Thousands of Christmas trees donated to repair sand dunes in New Jersey

Cars lined up at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey to drop off Christmas trees that will be used to bolster the sand dunes. ( New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection )

New Jersey residents in cars lined up over the weekend to donate their discarded Christmas trees to reinforce the sand dunes at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County.

The response from the public—more than 2,000 trees—far exceeded the state's original goal to collect 200 Christmas trees over the weekend, the Department of Environmental Protection posted on Twitter.

"These donated trees will help to improve our dune system by filling in areas where dune growth is needed the most," the DEP wrote on Facebook. "The trees help to capture sand that is blown and grows the dune at a much faster rate than they would naturally."

Hundreds of Christmas trees were donated to improve the sand dunes at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection)

Sand dunes provide a habitat for many types of birds and about 400 plant species and also protect the coastline from hurricanes and other storms.

The DEP also asked for volunteers to help move the trees into specific areas on Saturday, the Asbury Park Press reported. But the volunteer slots filled fast, the department said, so registration is now closed.

Island Beach State Park doesn't need any more Christmas trees. However, other parks in the state are still collecting them. The DEP said park sites that still need them are accepting donations through Jan. 31.

With The Associated Press

Hundreds of Christmas trees were donated to improve the sand dunes at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection)

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