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Party's Over at F-Cove

Brick hot spot off-limits, signs say

Without so much as a last call, the party looks like it might be over – at least for now – at one of Brick's most popular summer hot spots.

F-Cove, made up of two undeveloped man-made lagoons off Barnegat Bay in the shape of the letter 'F,' has been a gathering place for party-minded boaters for decades. It's located just north of the Mantoloking Bridge, west of the ICW channel.

But an effort by the federal government to curtail recreational use of the area appears to be heating up again.

The latest salvo: a number of signs posted at the site which warn boaters that the area is closed beyond the signage.

The explanation: "It is a national wildlife refuge," Virginia Rettig, manager of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, told Brick Patch. "Any activity that we permit there has to be tied to the needs and requirements of wildlife before they can be tied to what we need to do to recreate."

The area known as F-Cove, once slated to be a residential lagoon community, is owned by the refuge. Rettig explained that only certain types of recreational activities are normally permitted in federal wildlife refuges, and officials must have time to sort out what type of access, if any, should be permitted at F-Cove.

"It's very difficult," Rettig said, referring to limiting public access after a long history of access being available. "I acknowledge that."

Though the site has been part of the refuge for about 20 years, there has never been any clear demarcation of what activities were permitted. There was also a question as to what entity was responsible for the actual waterways in between the refuge lands.

"We now know that it's definitely the Fish and Wildlife service," said Rettig.

The first rumblings about closing F-Cove to recreational boaters came in 2009, when the Fish and Wildlife Service floated a plan to anchor bollards to the bay floor that would physically prevent boats from accessing the site. Federal officials also favored partially filling in the lagoons.

There was an immediate backlash from township officials at the time, as well as environmental group Save Barnegat Bay, which argued access should be maintained.

"To deny thousands of people in the state of New Jersey this simple enjoyment ... for the sake of recreating a few acres of habitat is to lose sight of the very purpose of government, which was originally to benefit people," was a quote included in an organization newsletter at the time.

A call to Save Barnegat Bay President Willie deCamp about the new signs at the site was not immediately returned.

Since the issue flared up in 2009, the federal government had appeared to have backed off.

No final decisions have been made regarding public access to the site this time around, Rettig said. The signs simply mark the refuge boundaries. There has been no determination made as to how the access ban will be enforced, she said.

Other parts of the Forsythe refuge are open to the public, however, including the Holgate portion at the southern tip of Long Beach Island. There, four wheel drive vehicles are free to access the beach.

"We have to decide if it's necessary" to provide public access, Rettig said. "It's a lot to consider."

