Bathtub Beach Dune Restoration Complete and Park Open



Bathtub Beach reopens to pleased beachgoers

By Nicole Rodriguez

Friday, May 28, 2010

HUTCHINSON ISLAND — Martin County's Bathtub Reef Beach officially reopened to the public Friday, just in time for the holiday weekend.

And local beachgoers and tourists couldn't be more pleased.

"It's beautiful here," said Lucy Gobin, who's visiting from New Hampshire. "I was looking for the perfect place to snorkel, and I heard this is the place."

Bathtub Beach has been closed to the public since October because of extensive erosion, which exposed tree stumps and large chunks of concrete. For the past few months, the beach has undergone a massive dune restoration.

"Bathtub Beach is a benchmark beach for people from all around the world," said Ted Garrod, the county's assistant administrator. "The county is very excited about the beach reopening."

About 35,000 cubic yards of sand from the Intracoastal Waterway near Sailfish Point was placed along the coastline to protect the parking lot, park pavilion and MacArthur Boulevard.

The newly resurrected dunes should last up to 10 years, depending on the number and scale of storms that strike the coast. Bathtub Beach has experienced periodic closures since 2007 because of storm damage.

"We've also planted some nice vegetation on the dune," Garrod said. "It really is a nice completion of the project."

Large crowds of excited beachgoers are expected to descend on the sands of Bathtub Beach this Memorial Day weekend.

"We're expecting to have a full house this weekend," Garrod said. "Lifeguards will be on duty for the public's safety."

Already beachgoers were out Friday.

"People are really enjoying it out here (Friday)," lifeguard Sam Mahoney said. "They did an outstanding job restoring the beach. Everybody is really impressed."

The world-renowned beach, which has graced the pages of such publications as National Geographic, is famous for its near-shore worm rock reef. The proximity of the reef to the shore makes wave conditions ideal for children and toddlers.

"We won't go to the other beaches like Jensen Beach because it's too rough," said Leigh Ann Davis, who's visiting from Georgia with her husband and their 3-year-old twin boys. "My mother-in-law told us this was the first day the beach would be reopening, so we were really excited."