Island Beach State Park has partially reopened following  the cleanup of damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Ancient barge that washed up from the ocean side of the park to the other (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

“This partial reopening of Island Beach State Park is an important benchmark in the state’s recovery from Sandy,” said Governor Christie. “While there is still much work to be done, we know that having even partial access to the park is important to residents and visitors and we are thrilled to welcome them back.”

With the opening of Route 35 in Seaside Park there is now public access to Island Beach State Park.  Entry to the park during this initial reopening phase is free.

“I am proud of the hard work undertaken by our staff, volunteers and contractors who have been getting the job done despite very challenging conditions that included lack of utilities, extensive damage to park infrastructure and road closures,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin. “It’s also important to note that we have now reopened all of our state parks, though cleanup and restoration work at some of our parks is not yet fully completed.’’

The barrier island in Ocean County stretches 10 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay.

It is a popular destination for beachgoers, fishermen and nature lovers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story