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.

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