The Wildwoods, NJ – January 9, 2024 – The Wildwoods are a vacation resort that strives to be sustainable and prides itself on being environmentally responsible. Local government agencies, businesses, and residents are working together to make the Wildwoods the most sustainable and resilient destination possible.
Sustainability and achieving a positive or zero environmental footprint have gained significant importance within the tourism industry. With resorts now symbolizing important societal values, tourists increasingly expect these establishments to enhance their eco-friendliness. The Wildwoods have successfully embraced this trend by implementing numerous sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing the resort’s environmental impact.
“We are embracing initiatives that significantly reduce environmental impacts on our tourism ecosystem,” explained Lou M. Belasco, Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA) Executive Director. “The community should be proud of its vital role in helping to achieve our goals, as we continue to make sustainability a priority in the Wildwoods.”
The following list highlights the sustainability initiatives taking place in the Wildwoods:
Daily Beach Clean-Ups for a Cleaner Ocean
Beachgoers arriving early in the morning to the Wildwoods’ expansive beaches may be hard-pressed to find any litter on the beaches. This is because the cities of Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and North Wildwood are committed to keeping the Wildwoods’ beaches clean on a daily basis. Teams of workers from each of the three municipalities arrive before dawn during the summer months to clear the beaches of debris left behind by beach-goers the day before. This dedication to clean beaches not only makes beach visits a pleasure; it also helps to prevent that debris from washing away into the ocean.
These workers are broken down into teams which utilize different equipment to assist in the clean-up process. Trash cans are emptied, and discarded items such as broken beach chairs, umbrellas, and shovels are removed by hand and by a large trash truck that picks up the trash cans and dumps them into the large, attached dumpster.
Tractors also sweep the beaches, dragging giant rakes. These rakes collect the majority of trash that was left on the beaches, leaving behind tidy, fresh sand, ready for another day in the sun.
Love Blue Public Cleanup Stations
Visitors to the beach play an important role in helping to keep the Wildwoods clean, by collecting and disposing of their own trash after a day at the beach. Love Blue, founded in Wildwood Crest in 2019, has made this simple role even easier for beach goers with the installation of Public Clean Up Stations at Rambler Road in Wildwood Crest and at the North Wildwood Inlet. Beachgoers are encouraged to borrow a bucket from inside the station’s cabinet while spending their day on the beach; and once filled, dump it into the trash or recycling bins in the back of the station. The organization also holds weekly beach cleanups in the spring, summer, and fall, and is always looking for volunteers. Visit https://www.loveblueinc.org/ for more information.
Fishing Line (Monofilament) Recycling Program
Conscious of the dangers of fishing line to marine life, which can get tangled up and/or killed by the improperly disposed-of material, the Wildwoods have partnered with the Surfrider Foundation and South Jersey’s Monofilament Fishing Line Recycling Program, with the support and partnership of TackleDirect. Monofilament recycling receptacles where fishermen can discard their unwanted monofilament line have been installed at popular fishing locations and launching ramps throughout the Wildwoods by Surfrider Foundation South Jersey volunteers. Visit: https://southjersey.surfrider.org/
An Eco-Conscious Wildwoods Convention Center
The Wildwoods Convention Center, located on the Wildwoods Boardwalk, has taken steps to promote an environmentally friendly atmosphere by replacing paper towel holders with hand dryers. This has resulted in paper towel usage being reduced by more than 60%. The facility also offers water coolers to reduce plastic waste. Each employee is asked to bring in a microwave-safe coffee cup and reuse the cup each day. The facility also recycles broken office equipment such as monitors, printers, and fax machines through the City of Wildwood’s recycling program.
The Convention Center and its staff have adopted the theory: “If it does not need to be on and if it’s not being used, turn it off.” Light sensors are installed in service areas such as break rooms and locker rooms that will automatically turn off lights when rooms are not in use. Also, using the newest, energy-efficient light bulbs and high bay fluorescent fixtures uses 60% less energy while providing the same lumen capability and lasting four times as long. Visit: https://wildwoodsnj.com/convention-center/.
From parking lots, to businesses, to hotels, amusement rides and more, the Wildwoods have embraced the clean energy of solar power, signifying their long-term commitment to the community and sustainability.
The Wildwoods Convention Center harnesses the power of the sun with its rooftop solar panel array. The solar electric system minimizes the venue’s impact on the environment, energy usage and overhead. The rooftop solar array, developed by Tioga Energy of San Francisco and constructed by Pro-Tech Energy Solutions of New Jersey, supplies 24% of the venue’s overall energy usage per year and reduces the facility’s carbon footprint by 179 tons annually.
At Morey’s Piers, a 1,050 SunPower 435-watt panel solar canopy covers the Morey’s Piers parking lot, located on Ocean Avenue between Juniper and Ocean Avenues, providing renewable energy for Morey’s Surfside Pier. Solar panel systems can also be seen on the Pan-American and Port Royal Hotels, as well as other properties throughout the resort.
