MAURICE RIVER TOWNSHIP — The New Jersey Conservation Foundation has sold 8.8 acres along the Delaware Bay to the state to provide more access and protection to the historic East Point Lighthouse.
The property will become part of the Heislerville Wildlife Management Area, where the lighthouse is located, the foundation said.
It is just south of the lighthouse property, and has about 650 feet of waterfront, said the foundation’s Tim Morris.
“The DEP is evaluating the best way to stabilize the shoreline and protect the lighthouse,” said Morris. “By transferring the land to the state, we give them the greatest flexibility in determining the best methods to do that.”
The 150-year old lighthouse at the mouth of the Maurice River is at risk from storm damage and coastal erosion.
As owners, the state will have full control over the process, Morris said.
At about $8,600, the purchase price was a bargain. It allows the foundation to recoup some of its expenses, but still contribute to the state’s efforts to stabilize the shoreline, Morris said.
The nonprofit, based in Far Hills, sold the property to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on July 31, it said in a news release Monday.
“The East Point Lighthouse is a true New Jersey gem, the second-oldest lighthouse in the state,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of the foundation.
The lighthouse will be open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday for National Lighthouse Day, and is also open weekends through the end of September, and perhaps into the fall. In the off-season, hours vary. Visit facebook.com/eastpointlight or call 856-785-0349 for more information.
Nancy Patterson, president of the Maurice River Historical Society, which manages the property, said the sale will simplify getting approvals for beach projects.
March’s series of four nor’easters did a lot of damage to the beach and dunes in front of the lighthouse, putting it in danger of flooding, and emergency measures had to be taken to try to rebuild dunes.
Since 1960, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation has protected 125,000 acres of open space, according to its records. For information about the foundation’s programs and preserves, see njconservation.org or call 888-LAND-SAVE (888-526-3728).