Only birds allowed to go to Champagne

April 14, 2008 5:15:06 AM PDT

State officials are closing the island off Cape May County to boaters to protect the birds that nest there - terns, piping plovers and black skimmers.

The news comes as a disappointment to boaters who relish the freedom of the sandbar. The state says the boaters - and their dogs - disturb the bird habitat.

State director of Fish and Wildlife David Chanda says there's a chance part of the island could be reopened - if conditions allow it.

Otherwise, conservation officers will be writing tickets to those who try to anchor there.