Coastal Erosion Forces Closures At Gateway National Recreation Area

Sand erosion at Jacob Riis/NPS

Due to extremely hazardous beach conditions, Gateway National Recreation Area in the greater New York-New Jersey metropolitan area has restricted access to sections of Jacob Riis Park, the National Park Service announced Friday.

The Park Service said significant erosion has occurred along the eastern shoreline of the beach at Jacob Riis Park. That erosion has created unsafe conditions from Bay 1 through Bay 5, exposing deteriorating wooden groins, rockwork, and other structures, the agency said. During high tide the erosion has also caused a significant reduction in beach area, particularly at Bays 1, 3, and 4.

“We regret having to restrict access to these popular areas of Riis Beach, but visitor safety must come first,” said Gateway Superintendent Jen Nersesian.  “We will adapt as necessary this summer, while we continue to pursue long-term options for addressing beach erosion and public safety at this location.”

Last year the National Park Service authorized placement of approximately 360,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach at Jacob Riis Park as part of the US Army Corps of Engineers, New York State, and New York City’s East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet, and Jamaica Bay Storm Risk Reduction Project. It was anticipated that cyclic renourishment would be needed every 4-6 years to offset the effects of this project on the beach profile at Jacob Riis Park. Only a year later, much of the sand placed in 2023 has washed away due to weather conditions over the winter and spring. The National Park Service has reached out to USACE to refine the cycle of sand replenishment. 

Areas of Jacob Riis Park Beach are likely to remain closed throughout the 2024 Summer season for the protection of visitors.

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