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Presque Isle Officials Debunk Report that Park is ‘Splitting in Two’

Posted on July 25, 2016

An investigative report out of a Pittsburgh news station said that Presque Isle State Park is “in danger of splitting in two.”

But is the peninsula really going to break in two?

The report out of Pittsburgh’s WTAE revealed a startling report about the potential of the park splitting, but Presque Isle State Park Operations Manger Matt Greene said that’s not entirely true.

Only a small portion of the park is at risk of breaking from the rest of the peninsula.

“Some truths in that story would be Gull Point,” Greene said. “We have a section of Gull Point, that is narrow and out of the normal kind of recreational use areas of the park that could potentially, sometime break, whether it be tomorrow or 50 years from now, due to wind and wave action.”

WTAE spoke with a Duke University scientist that said the breakwaters that were built in the 90s are adding to the problem.

“Sand just can’t flow behind breakwaters, and that was a critical part of the plan for Presque Isle,” Orrin Pilkey, said in the report.

But Michael Asquith, of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, said it helps slow down beach erosion.

“It think it has succeeded very well,” Asquith said about the breakwaters. “You have to look at the peninsula as a whole, and we have an extremely stable peninsula.”

Greene said the only way sand would not flow within the system is if something is in the way, like a tombolo, which is a bar of sand or shingle joining an island to the mainland.

“That’s why every year we go in and take a look and remove tombolos so that sand can continue to keep feeding beach to beach to beach all through the system, all the way to Gull Point,” Greene said.

After Labor Day, $1.5 millon worth of beach replenishment is planned.

“And that sand does filter in that narrower section of Gull Point and ends up feeding Gull Point at that time, too,” Greene said.

Greene said with Gull Point being such a natural part of the park, they want to keep it as natural as possible and will let Mother Nature take its course.

Greene said there is no reason to worry. All beach and recreation activity is not at any risk.

Source: YourErie

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