December 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on 6 Weeks After Sandy Hit, Cleanup Remains Huge 

The usually advantageous geography of Gateway National Recreation Area, with its salt-sprayed parks, beaches and historic sites at the edge of New York City and New Jersey, put the federal lands in the bull’s-eye of Hurricane Sandy.

Six weeks after the storm pummeled the region, most of the recreation area remains closed, as the National Park Service continues to clean up and restore essential elements like drinking water and sewage treatment, the New York Times reported.

Despite the enormous scale of the task, the removal of mounds of sand from roadways, along with piles of debris, has moved along at a brisk clip, in no small part because of the Park Service’s policy of importing personnel from other areas of the country when a disaster strikes. Several hundred federal employees have supplemented Gateway’s staff, working in two-week shifts.

But there are a number of more complex problems that will take months to evaluate and repair.

Click here to read the entire story.

Sandy Update: 43 N.J. State Facilities Open, 7 Closed

December 3, 2012 by · Comments Off on Sandy Update: 43 N.J. State Facilities Open, 7 Closed 

In New Jersey’s state parks, the “worst damage” from fallen trees occurred across the central and northern parts of the state, said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the parks.

In the central part of the state, “wind got closer to the ground as it sped across the relatively open fields” and trees on the edges of these openings were “the most vulnerable,” Considine told

In northern Jersey, “the hills caught the wind and funneled it between them,” Considine said.

Although the tree task remains “vast,” Considine said, the parks and forestry division has “worked tirelessly” to open or partially open 43 state parks and forests.

Due to “safety concerns,” Considine said, seven locations remain closed — Allamuchy Mountain, Double Trouble, Hacklebarney, Island Beach State Park, Leonardo State Marina, Six-Mile Run Reservoir and Voorhees State Park.

Liberty State Park, partially reopened, “still has a lot of damage,” Considine said, adding that the restoration of Liberty and Island Beach state parks are “current priorities.”

The Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp., which owns five reservoirs in a 35,000-acre area straddling Morris, Sussex and Passaic counties, has “cleaned most trees that were blocking access roads” and is now “working diligently” on a “massive cleanup,” said executive director Linda Watkins-Brashear.

“The cleanup process will be lengthy and costly,” Watkins-Brashear said, noting the group is investigating outside funding sources with the watershed’s estimated costs already reaching $250,000 for the cleanup.



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