Bay Access Jeopardized

Jan 23, 2019

To the Editor:

Long Beach Township plans to build a new parking lot and dog park (again) in the Bayview Park wetlands. We need everyone’s help again to ensure that one of our most popular windsurfing sites isn’t taken away from us.

As some of you may know, in the summer of 2010, the New Jersey Windsurfing and Watersport Association was reconstituted and successfully helped save the windsurfing area at Bayview Park from turning into a dog park. Long Beach Township is once again applying to fill in Bayview Park’s natural marsh wetland and create a 30-slot parking lot with an adjacent dog beach. The township posted a legal notice regarding the plans in the middle of winter (modus operandi) when many residents are not on the Island.

This area in question is one of the only natural wetland areas remaining on LBI. The ducks, birds, turtles and horseshoe crabs that utilize this habitat would be devastated. Egrets hang out there and even occasionally, swans visit. Furthermore, turtles nest there.

Dog owners who used the previous iteration of the dog park, before it was disbanded, did not pick up dog waste and thus created a pollution issue. Dogs often don’t heed their owners and they chase birds, worry horseshoe crabs and charge brightly colored kayaks and windsurfing sails. A similar fate will likely happen to the many standup paddleboarders who also use this access to the bay.

Currently several other bay swimming areas exist and are actively used by swimming dogs. And furthermore, a dog park already exists on the opposite side of the road next to the Long Beach Township building. After our resistance to first dog park, Long Beach Township wisely decided dogs and people on the same beach did not work. We need to remind them again.

The residents of 66th Street in Brant Beach have organized to help fight the construction of the new parking area and dog beach in Bayview Park. They are attempting to schedule a meeting with the mayor and commissioners in the coming weeks. Official filings and legal documents are being researched in an attempt to save the natural marsh area and eliminate the dog beach.

The residents would appreciate any support in helping the cause. Letters to this newspaper would also be most welcome in future weeks. Thanks for any help and support. We need to leverage our collective numbers to make a difference and ensure that we have access to the water.

Eileen Pffafman

N.J. Windsurfing and Watersport Assn. 

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