Battery-Powered Tram Cars
With a zero-carbon footprint, the Wildwoods Tram Cars are among the most efficient, sustainable, and eco-friendly modes of transportation in the Wildwoods. For those who prefer not to walk the entire two-and-a-half-mile stretch of Boardwalk, these mass transit alternatives in the form of brightly colored, electric-powered tram cars are the way to go. “Sightseer” tram cars travel along the Wildwoods Boardwalk regularly, shuttling visitors from one end of the Boardwalk to the other, while making regular stops to pick up and drop off riders. Each tram car is powered by a single, 2,000-pound electric battery that allows them to operate for 12 hours at a time when fully charged. The eco-friendly tram cars are celebrating 75 years of operation on the Wildwoods Boardwalk in 2023 and are famous for their heads-up announcement to Boardwalk pedestrians: “Watch the tram car, please.” Visit: https://www.dooww.com/tramcar.
Wildwoods Grand Gateway Environmentally Protective Flood Mitigation Project
The Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders, GWTIDA, and resort officials opened the $13.7 million, Cape May County-led gateway enhancement in 2020. The project included road reconstruction, streetscape, and utility projects, stretching from 1,300 feet west of Susquehanna Avenue (near the existing eastern abutment joint of the George Redding Bridge) to Artic Avenue in the City of Wildwood.
The need for the project arose due to chronic, year-round flooding and traffic congestion issues. The new design addresses these issues by improving traffic flow and mitigating flooding, thanks to raised, wider streets, a new traffic pattern, additional turning lanes, and a new storm water pumping station.
The Grand Gateway alleviates traffic congestion along the Rio Grande corridor, and improves drainage and evacuation capabilities, mitigates flooding and is a visual stunner, with new nostalgic Doo Wop style signage, lighting, streetscapes, and architecture. Visitors are invigorated by the aesthetics, and residents are benefitting year-round by the project’s dramatic visual and functional improvements.
Prior to the Gateway improvements, it was common for flooding and road closures to occur at Susquehanna Avenue due to the low elevation of the intersection and inadequate drainage facilities. The new Gateway mitigated chronic flooding by elevating portions of the roadway by up to 36”, which is above the historical high-water flood depths, and the installation of a dual chamber storm water pump station. The station measures 39’x48’ and has approximately 8 feet of interior storage depth. Seven pumps were installed in two separate chambers, three of which work in unison to pump storm water. The remaining four pumps discharge runoff and provide the city with the ability to connect off-site storm sewers into the pump station to assist in alleviating municipal flooding throughout the city. The $2.25 million pump station was funded in large part by a FEMA grant of $1.864 million dollars.
Traffic congestion common along the beautiful, newly paved, four-lane street corridor was alleviated by widening roads, adding turning lanes and incorporating new ADA-compliant traffic signals. Safety of travelers by car, bus, bicycle or on foot was greatly improved by the wider roads, the installation of ADA-compliant pedestrian sidewalks consisting of stamped, colored concrete that resembles boardwalk planking, and the addition of bicycle lanes on both sides of the corridor. Visit: https://wildwoodsnj.com/the-wildwoods-nj-new-grand-gateway-welcomes-visitors-with-color-lights-and-doo-wop-nostalgia/.
The Wildwoods are a vacation resort that strives to be “green” – not only by recycling and eliminating wasteful practices, but by promoting and maintaining itself as a “walkable” resort community, especially in the spring, summer, and fall months. Walking is one of healthiest ways of getting around, not to mention one of the “greenest,” and this environmentally-friendly way of getting around becomes an afterthought once you start strolling down the world-famous wooden walkway that spans for two and a half miles across two towns – enjoying the ocean view, water parks, amusement piers, and shops.
If peace and quiet is what you seek while in the Wildwoods, miles of FREE and clean white-sand beaches offer an ideal location to take a mind-clearing, invigorating walk along the shoreline. The Wildwoods beaches are also a fun place to spend a FREE and nature-friendly day with family and friends. The Wildwoods beaches have even been named “New Jersey’s Top Beaches” in a survey sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, “Best Beach in New Jersey”, by USA Today, and “One of the Top Ten Best Beaches for Families in the US” by Family Vacation Critic.
The Wildwoods are also home to a smooth and inviting bike route that allows bikers and skaters to take in the Wildwoods’ beautiful scenery while getting exercise pedaling around the island. The bike route spans a majority of the island’s perimeter, taking riders around the entire island – through the island’s Doo-Wop district, on the famous Wildwoods Boardwalk alongside the beautiful beaches, and past the historic 135-year-old Hereford Inlet Lighthouse. And don’t worry if you didn’t pack your bike for the trip – the Wildwoods have bike rental shops spread throughout the island that rent out all kinds of bikes for fair prices.
For more information about the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 800-992-9732.