MJ April 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Craig, No pilings. At this point there are barrels, similar to no wake barrels, at the entrance. They are visible from the bridge. My boat isn't in yet to see what is written on them.
TERRY April 30, 2012 at 01:17 AM
It says KEEP OUT! WILD LIFE REFUGE
TERRY April 30, 2012 at 01:18 AM
You guys, where in the world is Hidden Cove? Or was that a joke that it's "hidden"??? lol
Phil McCrakin PST April 30, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Hidden cove is located on the opposite side of the manaloking bridge from the fcove. IF you go under the bridge heading toward the barnegat bay its about half a mile down on the right. It is pretty hidden and hard to find if you dont know where its at. Its a great time and also has large beaches.
BrickAmericanMan April 30, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Is hidden cove deep enough? Is that the T shaped cove?
TERRY April 30, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Hidden cove?? Is T Cove. And they shut down that too'
DT April 30, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I was out on the boat 3 weeks ago on a Sunday, I did not see any barrels ?? Just the brandy new signs, and to boot there were about a dozen boats beached up. Occupy F-Cove !
craig April 30, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Hello all. We went to the F-Cove on a 27 foot Sea Ray on April 15, 2012, which, coincidentally, was 100 years to the day that the Titanic sank. There were perhaps 10 boats there. It was a beautiful day that ended horribly because were given a written warning by the NJ State Police for being in the refuge. The "No Entry" barrels were not in position yet. I begged the officer to give me a written warning (for historical purposes) but he would not because I was not the operator of the vessel. In any case it now comes down to how they intend to enforce the ban that is being pursued by the one and only Virginia Rettig (see a few posts above). If they have not physically barred entry, then of course we can go in, but it becomes a question of the enforcement penalty. If the state police were clever, they'd write a $50 ticket for illegal entry for each boat and let people stay, as well as writing tickets for littering and other offenses. They'd make a fortune. And yes Hidden Cove, or "T-Cove" is within the refuge and also has been sealed off by Virginia Rettig. For anyone who states some reason for the F-Cove being closed, forget what you think you know. The reason is that Virginia Rettig decided that this is how it is going to be, and that's that. It has nothing to do with summertime F-Cove shenanigans, the Jersey Shore show, litter, drug use, fights, or any other red herring anyone wants to state. If we were all angels, Virginia Rettig was still going to close it!
Action Jackson May 02, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Its amazing to read all the conspiracy theories here. its simple math, you party trolls made too much of a mess and now we all have to pay the price. look around you, and love earth instead of being a pig with a bread crumb trail behind you.
Phil McCrakin PST May 02, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Hey Action Jackson its easy to be a typing tough guy. This has nothing to do with math dumbass. Sounds like you are another one of those miserable pricks that doesnt know what its like to kick back and have fun. Be careful how you label people as "trolls" and "pigs". Remember karma comes back around.
Phil McCrakin PST May 02, 2012 at 05:30 AM
By the way read the comment left right above yours. The shut down has nothing to do with partying. Its a wildlife refuge. Virginia want to keep it that way. That being said treasure island and tices are going to be packed this summer so get there early. May 8th the town is having a public meeting to discuss if they should make fcove a public waterway.
craig May 02, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Phil, thank you for posting that information! I will definitely be there! For all those interested, I got this from the Brick web site: All meetings will be held in the Municipal Building, 401 Chambers Bridge Road. Start date 05/08/2012 Starts at 7:00:00 PM Ends at 11:00:00 PM Phil, if the town makes fcove a public waterway, does that solve the issue? We can take our boats in there, and almost beach same as before, but instead, just drop anchor rather than beach the boat. Boats could raft up rather than pull onto the sand. Would this render Virginia Rettig's ban on access essentially null and void? What must be done for the town to declare fcove a public waterway? Is the council on the side of the taxpayers of Brick that use the fcove responsibly? I need info!!! I want to state again, for anyone who doesn't understand: I personally spoke to Virginia Rettig. She wants human access banned in the name of wildlife and wildlife habitat. It has nothing to do with any behaviors that went on there. If you are a human being, it is her opinion, and within the exercise of her authority, that you are banned. Your ability to recreate responsibly and quietly enjoy the fcove is absolutely to be sacrificed on the altar of wildlife. No argument on behalf of human beings will ever be considered by her. Her philosophy is extreme and completely unreasonable and reasoning with her is a guaranteed failure. Simply put, her mind is made up. And you are... wait for it... BANNED!
Phil McCrakin PST May 02, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Its all hear say from hear on out. The May 8th public breifing will explain everything and will determine if they will allow public access to the fcove. The federal government is arguing the fact that it is a man made waterway and is not legally owned by anyone. Im sure even if they do put an official ban on the fcove they will reopen it sometime soon due to the fact that everyone is going to migrate to family oriented places. The over crowding of these areas are going to awaken the eyes of officials and grant access back to the fcove. This is just a theory of mine but it would make perfect sense.
lisa May 02, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Phil, i don't think so. you take those boats from F Cove and send them to Tice's, Silver Bay, Treasure Island and nobody will even notice....whats a few hundred more boats at Tice's???? I think we need to do more like contact the governor and go to the meeting on the 8th but it needs to be in mass, not just ten people....
