July 21, 2022 – For immediate release.
BOROUGH OF STONE HARBOR
In recent weeks, the governing body of the Borough of Stone Harbor has become apprised of an increasing number of calls and complaints related to the presence of boaters, swimmers, and beachgoers at the Point. The Borough of Stone Harbor Police Department has responded to numerous calls regarding the same and made best efforts to adequately enforce the Borough Code while recognizing the rights of said boaters, swimmers and beachgoers.
As many of our residents and visitors alike are aware, the Point is one of New Jersey’s most important bird habitats and premiere East Coast shorebird migration stopover areas. The area is subject to a conservation easement and conservation plan to protect this this dynamic shoreline habitat.
Specifically, the calls and complaints have addressed watercraft that are anchoring and/or mooring near the shoreline and accessing the beaches at the Point from the water. The Borough’s environmental stewards, who oversee and monitor the wildlife and activity at the point, have communicated that the accessing of the Point beaches from the water is directly disturbing the wildlife sanctuaries and ecosystems that the Borough has long sought to protect.
While the Borough does not seek to unnecessarily restrict or restrain the rights of the boating community, the beach-going community and all others that enjoy the habitat and splendor of the Point and the public waterways, it must balance the same with health, safety and environmental concerns. Beyond the disturbance to the protected area, the act of accessing the beach by way of any watercraft is a potentially hazardous activity, and the location of the Point relative to emergency services renders rapid response difficult, if not impossible.
Accordingly, in balancing those interests, the Borough has determined it necessary to prohibit individuals from accessing the beaches of the Borough, inclusive of the Point, from any watercraft, power driven or otherwise. Said regulation does not prohibit the use of watercraft as permitted elsewhere in the Borough Code. Watercraft operators are free to continue to utilize and enjoy the waterways surrounding the Point but are not permitted to access the beach from the water.
We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of all impacted as the Borough continues to promote its precious natural resources while protecting the same.