LBT WANTS MINOR EARLY CLOSURE – ONLY; TOE OF DUE ISSUE STILL THERE, THOUGH:
There was a stir created when Long Beach Township (LBI) commissioners proposed a shortening of the beach buggy season. Word got out, through some inaccurate media info, that something like 6 weeks was to be pared off our buggying time – including the removal of time on the famed fall end of things. I, like many, leaped up in fear and protest that we could lose nearly a month of our prime autumnal angling period.
Turns out it just ain’t so.
I had an informative conversation with Commissioners Ralph Bayard and it turns out the only beach closure action being considered by the commissioners is a two week “early closure” this year (May 15 instead of June 1) due to what is, in fact, an increasing ‘early arrival” of beachgoers anxious to get back to the beach. That May 15 closure is already in place in other LBI municipalities.
I had to explain to the commissioner that mobile anglers – and all saltwater anglers in general – are very tensed right about now with draconian cuts being made by fishery management. The prospect of any buggy or beach-use restrictions would be one of those proverbial needles that explode the camel, or something like that.
I sure feel a lot better regarding those proposed beach buggy constraints. And, no, I don’t want to give up those couple weeks but I sure can’t argue the fact that conflicts between buggies and beachgoers increase exponentially after mid-May.
Since I had him on the phone, I even made a case for opening the Holgate section of the township, from where the township and Beach Haven meet (Osborne Avenue) down to parking lot area near the entrance to the wilderness area beachfront. He said the matter could be considered. Bayard in no way shape or form was anti-mobile angling.
I did not get into the issue of a proposed ordinance change to “No vehicle shall be operated within 25 feet of the toe of the sand dune …”
Admittedly, that is a sticky issue – if it were to be enforced. It’s an issue that should get anglers attending next month’s meeting. Being forced that far from, essentially, dune fencing would close many areas of the township, particularly Brant Beach during high tide. Unacceptable. It's a dangerous concept, state-wide.
The so-called “toe” of the dune has been a bugaboo for decades, impacting everything from beach replenishment to where we can drive on the Holgate beachfront. While there is a formula for establishing a dune’s toe, it’s seldom fully applicable. That one-size formula does not fit all.
While the township’s asserting where dune toes are located could all but exclude driving a number of beach areas during high tide, I think the move is simply an effort by LBT to indicate concern for its beaches prior to a possible beach restoration project. I doubt it could be heavily enforced. That still doesn’t mean the issue can hangs over buggyists. Clarification is compulsory.
PLEASE: Those fired up over this issue can safely tune it down a bit, though not completely. I fully believe the township commissioners are willing to listen to sincere and sensible input. Please offer opinions in just that way.