ASBURY PARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn LaTourette on Thursday said the state is ready for a stellar summer season following review of water quality monitoring and visits to both the Jersey Shore and North Jersey lakeshores.
It all comes ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the outdoor summer season.
Coastal monitoring flights and preseason sampling confirmed that beaches and water quality are in great shape, LaTourette said during the annual State of the Shore event in Asbury Park.
"Our coastal beaches and lakeshores look great and our water quality is in good shape for swimming and recreating," he said. "Understanding that the summer season is the backbone of New Jersey's tourism economy, our DEP team helps monitor the safety of our beaches so that our residents and visitors can relax and have peace of mind while enjoying a beach or lakeshore getaway. It's shaping up to be a fantastic summer, so let's get outside and have a great time."
LaTourette noted that Governor Phil Murphy had announced that entrance to all state parks, forests and recreation areas will be free this summer for all visitors, regardless of state residency.
Anyone who already purchased a 2022 annual State Park Pass will automatically receive a full refund.
Other individual park fees remain in place, including but not limited to camping, interpretive programs, and mobile sport fishing permits.
The State of the Shore address is held every year heading into Memorial Day weekend to update the public on the status of beach readiness and water quality monitoring.
The annual event is sponsored by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, which is made up of academic institutions and organizations dedicated to coastal and marine research, education and outreach.
The State of the Shore has taken on even more importance as New Jersey grapples with the adverse impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion and increasingly hot summers.
Overall, New Jersey's beaches are healthy due to a combination of relatively mild winter storm seasons the past four years and continued efforts by federal, state and local governments to bolster state beaches through beach renourishment projects, according to findings by the Sea Grant Consortium.
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