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sandlass-house-renderingThe Sandlass House, reimagined as a museum, above, and as seen in July, 2015, below. (Rendering by Anderson Campanella Archictects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See update below]

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A group of preservationists trying to save the last remnants of a long-forgotten Sandy Hook beach resort from the wrecking ball.

Dubbed the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House, the group has begun circulating a petition calling on the National Park Service, which owns the house as part of Gateway National Recreation Area, not to knock it down, and allow them to turn it into a museum.

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Lisa Bagwell PizzaRecycled-materials sculptures by Lisa Bagwell are among the art works featured during the Zero Waste Arts Fest, going on September 17 and 18 at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook.

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, the Monmouth County Arts Council invites the public to take part in a weekend of free family fun — in which the arts intersect with the wonders of our local environment — during the inaugural Zero Waste Arts Fest (ZWAF).

Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the historic Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook, ZWAF represents a partnership  between Monmouth Arts and Gateway National Recreation Area Sandy Hook Unit. The event also marks the culminating phase of a larger Gateway to the Arts grant project, a $20,000 award that Monmouth Arts received from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2016, to honor both the 50th anniversary of the NEA and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

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sandy hook 070415 1Amateur naturalists, “citizen scientists” and other volunteers are invited to participate in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, September 23 and 24.

This year, the National Parks Service observes the 100th anniversary of its founding — and as part of the year-long celebration, the federal agency will coordinate more than 100 “BioBlitz” initiatives at parks and other protected lands across the nation.

Out on the Sandy Hook peninsula, administered by the NPS as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the past several Septembers have seen a local BioBlitz effort coordinated with the Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society — and for 24 hours beginning Friday, September 23, “citizen scientists” from all walks of life are invited to be a part of this important annual wildlife census.

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Fort Hancock BuildingPress release from National Parks Service

Members of the public will be able to learn about and comment upon the efforts to preserve the historic structures at Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock area, during a meeting of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee this Friday morning, May 13.

Scheduled for 9 a.m., and hosted in the auditorium of the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street, this will be the first meeting after the signing of the first residential lease at Fort Hancock Historic Post (Building 21, pictured), and the last meeting before an Open House takes place of select leasing opportunities on Sunday, May 22.

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imageJB Wood Fired Pizza at Sandy Hook in June, 2015. Below, the concession stand at lot B is among three to be torn down and replaced by food trucks.  (Photo above by Jim Willis, below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

sandy hook concession 090114Never restored after Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012, three of the six concession stands at Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook will be demolished and replaced with food trucks and vending machines, according to a report by NJ.com.

Park superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian told the news site that stands at areas B, C and E will be demolished, with utility hookups installed at areas C and E for the mobile food trucks and vending machines.

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sandlass house 070415 2The Sandlass House, at the entrance to Sandy Hook, is the subject of a campaign by a new preservation group, whose logo is shown below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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The last remnant of a Sandy Hook beach club that was the subject of a Fair Haven man’s nostalgic documentary earlier this year now has a support group.

Chris Brenner tells redbankgreen that his video gave rise to an effort to save the Sandlass House, which overlooks  the Shrewsbury River from the site of a long-demolished resort called Highland Beach and is slated for demolition.

Supporters plan to press their case for preserving the structure this Friday in Shrewsbury.
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BioBlitzAmateur naturalists, students and other volunteers are invited to assist a team of scientists in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, beginning September 18.

Press release from National Parks Service

For 24 hours beginning Friday, September 18, citizen scientists will perform a “BioBlitz” operation, swarming the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area and counting as many species as possible. At the same time, free fun and educational activities will take families and individuals into the coves and trails of this seven-mile peninsula on the New Jersey coast.

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bio-blitzPart public science project, part beat-the-clock fun competition, the second annual Bio-Blitz invites all members of the community to help take a snapshot of the diversity of plant and animal life on Sandy Hook.

Press release from American Littoral Society

It’s part contest (racing against the 24-hour clock), part educational event, part scientific endeavor, and all fun — it’s the second annual Bio-Blitz, and starting right now the American Littoral Society is inviting the public to take part in a major undertaking on September 18 and 19, designed to “create a snapshot” of Sandy Hook’s biodiversity.

By identifying as many species as possible during that 24-hour period, the Littoral Society can paint a picture of 2015 Sandy Hook, and the breathtaking array of plants, fish, birds, bugs, reptiles and furry creatures who make their summer home on the peninsula. Collected over time, this data can lead to valuable information about the effects of climate change and habitat degradation on the species that utilize this area. This will also be a unique opportunity to teach the public about the biodiversity that exists along New Jersey’s coast — particularly the unique mix of species that’s found only within the Gateway National Recreation Area.

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RBR EagleRed Bank Regional High School rising seniors Andrew Noglows and Sam Gregg were celebrated for their attainment of Eagle Scout at their June 28 Court of Honor for Troop 126 in Little Silver.

Press release from Red Bank Regional Board of Education

At a June 28 Court of Honor ceremony hosted by the Woman’s Club of Little Silver, two Red Bank Regional High School rising seniors were celebrated for their recent attainment of Eagle Scout rank by Little Silver Boy Scout Troop 126.

