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Beach Badge Sales Up, But Toms River Battles to Keep Eroded Beach Entrances Open

Beach badge sales are up in Ortley Beach this year, but some residents are asking where all of the prospective sunbathers are going to sit once summer arrives in earnest. Meanwhile, Toms River officials say they are trying to keep up with eroding sand, but concede some beach entrances may have to close temporarily during the season.

“We’re trying to keep all of the entrances open,” said Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill. “At Fifth Avenue, we’ve been back there two or three times. We had it open for Memorial Day, and then we had a northeast storm that eroded it. We went back out the next day to move some sand around to open it up again.”

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)



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The Fifth Avenue entrance caused one resident of the street to complain to the township council last week about the condition of the beaches, telling officials that the entrance is very steep, people get winded climbing it, and room on the beach berm – the sand in front of the dune where beachgoers set up chairs and blankets – is minimal.

Beach badge sales this year are up in Ortley Beach – by a wide margin, no less. As of last week, Toms River Township sold $422,565 worth of badges. For comparison, by the same week last year, just $293,745 worth of badges were sold. The increased interest in Ortley Beach can be traced to a number of factors, the mayor said.

“If anything, our beaches are a little smaller, but our beach badge prices are competitive and we don’t charge for parking,” said Hill. “I think that makes our beach a little more attractive.”

Stayin’ Alive?



Just prior to Memorial Day weekend, the township spent just over $300,000 to truck in sand and rebuild beach entrances that had been pummeled by storms over the fall and winter seasons. Several entrances had been closed for months, with “cliffs” having formed near the edge of the dune, Mobi-Mats left in tatters, and fencing washed out to sea or mangled by wave and wind action.

The south-to-north construction resulted in all of the township’s ocean beach entrances being reopened after being blocked by barricades much of the winter and spring, but signs of erosion are already beginning to reoccur during weather events, and Shorebeat reported yesterday that a planned federal beach replenishment project has been suspended due to a federal contracting dispute, and the timeline for that work to begin is largely unknown. The replenishment project includes plans to re-engineer Ortley Beach to prevent future excessive erosion.

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The beach entrance at Fifth Avenue in Ortley Beach, where some residents say dunes are too steep, June 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

“We’re just going to have to continue to do patchwork stuff until the Army Corps comes along. Right now, our dunes keep getting attacked,” said Hill. “The sand on the beach seems to come back – the problem is when it gets to the toe of the dune and starts eating away at the dune, because then it’s a major problem and you’d have to truck sand in.”

Trucking in sand and staging heavy equipment is a difficult logistical task when beaches are empty, much less in the middle of the summer season. If foul weather continues to affect the Shore area, it could present officials with difficult decisions on closing beach entrances mid-season.

“We’re limited once the season starts,” said Hill. “We have to work with the sand we have out there and reposition it. The reality is, if one of the areas gets hit really hard, we may have to shut it down for a while until we can address it, and we’re trying to keep everything open.”


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