Long Beach Township Dedicates Hideaway Cove Maritime Nature Trail in Memory of Employee Mike Stiles
A large group gathered last week at the entrance to the Hideaway Cove Maritime Nature Trail – which winds through woodland, down to Barnegat Bay, in the Beach Haven Gardens section of Long Beach Township – to help dedicate the path to Mike Stiles, who passed away in March while working for the township water and sewer department. A wooden sign, unveiled during the ceremony by Stiles’ wife, Laura, and Mayor Joseph Mancini, reads: “In Loving Memory of Mike Stiles, 1959-2016. Husband, Father, Friend. Forever a Member of Our Long Beach Township Family.”
Laura, who was joined by son Nick Altmeyer, said it’s been seven months since she lost her husband; Mike, a Barnegat resident, died March 22, at the age of 56.
“He loved his job. He loved this place. He was extremely happy in his life,” Laura remarked, surrounded by many of Stiles’ family, friends and coworkers. She believes her husband would be honored to see that the township had chosen to dedicate the trail in his name.
“It’s a beautiful three-acre waterfront tract,” the mayor said of the Hideaway Cove site, which is the municipality’s largest park area.
As township Sustainability Coordinator Angela Andersen noted, “This trail is like nothing else on the Island. We’re really proud of it.”
The location is, in fact, part of a “water trail” that the township is establishing via linked public points of access to the bay. Meanwhile, the terrestrial entrance to the trail is right along Long Beach Boulevard, just to the north of the entrance to the Hideaway Bay community.
This past spring, the trail was widened, defined with wood chips and cleared of some poison ivy, and the municipality, in partnership with the Garden Club of LBI, plans to plant native gardens and place benches in various locations along the trail. Laura Stiles said Thursday she would also like to install a bench for her husband.
In August, the township also dedicated a room in the emergency department at Southern Ocean Medical Center in memory of Stiles. —J.K.-H.