Andrew Noglows and Sam Gregg, both of Little Silver, have come through scouting together since 5th grade, with Sam having entered scouting as a cub scout. Both boys will be commended by the RBR Board of Education for achieving the highest honor in Boy Scouting.

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ft hancock 4 070113The first of four  public meetings on the preservation and repurposing of Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook, including the bayside Officers’ Row, above, will be held Friday in Lincroft.

ft hancock 1 070113For more than 70 years, it stood at the ready, protecting lower New York Harbor and the northern Jersey Shore from invasion by sea. Between its founding in 1898 and its decommissioning in 1974, the United States Army base at Fort Hancock was a center of activity at the northern tip of Sandy Hook — and today its landmark buildings await decisions on their preservation and ultimate repurposing.

This Friday, June 26, members of the public are welcome to attend the first in a series of four meetings of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee, hosted inside the Visitors Center at Thompson Park, Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. Committee members will be joined by representatives of Gateway National Recreation Area, the federal Landmark District that includes the entire Sandy Hook peninsula. Scheduled to commence at 9 am, the meeting will include a regularly scheduled public comment period that begins at 11:30.

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Chris Brenner, below, made the above video to shed light on a vanishing piece of Sandy Hook history.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


chris brennerFair Haven resident Chris Brenner was fishing the Shrewsbury River one day last summer when low tide exposed the vestiges of a pier on the western side of Sandy Hook.

Brenner knew what the pier had been: part of a sprawling resort called Highland Beach that thrived for some 80 years years at that location. His mother, Jill, and late father, Ted, had even met there in the 1940s, at a popular bar called the Bamboo Room.

But looking to his right, as a stream of cars brought visitors across the Route 36 Azzolina Bridge to a park that’s now part of the federal Gateway National Recreation Area, Brenner wondered to himself: How many of those people even know what was once here?

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ft hancockSix historic buildings in the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook are being opened up to leasing for multiple uses during an open house this Sunday. 

HOT-TOPIC_03Looking to lease a unique and historic Jersey Shore property, equipped with billion-dollar waterfront view, with an eye toward preserving it as a residence, nonprofit facility or even a bed-and-breakfast?

The Sandy Hook stewards of the Gateway National Recreation Area have an opportunity for you.

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the-havenThe Haven takes it to the Hook Wednesday evening as part of a freebie triple-header bill of bands on the beach.

While the Sandy Hook peninsula has soldiered on through the worst that time and tide have to offer, sometimes you just have to pull the plug on those electrified events — as with the short-notice cancellation of the Brian Kirk and the Jirks concert originally scheduled for July 9. But when the elements align, there are few summer music presentations that can compete with the free Beach Concert Series hosted by The Sandy Hook Foundation at Beach Area E — and this Wednesday, the producers have lined up a special bill that offers three times the bands, as well as an extra 30 minutes of music.
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The National Park Service is seeking nominations for individuals to be considered for appointment to the Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee.

“Since Hurricane Sandy, this committee has helped the park define practical, long-term solutions for preserving Fort Hancock,” said Gateway Superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian. “A recent Request for Expressions of Interest brought hundreds of possible new leaseholders to the park and generated over 40 written responses. Now the committee is advising the park on an upcoming Request for Proposals, which we expect to issue later this year. We need to keep the committee at full membership so that we can keep this momentum going.”

Since its first meeting in January 2013, the Committee has advised Gateway National Recreation Area concerning the future of the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historical Landmark. More than 100 historic buildings dating from the U.S. Army era are located within Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit. Most are vacant, but could be saved through adaptive reuse by other leaseholders.

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The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operated lighthouse in what is now the United States. For 250 years, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse has stood as a beacon of hope, surviving a revolution, hurricanes and two world wars. Most recently, it occupied the high ground while Hurricane Sandy covered much of the peninsula with water.

On Saturday, June 14, the public is invited to a free celebration, in observance of the 250th anniversary of its lighting on June 11, 1764. Scheduled for the hours of 11 am to 4 pm, the event includes a look at the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters, which serves as temporary office quarters for park staff, and is currently used as the visitor center for Sandy Hook Unit.

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HorseshoeCrabsOur favorite “living fossil” (and fellow Jersey Shore oldtimer), the horseshoe crab is the center of attention during a free Wednesday evening event…just one of many activities sponsored by the Littoral Society on the Hook in the days and weeks to come. (Photos by Michael Doyle) 

The native flora, fauna, fish and (living) fossils of Sandy Hook are the stars of a low-key (and seasonally spectacular) show on the beaches, bayside, marshes and maritime forests of the peninsula — all part of a slate of public-welcome educational and recreational activities, brought to you by the Hook-based regional chapter of the American Littoral Society.

Making up for time lost in the Sandy-scarred season of 2013 — and enjoying some relatively peaceful opportunities ahead of the summer-season influx — the busy interlude begins this morning with the first in a three-week Coastal Naturalist subscription series (and continues on Wednesday evening with a great free-of-charge walkaround) that allows educators and amateur enthusiasts alike a close-up look at the diverse natural treasures of the Gateway National Recreational Area.

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