In New Jersey’s state parks, the “worst damage” from fallen trees occurred across the central and northern parts of the state, said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the parks.
In the central part of the state, “wind got closer to the ground as it sped across the relatively open fields” and trees on the edges of these openings were “the most vulnerable,” Considine told NJ.com.
In northern Jersey, “the hills caught the wind and funneled it between them,” Considine said.
Although the tree task remains “vast,” Considine said, the parks and forestry division has “worked tirelessly” to open or partially open 43 state parks and forests.
Due to “safety concerns,” Considine said, seven locations remain closed — Allamuchy Mountain, Double Trouble, Hacklebarney, Island Beach State Park, Leonardo State Marina, Six-Mile Run Reservoir and Voorhees State Park.
Liberty State Park, partially reopened, “still has a lot of damage,” Considine said, adding that the restoration of Liberty and Island Beach state parks are “current priorities.”
The Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp., which owns five reservoirs in a 35,000-acre area straddling Morris, Sussex and Passaic counties, has “cleaned most trees that were blocking access roads” and is now “working diligently” on a “massive cleanup,” said executive director Linda Watkins-Brashear.
“The cleanup process will be lengthy and costly,” Watkins-Brashear said, noting the group is investigating outside funding sources with the watershed’s estimated costs already reaching $250,000 for the cleanup.
Federal officials sold hundreds of emergency trailers for disaster victims at fire-sale prices in the months before Hurricane Sandy churned toward the United States, according to a report by The Washington Examiner.
Now, with thousands of families left homeless in New York and New Jersey by the hurricane, those same federal officials are poised to spend more taxpayer dollars to buy brand-new trailers.
In all, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has sold nearly 900 of the prefabricated temporary homes – none more than four years old and most used only once – since 2009, according to the newspaper’s analysis of federal surplus property auctions.
The agency even sold two trailers on Oct. 22, the same day the National Weather Service upgraded a tropical depression and christened it Sandy. Forecasters began warning the same day of a possible super-storm making landfall somewhere in North Carolina or further north in heavily populated areas of the Eastern Seaboard as far as Maine.
Neither FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate during a Nov. 8 news teleconference, nor other agency officials in the days since could say how many trailers were in the agency’s inventory in the week prior to the storm, or how many have since been requested from FEMA by residents in the areas hit hardest by Sandy. The agency depends upon state officials to tell it how many units are needed.
Fugate said FEMA would buy or lease additional units “if necessary,” and said his agency has “looked at our ability to contract for additional (units), which would come from new manufacturing or come from existing housing stock.” An agency spokesman separately told The Examiner that 40 units were at a staging area near Lakehurst, N.J.
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Business has returned to something like normal at Colonial Airstream in Lakewood, N.J., the largest Airstream dealer in the nation, two weeks after Hurricane Sandy devastated the state’s coastline.
”We had no flooding at all,” said John Lenzo, Colonial co-owner along with his brother, Jim. ”All we had was rain, and not a lot of that.
”The flood damage came from the surge that wiped out the Jersey Shore. We were open, but there was nothing working. Streets were blocked by fallen trees, there was no power, telephone or Internet and there was iffy cell phone service.”
Colonial, which sits on three acres 10 miles east of the Atlantic Coast, has 22 employees and keeps between 150 and 175 units in inventory, which include Class B motorhomes from Winnebago Industries Inc. and Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.
Technically, the dealership, which has been the best-selling Airstream dealer for eight years running, didn’t close. However, power didn’t come back for four days — and then was down again a week later when a Nor’easter swept through the region.
”We basically were out of business for that week (following Sandy), but we were here trying to do damage control,” Lenzo said.
That included producing a four-minute YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3el2hyJCrKE) that also was posted on FaceBook and referenced from Twitter. RVBUSINESS.com also posted the video tour of Colonial’s property on Monday (Nov. 12). On YouTube through this morning (Nov. 14), the video had been viewed 1,395 times.
”It was very important to get the message out to the customers that everything was fine here, whether it was that they had something in here for service or whether it was somebody that bought something and was going to pick it up,” said Jim Lenzo.
The biggest problem as far as the dealership is concerned, was the effect the storm had on its customers.
”There’s no doubt about it,” Jim Lenzo said. ”We didn’t see people for a week. They were having larger problems to deal with. That whole week for everybody around here was just damage control.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing mobile homes to hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey where residents were displaced by Superstorm Sandy, FEMA’s chief said on Thursday.
Reuters reported that the trailers will be delivered to storm-struck towns in those states, agency head Craig Fugate told reporters during a conference call briefing.
Homes in New York and New Jersey suffered some of the greatest damage in the massive storm.
