Ocean County, NJ


Garden State Parkway exit 82 (Toms River/Route 37), take NJ 37 east 4.4 miles to Fisher Boulevard. Travel north on Risher Boulevard for exactly 2 miles and turn right onto Cattus Island Boulevard. This turn is made just after the Bellcrest shopping plaza. The park entrance road is located .1 mile ahead on the left. Another .5 mile will bring you to the large parking area near the Cooper Environmental Center.

History (from the Audubon Guide and website "New Jersey Pinelands Visitor Facilities at a Glance") :

The first European explorer to set foot on what became Ocean County soil was Captain Cornelius Hendrickson, who in 1614 explored the New Jersey coast in the Onrust (or Restless) between the latitudes 38 and 40 degrees. He sailed down Barnegat Bay and located the 300 acres Cattus Island. (Miller, 2000:4-6)

William Dockwra, Secretary and Registrar for the Board of Proprietors in England, bought Cattus Island. (Miller, 2000:44) The "island" has remained a single parcel since 1690 when the Board of Proprietors of the Province of East Jersey divided this coastal region.

In 1758 Joseph Page purchased Cattus Island. On Page's Island farm sheep were raised along with flax and corn crops. (Miller, 2000:99)

It was the Page family, who moved here in 1763, that first settled the island. Timothy Page, born on the island during that year, served in the local militia during the American Revolution. During the Revolutionary War, local residents used the area to bring captured British vessels into the Toms River in order to off load their cargoes. Homesteaders also used the island for farming. Flax was grown, livestock raised, and salt hay cut. Most probably Timothy Page was a privateer, essentially a pirate licensed by the Continental Congress. During the war, British ships were lured into Barnegat Bay through the Cranberry Inlet, only to be attacked and their cargos sold for profit. Cranberry Inlet, an opening to the Atlantic near present-day Ortley Beach, existed between 1750 and 1812. It was opened and closed by strong storms.

After the death of Timothy Page, the family house burned down, and the property was sold to Lewis Applegate. He moved there in 1842 and developed the southeastern section of the island, now named for him. He built a sawmill and a port for lumer boats. The island was sold again in 1867 and was slated to be developed as a resort, but the 1873 depression cancelled the project.

1895  -- John V. A. Cattus, a New York importer and Olympic class athlete, bought the land and developed it as a retreat. Hunting and fishing were the favorite sports of Cattus and his friends. He built a hunting lodge on the island. Cattus also loved boating and owned many boats.  

1964  -- when Cattus died, the land was sold in 1964 by his sons to developers.

1970s -- New state laws passed in the early 1970s limiting development in wetlands and along the coast discouraged the developers.

1973  -- Ocean County purchased this 497 acres of land.  The property was acquired with county tax dollars and state "Green Acres" funds.

1976 --  the park opened to the public.

1977  -- trail development began.

Today Cattus Island is primarily a pedestrian facility featuring Cooper Environmental Center and numerous trails.


Scofield, et. al.

The walk goes clockwise: northeast, northwest, northeast, east, northeast, east to return walk at 12 o'clock; southeast, southwest, west, southwest, west, northwest, southwest.

It is not an island in the true sense. The body of water to the left is Mosquito Cove.

To begin the hike, walk around the center past the directory and bear to the right, through a wooden gate and onto a sandy road. This road, more like a causeway, penetrates the salt marsh that surrounds the slightly higher and dryer land ahead.

Make a left turn onto a footpath just after leaving the marsh. This path is the orange trail, marked by a combination of generous orange pain on trees and occasional concrete posts with arrows. The trail, winding through a pine forest, make a right and swings out to the grassy shore of Mosquito Cove.

A short clockwise circuit (also marked orange) to the cover which may be confusing at the first. Here, rising from the water, are the remains of an old dock.

Leave the dock area, following orange markers through a forest of oak, pines, and enormous thickets of greenbrier. The walking through this aromatic woods is very pleasant. Pass a park bench near the gnarled trunk of an old cedar and enter a holly forest, green in all seasons.

Walk the sand road causeway, bordered by salt marsh on the right and wet lowland forest on the left. Here are stands of pitch pine, red cedar, and other water-loving plants. Towering over the marsh to the right is an osprey nesting site. After about ten to fifteen minutes of walking, the road ends at the narrow, sandy beach that forms the northern tip of Cattus Island.

An extensive vista of black, muddy salt marsh, sliced by drainage ditches, and the forest beyond it is reached. From this vista, the trail swings to the right, then to the left in an open area lined with bayberry bushes. The large clearing and the park benches under tall cedars mark the site where the island's former residents lived.

From the clearing, continue following the orange markers to the left of a bench and back into the woods on a curving forest road. White trail markers are seen here also. The trail makes a series of tight turns through holly trees, only to reemerge near the edge of the salt marsh. A few feet from where the trail turns right is a park bench. From here you will see Applegate Cove on the left and, to the right, the Cooper Environmental Center.

