Maritime Forest Dedicated to Former Mayor

By Evan Hofsess

Photo courtesy of Amy Hall, director of tourism for Bradley Beach

As you walk into the Maritime Forest, you hear the birds chirping, the frogs croaking, and the bushes rustling beside you. You hear the crunch of broken seashells, and smell the perfume of the beach and the ocean.

Tomorrow morning, Bradley Beach officials will dedicate this special place at the southern end of the Bradley Beach boardwalk to the late mayor Julie Schreck. Her vision helped transform this former parking lot and storage area into a natural buffer with many environmental benefits. Ms. Schreck was mayor from 2008-2012, and died in 2014.

The history of the Julie Schreck Maritime Forest of Bradley Beach stretches back to Hurricane Sandy, when there were major problems happening at the coast of Bradley Beach such as storms, flooding, damaged homes and businesses, loss of revenue, and sand accretion, officials said. 

Bradley Beach developed a partnership between local, state, county, and federal organizations, including volunteers and environmentalists, to turn the parking lot into a green space with native plants. This brought benefits such as storm protection, reduced sand and debris going into Fletcher Lake, as well as new habitat, and environmental awareness, according to borough documents.   

To this day, officials are still making major additions to the Maritime Forest like adding new paths, plants, and shrubs. Some of the plants that will be there are red maple trees, black cherry trees, bayberry shrubs, and arrowwood shrubs. The borough is also planning dredging, making a fish passage, debris removal, and maybe creating dunes. They also signed an agreement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the American Littoral Society that bans any construction on the site for 10 years, while also providing federal technical support, native plants, and equipment to maintain the site. 

This work will help the town and the shoreline in a lot of ways. Hopefully people will enjoy and take in the beauty of the Maritime Forest. We know Mayor Schreck would be proud.

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