Fugate did not know the number of trailers involved and said their final destination was still under discussion.
“We’re working on which sites they are going to go to,” he said. “It’s HUD-approved housing, often called mobile homes.”
FEMA has already provided temporary housing such as hotel rooms to residents of hard-hit Long Island, the coastal suburb east of New York City. He said some people have had to travel as far as Albany, about 150 miles north of New York City, to find available temporary housing.
Campgrounds throughout New Jersey are providing accommodations for workers from across the country who have come to the state to assist with clean-up efforts.
According to a press release, there are about 35 campgrounds that are hosting workers from 14 different states and Canada. Many campgrounds sustained damage during the hurricane with downed trees and some campers crushed and no electricity, but most have reopened and are accommodating as many workers and evacuees as they can.
Joann DelVescio, executive director of the New Jersey Campground Owners Association (NJCOA), said that “the phones began ringing last Wednesday from work crews traveling to New Jersey in campers and RVs looking for a campground that was open and could provide hook-ups. NJCOA has been acting as a clearinghouse to these workers letting them know who still has availability. In addition, many phone calls were received over the weekend from evacuees in New York and Staten island who had been living in shelters and were looking for a place to stay for the weekend.”
Campers and cabins in most campgrounds are filled right now, but sites are available for people pulling in with RVs and their own campers. People can call the NJCOA office at 609-545-0145 for assistance with campground availability.
NJCOA has placed Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) officials, utility companies, tree service companies, supply companies, insurance adjusters and other workers from Ohio, Montreal, North Carolina, Maine, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, California and Pennsylvania.
Most campgrounds were due to close on Oct. 31st, but many will remain open as long as they can to accommodate these workers.
In addition, NJCOA is working with RV dealers in the state in assisting people who need to rent RVs that they can move to a campground.
While the federal government and relief organizations were mobilizing to help victims of Hurriane Sandy, so were many members of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), according to a press release.
“Calls from our members all over the country inundated FMCA’s Cincinnati headquarters,” says Jerry Yeatts, executive director of FMCA. “They wanted to assist members who were affected by the severe storm. They also asked how they could help the millions of Americans who never stepped into an RV.”
While many FMCA members are helping individually, FMCA’s board and staff decided the best way to help the most people in the most efficient way was to encourage its 90,000 members to contact established relief agencies directly.
To this end, FMCA issued a letter to all its members encouraging them to work with agencies like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, as these organizations have established protocols to organize volunteers and collect donations. The letter even provided direct links to these organizations.
“We are proud that so many members immediately stepped up to help those who need it in the aftermath of such an awful event,” adds Yeatts.
If anyone is interested in lending a hand or making a donation, log onto www.FMCA.com for links to national relief organizations that are helping Americans cope with the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Several RV dealerships in New Jersey are open today (Oct. 31) after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast. But life, of course, is far from normal.
”We don’t have power,” said Ed Guest, sales and service manager for Ocean View Trailer Sales. ”We are running off a couple of generators.”
Nonetheless, Guest reported, Ocean View has seen a couple of customers. ”One guy came in and bought some antifreeze and there’s another guy looking around,” he said. ”I don’t see us doing much business right now with everything that’s going on.”
The dealership, located three miles off the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean View, suffered only minor damage. ”We had a couple of trees go down and some branches,” Guest said. ”That’s it. We just had rain and winds.”
Guest reported that damage west of the Garden State Parkway wasn’t nearly as severe as it was on New Jersey’s barrier islands and the Jersey Shore. ”People are open and just cleaning up,” he said.
At 84 RV Rentals & Service in Sussex, owner Barry Raye said he was glad to have had the foresight to arrange for the store’s telephone service to be transferred to his smartphone before the storm struck.
”All is well,” he said. ”We have no power or Internet, but with the use of a smartphone and some creativity, we are all set. All our phones are coming into one line on my smartphone.”
84 Rentals, located 75 miles north of New York City, rents Class A and C motorhomes and travel trailers. Raye said he’s renting RVs as temporary housing and for use by television news crews that have come into the area to report on the destruction.
”We had minimal damage to out property,” he said. ”We lined up our units to keep the wind from damaging them.”
While there’s no way to say with any certainty what other dealers might have been affected, Phil Ingrassia, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), said there weren’t a lot of dealers in the direct path of the storm.
In addition to Ocean View Trailer Sales and 84 RV Rentals, White Horse Leisure in Williamstown also was open for business today, according to Ingrassia, who is seeking information about dealerships impacted by the storm. Ingrassia reported that John DiCerbo, general manager at Dylan’s RV in Sewell, is also up and running.
Anyone with information can contact RVDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 591-7130.