Return to the orange (and white) trail, which winds its way through a dense forest of oak, pine, and holly. After many small turns, the trail emerges onto the main sand road just to the west of the cleared mansion area. Make a left here, walk down the straight lane through the marsh, and journey back to the nature center and parking area.


Linda Kelly; Dorothy Hale

Acer rubrum (red maple) common
Amelanchier intermedia? (shadbush)
Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian shadbush)
Betula populifolia (gray birch) few
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa) 6/10/00
Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)
Diospyros virginiana (persimmon)
Ilex opaca var. opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia) 6/10/00
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Nyssa sylvatica var. sylvatica (tupelo) 6/10/00
Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine) 1
Pinus rigida (pitch pine) common
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pinus virginiana (scrub pine)
Prunus americana (wild plum)
Prunus serotina (wild black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus falcata (southern red oak) common
Quercus marilandica (blackjack oak) common
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak) some
Quercus stellata (post oak) few
Quercus velutina (black oak) some
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix sp. (nigra var. nigra?) (black willow) 1
Sassafras albidum (sassafras) some

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Aronia arbutifolia (red chokeberry) few
Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry)
Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush) few
Chamaedaphne calyculata (leather-leaf)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen) few
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush) some
Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)
Eubotrys racemosa (fetterbush) few
Gaultheria procumbens (checkerberry)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry)
Gaylussacia frondosa var. frondosa (dangleberry) 6/10/00 common
Hudsonia ericoides (golden heather) few
Hudsonia tomentosa (false heather)
Ilex glabra (inkberry holly) 6/10/00 common
Ilex laevigata (smooth winterberry) 6/10/00 some
Ilex verticillata var. ... (winterberry) 6/10/00 few
Iva frutescens var. oraria (marsh elder) some
Kalmia angustifolia var. angustifolia (sheep laurel) 6/10/00 some
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lyonia ligustrina (maleberry) 6/10/00 some
Lyonia mariana (staggerbush) 6/10/00 some
Mitchella repens (partridge berry) 6/10/00 2 small patches
Myrica pensylvanica (northern bayberry) some
Opuntia humifusa (eastern prickly-pear cactus) 6/10/00 1 clump, Center "garden"
Prunus maritima (beach plum)
Quercus ilicifolia (scrub oak) few
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea) 6/10/00 some
Rhus copallina (winged Sumac) 1
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 6/10/00 few
Rosa palustris (swamp rose)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry) 6/10/00 some
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 6/10/00 few
Toxicodendron vernix (poison sumac) 1
Vaccinium atrococcum (black blueberry)
Vaccinium caesariense? (New Jersey B.) lvs glabrous, waxy-white below: Check leaves?
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) common
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) 6/10/00 locally common
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum cassinoides (witherod viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum)
Viburnum nudum (possumhaw viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Viburnum recognitum (northern arrowwood viburnum)

Campsis radicans (trumpet vine)
Cuscuta gronovii (dodder)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) 6/10/00 some
Mikania scandens (climbing hempweed) some
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) 2
Smilax glauca (sawbrier) few
Smilax hispida (bristly greenbrier)
Smilax laurifolia (laurel-leaved greenbrier) 1
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier) common
Toxicodendron radicans var. radicans (poison-ivy) some
Vitis aestivalis (summer grape vine)

