Island Beach State Park

Ocean Co., N.J.

One of NJ's most beautiful stretches of seashore dunes. 10 miles long. 3,000 acre park is divided into three parts, the upper and lower portions are natural areas, while the middle section is used for recreation.


Located near Toms River. From exit 82A on Garden State Parkway, go east on NJ 37 for about six miles, across Barnegat Bay, to NJ 35; turn right there and proceed to park entrance.  Follow signs to Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park.


In 1635 the First Earl of Stirling obtained an area including Island Beach from Charles I of England.  About the year 1662 the Third Earl of Stirling turned the area and his title over to the Duke of York for the payment of 300 pounds a year.  

In 1716, James Alexander fled Scotland to seek refuge in America.  This was necessary since he favored the House of Stuart in the Rebellion.  Alexander was considered by everyone, but the courts, to be the heir to the vacant Earldom of Stirling.  He did, however, fail to register a claim to the title before leaving Scotland.  James Alexander died in 1726.  

William Alexander, born in 1726, was the son of James Alexander.  Due to a considerable inheritance and a wealthy wife, Alexander began a court fight for the title.  In July 1761, William Alexander assumed the title.  

Lord Stirling's land holdings included Island Beach.  In the 1700's, Island Beach was known as Lord Stirling's Isle.  

During the French and Indian War, Lord Stirling was aide-de-camp to Governor Shirley of New York.  Lord Stirling also served as a member of the New Jersey Provincial Council and as a member of the Board of Governors of King's College in New York, now Columbia University.

Lord Stirling distinguished himself during the Revolutionary War.  He served in all major battles of the Revolution, finally being promoted to Brigadier General of the Continental Army.  He died on January 15, 1783, at the age of  57 and is buried in Albany, New York.

As time went on, the only inhabitants of Island Beach were the members of the Lifesaving Service and a few squatters who made shacks from the debris washed ashore.

In 1926 Henry Phipps, partner of Andrew Carnegie in steel making, purchased Island Beach from a group of Monmouth County realtors.  Phipps visualized Island Beach as a fabulous seashore resort with large expensive homes.

Three homes were built, the Ocean House, the Bay House, and the Freeman House.  The Freeman House was named for the first superintendent appointed by Mr. Phipps, Francis P. Freeman.  The Ocean House is presently used for summer residence by the Governor of the State of  New Jersey.

In 1929 the decline of the Stock Market brought a halt to any further building and in 1930 Mr. Phipps died.  

In 1933 the area became the Boro of  Island Beach and Mr. Freeman served as mayor, fire chief, police chief, and president of the board of education.  Mrs. Freeman, who was Augusta Huiell Seaman, author of many girl's mystery books, acted as borough treasurer, collector of taxes, and registrar of vital statistics.

During World War II, Island Beach was a restricted area.  All lease holders had to leave the island.  The Army and John Hopkins University used the area for experimental work in anti-aircraft rocketry.  A supersonic ram-jet rocket made its first successful flight at Island Beach in June 1945.  

In 1953 the State of  New Jersey purchased the 2,694 acres from the Phipps Estate to preserve the natural beauty and also to provide recreational facilities for the people of New Jersey. The park opened in 1959 for the first time under the Department of Conservation and Economic Development.  It is presently regulated by the Division of Parks and Forestry under the Department of Environmental Protection.

around the turn of the century the gathering of eelgrass was one of the principal occupations of the inhabitants of the island. It brought high prices on the Philadelphia and Boston markets.

They worked for the B. J. Kinsey Sea Moss Company of High Point, a place now known as Harvey Cedars.

Funeral directors and coffin makers used it to line coffins.

The eelgrass is bug proof and fire resistant.

Used by the steamship companies for "steerage mattresses." These were used in mattresses of the cheapest making and were discarded after one crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Some prisons also used it for mattresses. It was also used for upholstery in Model T Fords.

The eelgrass was gathered up and loaded into wagons. They were carted to open fields and spread out for drying. The weed was wetted with well water to wash away the salt. After being thoroughly dried the weed was put in the horse press. It was then packed into bales for shipment to metropolitan centers on a spur line that once ran the length of Long Beach Island.

The gathering of the eelgrass continued until 1929 when they had to stop because of a blight that had killed much of the eelgrass and then it disappeared completely.

McMahon, William. South Jersey Towns: History and Legend. 1997 of a 1973 publication. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Torrey Botanical Trip Report:

Island Beach State Park, Ocean Co., N.J., September 21, 1997.

The weather was windy and a little chilly. This, however, did not discourage the good-sized crowd of barrier island botany enthusiasts. The first stop was at the widest point of Island Beach. This area was once home to a hotel and a farm. At one time there was also an eel-grass industry here to gather the natural packing material. In the heart of the martitime forest (which included a small red maple swamp) we found some large species of southern red oak (Quercus falcata). Other trees in the area were Amelanchier canadensis, Ilex opaca and I. opaca var. subintegra, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus rigida, Populis x jacki (balm-of-gilead), Quercus alba, Q. ilicifolia, Q. palustris, and Q.phellos, and Sassafras albidum. Shrubs included Aronia melanocarpa, Clethra alnifolia, Ilex glabra, Rhododendron viscosum and Viburnum dentatum. Some of the herbaceous plants in bloom included Euthamia tenuifolia, Heterotheca subaxillaris, Polygonella articulata, Polygonum punctatum, and Sonchus asper. Not in bloom was the pine barrens goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa).