Mark Story Jenks May 02, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I believe the state of NJ has jurisdiction over all inland waterways (in NJ of course), natural or man made.
Mark Story Jenks May 02, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I should add tidal, I guess.
Rob Malanky May 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
For all the people who'd like to keep the F Cove open to the residents, please help us grow this movement on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/FightClosingFCove
Rob Malanky May 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
For all the people who'd like to keep the F Cove open to the residents, please help us grow this movement on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/FightClosingFCove
MJ May 02, 2012 at 08:05 PM
This is bs. FC is an amazing family fun spot for anybody to enjoy the sun and bay all summer long. Yeah obviously everyone drinks there but that's the whole point and it's all in good fun and fashion. There's a hotdog boat (firehouse caterers) and people doing jet ski tricks and throwing footballs and listening to music. Everyone behaves and if they don't then trust me the hear it from everyone around them because we all are lookin out for each other and do the policing ourselves. Barely anybody pollutes the water there cuz if they do anyone that sees them yells at them and makes them clean it up becuz no one wanted it to get shut down. This is an outrage and ppl will riot. Just for wildlife? Lol that's so dumb and rediculous there's a million other places all around FC that the wildlife can occupy like that huge wildlife park in silver bay. We have to fight this! There's No way they can do this and ruin our summers. It's a landmark and they should just be proud of that and support fcove not shut it down.
MJ May 02, 2012 at 08:06 PM
This is bs. FC is an amazing family fun spot for anybody to enjoy the sun and bay all summer long. Yeah obviously everyone drinks there but that's the whole point and it's all in good fun and fashion. There's a hotdog boat (firehouse caterers) and people doing jet ski tricks and throwing footballs and listening to music. Everyone behaves and if they don't then trust me the hear it from everyone around them because we all are lookin out for each other and do the policing ourselves. Barely anybody pollutes the water there cuz if they do anyone that sees them yells at them and makes them clean it up becuz no one wanted it to get shut down. This is an outrage and ppl will riot. Just for wildlife? Lol that's so dumb and rediculous there's a million other places all around FC that the wildlife can occupy like that huge wildlife park in silver bay. We have to fight this! There's No way they can do this and ruin our summers. It's a landmark and they should just be proud of that and support fcove not shut it down.
John T Vogel Jr May 02, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Good we will have something to tie up to. The party must go on!
John T Vogel Jr May 02, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Applegate cove!!!! Spread the word....It's just south of silver bay. The party must go on!!!!!!!! any questions contact me...john@nulifepavers.com
MJ May 02, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Before or after the bridge?
340 Dancer May 04, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Those who think that they would simply put up a "KEEP OUT" sign are sadly mistaken. Word is they are going to drive a few pilings at the entrance to stop the boats from entering. They took bids a few years ago (which I actually saw) for this task and it never happened. Let's hope it never happens again.
bob May 10, 2012 at 01:12 PM
FIRST they did it @ THE Sedge islands by barngate inlet-[in the 90s]-Now ther DOING IT AGAIN @F-COVE-WATCH OUT BOATERS-THER GONNA BE EYEBALLING TICES SHOALS NEXT-"THEN WHERE DO WE GO"??-BACK TO THE DOCK?-GEE WHAT "FUN"-SOUNDS LIKE ILL BE MOVING OUTA THEGARDEN[OPPS] I MEAN" POLICE STATE" ASAP-[a boating enthusiast whos "had enuff"]
joe May 11, 2012 at 02:32 AM
JB There is nothing wrong with having a good time in the sun on your boat !!!! we only get 3 good months out of the year to be outside comfortably .....and with the price of gas no one is going to drive to TICES so where are all of these boats going to go ? what are we gonna stay docked on a boat all summer long with our thumbs up our asses!! I am an animal lover and are all for wildlife refuge but if you ask me thats an excuse because it has nothing to do with that !!!!!!THE BIRDS ARE NOT BEING BOTHERED!!!
craig May 11, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Hello all. Craig here. If anyone attended the Brick township meeting, I was the first to speak in the Q&A session. We are planning on suing Fish and Wildlife in Federal Court in the next couple of weeks. We will be setting up a dedicated web site as soon as possible to keep everyone informed of our progress. Please stay tuned! We have not yet begun to fight. We have all lost a big part of our freedom due to this unilateral power grab by 2 unelected federal officials (specifically Virginia Rettig and her as-yet-unnamed solicitor). This action can not, and will not, go unchallenged. Virginia Rettig has 47,800 acres to manage in her region of the Edwin B. Forsythe refuge (in just Ocean and Atlantic counties). The F-Cove and T-Cove together comprise less than 1/10th of 1% of the refuge. I'll leave it there for now. More information will be posted ASAP!
Mike May 20, 2013 at 08:29 PM
It's been over a year since the closure of the F-Cove... has anyone seen or heard any updates? We were promised review of the closure and access to reports taken throughout the year to see if any environmental concerns were valid by the weekend recreational usage of the cove by boaters.
Mike May 20, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Hey Craig... any updates on the cove? You seemed to spearhead the fight agains Virginia Rettig's unwarranted decision to close our beloved favorite hang out. If you have any news or updates, please share.
craig May 21, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Mike, hang in there. A press release will be posted later today! I am specifically not allowed to state anything further until the information is made public by the end of day today May 21st!

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