SANDY HOOK, N.J. (AP) — One of the state's most popular swimming and fishing areas is back in business little more than six months after sustaining serious damage from Superstorm Sandy.
The Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook opened Wednesday morning to accommodate anglers. Sandy Hook is a prime spot for bluefish and striped bass in the spring, and fishermen landed several large bass on Wednesday.
Students from Lacey Township were in the first group to see the park after it reopened. Rob Eckstein, a field instructor with one of many environmental groups based at Sandy Hook, led the students on a tour.
"During the storm, there was a tidal surge 15 feet high," he told them on a grassy field outside the former military buildings that now house various organizations at the former Army encampment at the hook's northern tip. "It splashed up against the buildings, knocked the door down and flooded our basement. There was a wave measured by a buoy 32 feet high. We're hoping Mother Nature gives us another 100 years" before unleashing a similar storm, he said.
Sandy Hook reopened after a massive cleanup effort that still is not quite finished. The park's main road remains pitted and cratered from the waves that pounded it during the storm; sand was 6 feet deep on the roadway in some places. Many of the buildings were damaged as well.
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