SANDY HOOK BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
The SHBNMS has seen significant recreational use for centuries.
The following recreational activities (in no particular order) have occurred over those years:
And undoubtedly there are more and we look forward to adding them to list. It is almost a miraculous realization that this water resource can provide so much joy to so many so close to where we live.
NMS status will not directly affect any of those recreational activities. As such, there will be no new regulations beyond those that already exist, and activities that occurred before the NMS designation will continue to occur after the NMS designation.
But the existence of the NMS will reinforce the notion that these waters are a shared resource. The waters are not owned by any one interest; they are owned by all. A strong understanding of that notion will enable more equitable discussions when confusions arise. It will be difficult to argue that there should be no fireworks on or near the NMS. There have been fireworks on the NMS for decades, if not a century. However, if there were fireworks on the NMS every night, other viable and valuable recreational uses of the NMS (such as, just gazing and dazing) will become suppressed and these balances need to be continuously evaluated on a community level.
It is highly unlikely that daily powerboat races will be an optimal feature of the NMS, but an occasional powerboat racing event (maybe on July 4 with fireworks to follow) will not harm the NMS, and, as a whole, will pay homage to the culture and history of the NMS.
There are very significant indications that the existence and use of a transparent and shared resource results in a better understanding of courteous behavior. This occurs in National Parks where vandalism or discourteous behavior can be more effectively addressed by education and appeal to the common good than by enforcement. On land this is expressed in reductions in littering and vandalism, and, in an NMS, may result in higher levels of courtesy with regard to persistent noise and vessel wakes.