Gateway National Park, Sandy Hook Beach To Reopen This Weekend

UPDATE: One of the most visited national parks in the nation will reopen a week later -- on Saturday, May 9, exactly a week after all of New Jersey's state parks and golf courses.

Video shot at Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey. ( Photo Credit: YouTube/ Lifted Photography

Gateway National Recreation Area, a 27,000-acre federal park that includes Sandy Hook Beach in Monmouth County -- straddling New Jersey and New York -- has been closed since April 8 due to the coronavirus. 

Swimming and picnicking will remain prohibited, but beaches will reopen, federal officials said.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced last Wednesday that all New Jersey parks would reopen at sunrise on May 2, and all county parks and golf courses will be allowed to reopen. (See list of area state parks that reopened below). Many of them had reached capacity in hours.

Murphy set some limits: parking lots are to be used at half-capacity, social distancing is requested and wearing masks/face covering is recommended. Playgrounds, restrooms, park pavilions and visitor centers will remain closed. Picnics and team sports are still not permitted.

Gateway is a federal park under the control of the Department of the Interior. It is the fourth most visited National Park Service site with more than 9.2 million annual visitors. (New Jersey closed its state and county parks on April 7. New York parks and recreation areas remained open.)

Sandy Hook is 4,688 acres of land, bay, and ocean in Monmouth County. It includes Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark District and natural areas and shorelines adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and Sandy Hook Bay. The Lighthouse there, which opened in 1764, is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the nation.

Gateway was established in 1972 as one of the first urban national park service recreation areas. It includes several non-contiguous parcels in Staten Island, including Miller Field, Fort Wadsworth, Great Kills, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Jacob Riis Beach, Fort Tilden, Canarsie Pier and shore area in New Jersey.

Here are the state parks that reopened on Saturday, May 2 at sunrise in Central and South Jersey:

Atlantic County

  • Senator Frank S. Farley State Marina
  • Wharton State Forest
  • Bergen County
  • Ramapo Mountain State Forest

Burlington County

  • Atsion Recreation Area
  • Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
  • Rancocas State Park
  • Warren Grove Recreation Area

Mercer County

  • Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
  • Princeton Battlefield State Park
  • Washington Crossing State Park

Middlesex County

  • Cheesequake State Park

Monmouth County

  • Allaire State Park
  • Leonardo State Marina
  • Monmouth Battlefield State Park

Ocean County

  • Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
  • Bass River State Forest
  • Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
  • Double Trouble State Park
  • Forked River State Marina
  • Island Beach State Marina
  • Island Beach State Park
  • Penn State Forest
  • Warren Grove Recreation Area

Somerset County

  • Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
  • Washington Rock State Park

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