When Parvin State Park near Vineland, N.J., reopened this week after three months of being closed for storm damage cleanup, officials expected the faithful to return.
The storm devastation was among the latest of obstacles for the state park to overcome since a threatened closing four years ago, The Daily Journal, Vineland, reported.
“People will be here. One guy asked me if he got here at sunrise, could he get his boat on the water,” Vince Bonica, the park superintendent said Thursday (Oct. 4). “I told him of course he could.”
The park closed to visitors the day after a June 30 storm with estimated 80 mph winds swept through the area. Two young children died when a tree fell on their tent while their families were camping inside the park.
The park was one of nine recommended for closure in 2008 by then-Gov. Jon S. Corzine to save money. He relented, and the legislature used $9 million from a beach-replenishment fund to keep the parks open another year.
And in 2011, Gov. Chris Christie recommended contractors take over concessions and event services at Parvin and other state parks, saying the cash generated by the move could help keep the 50-plus state parks, forests and recreation areas open. No contracts were ever awarded.
The completion of the cleanup effort at the park and the reopening were announced late Wednesday by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.
Bonica said the cleanup was extensive. A lot of trees had to be cleared.
“There is a lot less shade now and more space for people,” Bonica said.
More than 2,000 storm-damaged trees were removed and another 1,500 hazard branches or “hangers” were trimmed from healthy trees to ensure the safety of all visitors, including many hikers and campers who frequent the park.
The work was done by the State Park Service, New Jersey State Forestry Service, New Jersey Forest Fire Service, private contractor Asplundh Tree Service and Parvin State Park Appreciation Committee volunteers.
“We are elated that the park is reopening,” said Rob Zuest, president and chief executive officer of the Parvin State Park Appreciation Committee volunteers. “Any time that the park is threatened to close or when it closed for the storm, we just can’t wait for it to be open again.”