Anthemis cotula (mayweed)
Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp dogbane) some
Arabidopsis thaliana (mouse-ear cress)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arenaria serpyllifolia var. serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved sandwort) some
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)
Aster nemoralis (bog aster) locally common
Aster pilosus (heath aster)
Aster prenanthoides (crooked stem aster)
Aster simplex (panicled aster)
Aster subulatus var. subulatus (annual salt marsh aster) 1
Aster tenuifolius (perennial salt marsh)
Aster vimineus (small white aster)
Atriplex patula (halberd-leaved orache)
Baptisia tinctoria (wild indigo)
Barbarea verna (early wintercress)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Bartonia virginica (bartonia)
Bidens cernua (nodding bur marigold)
Bidens coronata (tickseed sunflower)
Cakile edentula (sea rocket)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) few
Chelidonium majus (celandine)
Chenopodium album (pigweed) few
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye-daisy) 6/10/00 few, center "garden"
Cirsium arvense var. ... (Canada thistle) 1, center "garden"
Cirsium horridulum var. horridulum (yellow thistle) 6/10/00 1, Center "garden"
Comandra umbellata var. umbellata (bastard toadflax) 6/10/00 few
Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley)
Coreopsis lanceolata (lancefeaf tickseed) 6/10/ 00 few, Center "garden"
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's Lace) few
Desmodium ciliare (hairy tick trefoil)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 6/10/00 few, Center "garden"
Diodia teres (buttonweed) some
Draba reptans (Carolina whitlow grass)
Draba verna (whitlow grass)
Drosera filiformis (thread-leaved sundew) some
Drosera intermedia (spatulate-leaved sundew) 6/10/00 some
Drosera rotundifolia (round-leaved sundew)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)
Erigeron canadensis (horseweed)
Eriophorum virginicum (tawny cotton grass)
Erodium cicutarium (redstem-filaree) 6/10/00 1
Eupatorium dubium (eastern Joe-Pye-weed)
Eupatorium hyssopifolium (hyssop-leaved thoroughwort)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset)
Eupatorium pilosum (rough thoroughwort) few
Eupatorium pubescens (hairy thoroughwort)
Eupatorium rotundifolium (round-leaved thoroughwort)
Euphorbia ipecacuanhae (ipecac spurge)
Euphorbia supina (milk purslane)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Euthamia tenuifolia (slender-leaved goldenrod)
Galium aparine var. ... (cleavers) 1 small patch
Galium tinctorium (stiff marsh bedstraw)
Geranium carolinianum var. confertiflorum (crane's-bill) 1
Geranium molle (cranesbill)
Gerardia purpurea (purple gerardia)
Gnaphalium obtusifolium (sweet everlasting)
Habenaria clavellata (woodland orchis)
Helianthemum canadense (frostweed)
Helianthus angustifolius (narrow-leaved sunflower)
Hibiscus palustris (swamp rose mallow)
Hieracium caespitosum (yellow king devil) 6/10/00 few
Hieracium gronovii (beaked hawkweed)
Hypericum canadense (Canadian St. Johnswort)
Hypericum gentianoides (orangegrass)
Hypericum hypericoides (St. Andrews cross)
Hypericum mutilum (dwarf St. Johnswort)
Hypochoeris radicata (cat's ear) 6/10/00 common
Iris prismatica (slender blue flag) 6/10/00 few
Jasione montana (sheep's bit)
Kosteletzkya virginica (seashore mallow)
Krigia virginica (dwarf dandelion) few
Lechea maritima (beach pinweed)
Leiophyllum buxifolium (sand myrtle)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Lespedeza cuneata (Chinese bushclover) center "garden"
Lespedeza striata (Japanese-clover) some large patches
Lilium superbum (Turk's cap lily)
Linaria canadensis var. ... (blue toadflax) 6/10/00 few, Center "garden"
Lobelia nuttallii (Nuttall's lobelia)
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil)
Ludwigia alternifolia (seedbox)
Lycopus amplectens (bugle weed) 2
Lycopus virginicus (Virginia bugleweed)
Lysimachia terrestris (yellow loosestrife) (swamp candles)
Melampyrum lineare (cow wheat)
Mentha spicata (spearmint)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) 6/10/00 1 clump
Nymphaea odorata (fragrant white water lily)
Oenothera fruticosa (sundrops) 6/10/00 some
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Oxalis dillenii (yellow wood sorrel) 6/10/00 some
Oxypolis rigidior (water dropwort) few
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago aristata (large-bracted plantain) few
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 6/10/00 some
Plantago major (common plantain) some
Plantago virginica (Virginia plantain) 6/10/00 few
Pluchea purpurascens (salt marsh fleabane)
Polygonella articulata (coastal jointweed)
Polygonum coccineum (swamp smartweed)
Polygonum hydropiper (water pepper smartweed)
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb) few patches
Polygonum sp. (possibly amphibium var. emersum?) (water smartweed?) 1 small patch
Potentilla argentea (silvery cinquefoil) 6/10/00 some
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) few
Ptilimnium capillaceum (mock bishop's weed)
Pyxidanthera barbulata (pyxie)
Rhexia virginica (Virginia meadowbeauty)
Rudbeckia hirta var.  pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)
Rumex crispus (curled dock) 6/10/00 few
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel) 6/10/00 few
Ruppia maritima (widgeon grass)
Sabatia difformis (sabatia (bog star)
Sabatia campanulata (slender marsh pink)
Sabatia stellaris (marsh pink)
Sagittaria sp. (arrowhead)
Salicornia europaea (slender glasswort)
Samolus floribundus (water pimpernel) 6/10/00 few, 1 site
Sarracenia purpurea (pitcher plant)
Scleranthus annuus (knawel) 1 small patch
Scutellaria integrifolia (hyssop skullcap)
Sisyrinchium atlanticum (blue-eyed grass)
Solidago canadense v altissima (tall goldenrod)
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (goldenrod) few
Solidago fistulosa (pine barren goldenrod)
Solidago odora (sweet-scented goldenrod)
Solidago sempervirens (seaside goldenrod)
Sparganium americanum (burreed)
Spiranthes cernua (nodding ladies tresses)
Spiranthes sp. (vernalis or similar species?) (spring ladies'-tressesfew, 1 site
Strophostyles umbellata (wild pink bean)
Taraxacum laevigatum (red-seeded dandelion) 1
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Teucrium canadense v canadense (narrow-leaved germander)
Teucrium canadense var. virginicum (American germander) (Leaves 30+mm. wide) 2, one site
Triadenum virginicum (marsh St. Johnswort) some
Trientalis borealis (star flower) some
Trifolium agrarium (hop clover)
Trifolium arvense (rabbit foot clover) 6/10/00 common
Trifolium dubium (little hop clover) 6/10/00 few large patches
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Trifolium procumbens (smaller hop clover )
Trifolium repens (white clover) 6/10/00 few
Triodanis perfoliata (round-leaved triodanis) few
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail) some
Utricularia subulata (slender bladderwort) 6/10/00 1?
Uvularia nitida (pine barrens bellwort)
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein) 6/10/00 2
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) few
Verbena hastata (blue vervain)
Veronica arvensis (corn speedwell) some
Vicia angustifolia (narrow-leaved vetch) 1
Viola lanceolata (lance-leaved violet)
Xerophyllum asphodeloides (turkey beard) 6/10/00 few
Xyris sp. (yellow eyed grass)
Yucca filimentosa (yucca)

