SHARK RIVER PARK
Neptune township, Monmouth County, NJ
587 acres

A park along the Shark River.


Directions:

Take the Garden State Parkway south;  get off at NJ-33;  turn south on Schoolhouse Road. Turn right at the Shark River Park entrance.  


History:

Bates Property; Wall Township; acre.  The Bates property is an in holding of the Shark River Park in Wall Township. The County requested that the Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) aid them in the purchase of the land and house as an addition to the park. MCF negotiated a price and closed on the property in October 1998. The property was sold to the County in 1999.
(Source: http://www.monmouthconservation.org/land.html)


Habitats:

coastal river; floodplain; sandy hills; cedar swamp and sphagnum bogs.  


Trails:

You can take a circular walk on this often-wet, green and red blazed trail clockwise going east, then south, then west, and finally northwest back to the parking area.  

The first Park System park, acquired in 1961, attracts people who like fishing, hiking, ice skating and cross country skiing and also those of you who like a friendly game of shuffle board or horseshoe pitching. Moms can spread a picnic under the trees while the children play in the playground. The shelter building is for groups to rent and for general public use. Enter this 586-acre park from Schoolhouse Road, south of Route 33 in Neptune Township.

Bridge Loop  -- an easy trail for walkers that crosses the Shark River. 

Cedar Trail  -- an easy trail for all that includes the Fitness Trail.  The trail is a 1.4 mile loop that goes through the Atlantic White Cedar bog on the way to Gully Road parking area on the east side of the park.

Hidden Creek  --  a moderate trail that explores many park environments in a multiple use 3 mile loop.   

Rivers Edge  -- a challenging trail that provides a very primitive acces to about 3/4 of a mile of the Shark River stream bank. 

Pine Hill  - a moderate trail that takes the hiker to the "hills" of Shark River Park.  The trail is  1.5 miles one way from Cedar Trail.


PLANT LIST:
Linda Kelly


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)
Fraxinus sp. (ash)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce)
Pinus rigida  (pitch pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Clethra alnifolia  (sweet pepperbush)
Eubotrys racemosa (fetterbush)
Gaultheria procumbens (teaberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex glabra (inkberry)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel)
Kalmia latifolia  (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron) planted
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter azalea)
Robinia hispida (bristly locust)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry)
Vaccinium sp. (a low-bush blueberry)

Vines:
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax glauca (sawbrier)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)

Herbs:
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Drosera sp. (sundew)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Typha sp. (cattail)
Xyris sp. (yellow-eyed grass)

Rushes:
Juncus acuminatus (sharp-fruited rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Cyperus sp. (flatsedge)
Rhynchospora sp. (beakrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Grasses:
Andropogon virginicus var. abbreviatus (Virginia bush beardgrass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Panicum dichotomiflorum (fall panic grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine clubmoss)


Trip Report:

Weekend before Thanksgiving, November, 2002.  Went with the informal trip leader north on the Bridge Loop Trail and then southeast to the pond.  Then crossed over Schoolhouse Road by the trails entrance.  Went off trail down to a cranberry bog area.  Trip leader: Linda Kelly.  Attendees: Patrick and Rosemary Cooney.