Island Beach State Park to close if N.J. government shuts down

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For the second year in a row, state beaches and parks will close if New Jersey lawmakers don’t pass a budget by June 30.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and legislative leaders must strike a deal before 12:01 a.m. Sunday to head off a closure.


[Related: Governor, lawmakers inching toward New Jersey budget deal]

The potential for another closure of the heavily visited Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, the crown jewel of the New Jersey state park system, during a holiday week has local business owners fuming.

Dominick Solazzo, owner of Shore and More General Store just north of Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park, says it’s once again a nightmarish scenario.

With the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday, during normal times, local residents and visitors alike would be flooding into the state park all week, he says. And that will negatively impact Solazzo’s business, which has direct frontage on the state roadway that jams with park visitors on summer days.

“It will certainly hurt us, but it’s also devastating for families who have been planning on visiting our beautiful state beaches and parks,” he lamented. “What’s just as bad is that now with the budget uncertainty, people might be thinking of making other plans.”

Solazzo has been asking store patrons to call the governor’s office and demand an executive order to keep the park open before the government shuts down.

During the three-day government shutdown around the 2017 Fourth of July holiday, motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians were turned away from the Island Beach State Park entrance by the New Jersey State Park Police.

Bum Rogers

A picture of then Governor Chris Christie sitting on the beach in Island Beach State Park with his family generated widespread outrage.

The shutdown ended on July 3.