Juncus canadensis (Canadian rush)
Juncus dichotomus (forked rush)
Juncus effusus var. solutus (soft rush) common
Juncus gerardi (black grass rush)
Juncus marginatus (grass-leaved rush)
Juncus tenuis var. dichotomus (rush) some
Juncus tenuis var. tenuis (path rush) common

Carex atlantica var. capillacea (sedge) some
Carex collinsii (sedge) few, 1 area
Carex folliculata var. folliculata (sedge) some
Carex howei (Howe's sedge)
Carex pensylvanica var. pensylvanica (sedge) common
Carex straminea var. incisa (sedge) some
Carex striata var. brevis (sedge) few large patche
Carex walteriana (Walter's sedge)
Cladium mariscoides (twig rush) few, 1 site
Cyperus ferruginescens (large bottle brush cyperus)
Cyperus filicinus (Nuttall's cyperus)
Cyperus flavescens v poaeformis (yellow cyperus)
Cyperus polystachyos (nut grass cyperus)
Cyperus retrorsus (pine barrens cyperus)
Cyperus strigosus (umbrella sedge cyperus)
Eleocharis tenuis var. tenuis (spike rush) some
Eleocharis rostellata (beaked spikerush)
Fuirena pumila (dwarf fuirena)
Fuirena squarrosa
Rhynchospora alba (white beak rush)
Rhynchospora capitellata (small-headed beak rush)
Scirpus americanus (chairmaker's rush) (three square)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)
Scirpus pungens var. ... (common three-square bulrush) locally common
Scirpus robustus (saltmarsh bulrush)
Scirpus rubricosus (pedicelled wool grass)

Agrostis perennans (upland bent grass)
Aira caryophyllea (European hair grass) common
Ammophila breviligulata (beach grass)
Andropogon virginicus var. abbreviatus (bushy broom sedge grass) some
Andropogon virginicus var. virginicus (broom sedge grass) some
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) locally common
Bromus tectorum (downy brome grass) 1 clump
Dactylis glomeratus (orchard grass) few
Danthonia spicata (poverty oatgrass) few
Deschampsia flexuosa (common hairgrass)
Distichlis spicata var. ... (salt-grass) some
Festuca ovina (sheep fescue grass)
Festuca pratensis (meadow fescue grass) some
Festuca rubra (red fescue grass) few
Glyceria obtusa (manna-grass)
Glyceria septentrionalis (eastern mannagrass) few
Holcus lanatus (velvet grass) few, 1 site
Leersia oryzoides (rice cut-grass) few patches
Panicum clandestinum (deer tongue panic grass) few
Panicum columbianum (panic grass)
Panicum dichotomum (panic grass) few
Panicum longifolium (long-leaved panic grass)
Panicum lucidum (shining panic grass)
Panicum virgatum (switch grass) some
Phragmites australis (common reed grass) some
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass) few
Poa trivialis (rough bluegrass) common
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) some
Spartina cynosuroides (salt reed cordgrass)
Spartina patens (salt-meadow cordgrass) common
Vulpia myuros (rattail fescue grass) common

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium alopecuroides (foxtail bog clubmoss) some, 1 area
Lycopodium inundatum (bog clubmoss)
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris thelypteroides (marsh fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) few
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern) some
Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (royal fern) some
Pteridium aquilinum var. latiusculum (eastern bracken fern) some
Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens (marsh fern) some
Woodwardia areolata (netted chain fern)
Woodwardia virginica (Virginia chain fern) few