Forsythe Celebrates Re-Opened Wildlife Drive
|Common loons are migrating now over Edwin B. Forsythe Refuge, NJ. |
Credit: Don Freiday/USFWS
|Repairs to Wildlife Drive cost $1.4 million and required 2,000 dump trucks of fill dirt. |
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge will host a celebratory re-opening on Saturday, May 18, to celebrate the completed repairs on the eight-mile Wildlife Drive.
Hurricane Sandy created large holes in the top and sides of the Wildlife Drive, which had to be closed last October. Wildlife Drive, which re-opened on April 20, traverses marshland and forest and is the refuge’s most popular destination. The Federal Highway Administration funded the repairs for a total cost of $1.4 million. Repairs took three months and 2,000 dump trucks of fill dirt.
Besides Wildlife Drive, the refuge has “22 miles of shoreline that is covered with debris and awaits clean-up,” says visitor services manager Don Freiday. The refuge will receive $21 million from the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriation approved by Congress. These funds will clean up the shoreline; repair trails, dikes and roads; and develop back-up power options.
Freiday says overall, wildlife seems to have recovered, “although the long-term effects of the storm still need to be evaluated. There may have been impacts on animals like small mammals in the salt marsh or birds that use our freshwater impoundment, which was overtopped by the storm and turned to saltwater. The impoundment is back to freshwater but we don't fully know the impacts of the storm.”
Festivities on May 18 begin at 8 a.m. and continue until 12:30 p.m., with early morning bird and nature walks, new exhibits in the visitor center, a children’s nature discovery area, and an open archery shoot. Congressman Frank LoBiondo will preside over an official re-opening of Wildlife Drive at 9 a.m.
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