National Parks Recovering from Superstorm Sandy

Superstorm Sandy damage on Liberty Island by Kevin Daley, NPSWeeks after Surperstorm Sandy hit the Northeast, millions of people struggle to rebuild their lives. The humanitarian effects of the storm are widespread: more than 100 lives were lost in the United States, homes and property were destroyed, many were without power for days or weeks, and damage to transportation infrastructure was extensive.

As the hardest-hit communities in New York and New Jersey continue with the cleanup, some National Parks are serving as a staging ground in the recovery efforts. Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn has become a key center for supply distribution, while parking lots at nearby Jacob Riis Park have become crucial to the cleanup effort and are being used as a temporary site for debris removal. In Staten Island, Miller Field is serving as a FEMA staging area.

Extensive flooding caused significant damage to many of the National Parks of New York Harbor including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which remain closed until further notice. Fire Island National Seashore in New York and Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes Sandy Hook in New Jersey, were also among the parks affected by the storm.

At the Statue of Liberty, the pedestal and base (including the main floor and exhibits on the second and third floors) received little or no damage, but all mechanical systems were down because of the storm. Much of the grounds, including brick paving, docks and railings were significantly damaged. At Ellis Island there was also extensive damage to the grounds and mechanical infrastructure, but the museum and archival collections were spared.

The National Park Service has set up a special response team that has been working since the storm to help assess damage and get the parks back up and running. At press time, the team consisted of 526 National Park Service employees from 115 National Park Service units and 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, with more staff continuing to arrive. They have also set up a Facebook page that tracks the progress of the team and includes several before and after photos of affected parks. You can follow along at Addtional photos are available at the Sandy NPS Flickr page.

If you’d like to contribute to the Superstorm Sandy Relief effort, we’ve gathered some resources for finding more information. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has put together a good list of places where donations can be made. To volunteer in New York City, visit For opportunities in New Jersey, visit

Image: Dislodged paving stones on Liberty Island by Kevin Daley, NPS.