In other hurricane-related news, RVDA said an RV Learning Center marketing webinar hosted by Evanne Schmarder scheduled for this afternoon has been postponed until Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Hurricane Sandy has created an unreliable webinar platform, RVDA said.
For the second straight year, campgrounds in the Northeast have faced the fury of a major tropical storm.
This time around, “Superstorm” Sandy struck right before Halloween – when many parks were already closed for the season – instead of right before Labor Day as Hurricane Irene did in 2011, wiping out the weekend in many areas and ending the season in others.
Still, the damage from Sandy along a 1,000-mile swath stretching from Florida north to Maine and westward as far as Lake Michigan is immense. The Associated Press estimated damage from the storm in 17 states could top $20 billion, making it one of the most costly in U.S. history. The death toll has reached 55.
Sandy is taking on other dubious superlatives:
• Evacuation zone: Included communities in more than 400 miles of coastline from Ocean City, Md., to Dartmouth, Mass.
• Highest storm surge: 13.88 feet, at New York City.
• Power outages at peak: More than 8.5 million.
• Most rainfall: 12.55 inches, at Easton, Md.
• Most snow: 29 inches, at Redhouse, Md.
The impact on the campground industry is uncertain because communications to many areas remain cut off.
To read the full report compiled by Woodall’s Campground Management click here.
Hurricane Sandy bore down on the Eastern Seaboard’s largest cities today (Oct. 29), forcing the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds, soaking rain and a surging wall of water up to 11 feet tall, the Associated Press reported.
Campgrounds were among the first to close in anticipation of the massive storm.
The tempest could endanger up to 50 million people for days.
“This is the worst-case scenario,” said Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In North Carolina, parts of Cape Hatteras National Seashore were left flooded and without power Sunday by Hurricane Sandy, National Parks Traveler reported
According to Park Service updates, Ocracoke Village on Cape Hatteras was flooded and without power aside from that generated by portable generators. “Overwash has occurred on NC-12 on Ocracoke, north of Hatteras Village, Frisco, Buxton and Rodanthe,” the agency added. “Moderate to major sound-side flooding is expected when the winds come around to the northwest.”
Just to the south at Cape Lookout National Seashore, 32 visitors were riding out on the storm on the seashore’s barrier islands. “All are secure,” the Park Service reported. “The park is keeping tabs on them.”
Here are some media reports from along the Coast:
From the Cape Gazette, Lewes, Del.:
All Delaware state parks and DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife facilities – including state wildlife areas – will close at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 in anticipation of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy’s projected path through and impact on the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware.
Division of Fish & Wildlife closures include duck blinds that are located in the wildlife areas. All wildlife areas, state boat ramps and fishing access areas will be closed until further notice.
Delaware State Parks likewise will be closed until further notice. Additionally, all Delaware state parks campgrounds, cabins and cottages will close at 1 p.m. Sunday, the normal checkout time, and they too will remain shut until further notice. Anyone who had made reservations at the campgrounds, cabins or cottages for Sunday and beyond will receive refunds due to the storm-related closure, and will have been notified in advance by the state parks’ reservation system.
From CBS News, Baltimore:
The Maryland Park Service is closing all state park campgrounds and day-use areas in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The Maryland Forestry Service is also closing Elk Neck State Forest.
The latest weather forecasts predict a significant impact to Assateague Island from Hurricane Sandy. The campground at Assateague State Park closed Saturday evening and will remain closed until the morning of Oct. 31, depending on the severity of damage caused by the storm. The Assateague State Park day-use facility and the road onto the island (Route 611 prior to the Verrazano Bridge) will be closed to all visitors and traffic at 12:00 noon on Sunday and until further notice.
All Maryland state park campgrounds and day-use areas, including picnic shelters and all other park facilities, will be closed by Sunday evening. State parks will remain closed, and all park programs are canceled, until the morning of Oct. 31. This closure period will be modified on a park-by-park basis depending on the severity of the storm and associated damage.
Full refunds without cancellation penalties will be automatically processed for all reservations for the period during which the parks are closed.
From WCVB-TV, Boston:
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is taking steps to prepare for the high winds and heavy rainfall that are predicted if Hurricane Sandy passes through the Commonwealth.
DCR closed its outdoor facilities statewide at dusk on Sunday. These facilities and properties are expected to remain closed for the duration of the storm.
Campers already at these campgrounds had to leave by 4 p.m. on Sunday and were required to take all camping equipment with them. Following the storm, DCR recommends visitors contact individual facilities prior to beginning their trip. Campers whose reservations are being canceled by DCR’s closure on Sunday will be given the opportunity to receive a full refund or the ability to transfer their reservations.