At lunch time by bath area number one we found skeleton weed (Chondrilla juncea) in bloom. Walking over to the bay side, along the roadside, trail, and dump, the group found in bloom Coreopsis lanceolata, Diodia teres, Eupatorium album, Gnaphalium obtusifolium, Hypochoeris radicata, Mollugo verticillata, Polygonum pensylvanicum, Rosa rugosa and Strophostyles helvula. By the bay side, the group found in bloom Aster subulatus, Baccharis halimifolia, Pluchea odorata, Rudbeckia hirta v. pulcherrima, Sabatia stellaris and Solidago rugosa. Some of the grasses found included Ammophila breviligulata, Cenchrus sp., Distichlis spicata, Eragrosis pectinacea and Triplasis purpurea.

Total attendance was 14. The trip leader was Linda Kelly.  Trip list by Dr. William F. Standaert


Linda Kelly has done most of the work on the botany of Island Beach.  (Karl Anderson provided valuable assistance.)

Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum var. trilobum (red maple) common
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula populifolia (gray birch) 2
Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white-cedar) few
Ilex opaca var. opaca (American holly) some
Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana (red cedar) common
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)
Magnolia virginiana (sweet bay magnolia)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo) few
Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine) 5/23/99
Pinus thunbergii (Japanese black pine)
Populus alba (white poplar)
Populus x jackii (balm of Gilead) 1 5/23/99
Populus nigra (black poplar)
Prunus serotina var. serotina (wild black cherry) common 5/23/99
Quercus alba (white oak) few
Quercus falcata (Spanish oak) some
Quercus marilandica (black-jack oak) some
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus phellos (willow oak) few
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak) 1
Quercus x subfalcata (subfalcate oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras) some 5/16/98
Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese elm)

Alnus glutinosa (European alder)
Amelanchier canadensis (Canada shadbush) some 5/23/99
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry)
Aronia arbutifolia (red chokeberry)
Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry) 5/16/98
Aronia x prunifolia [arbutifolia x melanocarpa] (purple chokeberry) some
Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel-tree) some
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush) some
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
Decodon verticillatus (swamp loosestrife)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) few
Gaylussacia frondosa (dangleberry)
Hudsonia tomentosa var. tomentosa (beach heath) 5/16/98 5/23/99
Iva frutescens ssp. oraria (marsh elder) 2
Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel) few 5/16/98 5/23/99 9/21/97
Ligustrum obtusifolium (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Lyonia mariana (staggerbush)
Mitchella repens (partridge berry)
Myrica pensylvanica (common bayberry) common 5/16/98 5/23/99
Opuntia humifusa (prickly pear cactus)
Prunus maritima var. maritima (beach plum) some 5/16/98
Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak) common
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea) few
Rhus copallina var. latifolia (winged sumac) common
Rosa carolina (pasture rose)
Rosa palustris (swamp rose) some
Rosa rugosa (wrinkled rose) few 5/16/98 5/23/99 9/21/97
Rosa virginiana (Virginia rose)
Rosa wichuraiana (memorial rose)
Rubus argutus (tall blackberry)
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry) 5/16/98
Salix fragilis (crack willow)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sambucus canadensis (common elder)
Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
Vaccinium atrococcum (black blueberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) common 5/16/98 5/23/99
Vaccinium macrocarpon (large cranberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum (arrow-wood viburnum) few

Calystegia sepium ssp. sepium (hedge bindweed) some
Campsis radicans (trumpet-creeper) few sites
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Cuscuta gronovii (dodder)
Hedera helix (English ivy) few, 1 site
Humulus lupulus (hop) 1
Hypericum stragulum (St. Andrew's cross)
Ilex glabra (inkberry) some
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) some
Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) some
Polygonum scandens (climbing false buckwheat)
Smilax glauca (sawbrier)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier) common 5/16/98 5/23/99
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans (poison ivy) common 5/23/99
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis (yarrow) some 9/21/97
Agalinis purpurea (purple gerardia)
Allium vineale ssp. vineale (field garlic) few
Amaranthus retroflexus (rough pigweed)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. elatior (common ragweed) few
Anagallis arvensis (scarlet pimpernel)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Arabidopsis thaliana (mouse-ear cress)
Arctium minus (common burdock)
Artemisia stelleriana (dusty miller) 5/23/99
Artemisia vulgaris var. vulgaris (common mugwort) few 9/21/97
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster dumosus (bushy aster)
Aster fragilis var. subdumosus (aster) few 9/21/97
Aster novi-belgii var. elodes (New York aster) 2 9/21/97
Aster pilosus (var. pilosus?) (aster) some 9/21/97
Aster racemosus (small-headed aster)
Aster subulatus var. subulatus (aster) few 9/21/97
Aster tenuifolius (perennial salt-marsh aster)
Atriplex hastata (spearscale)
Atriplex patula (orache)
Atriplex prostrata (orache) some ?
Barbarea verna (early winter-cress)
Barbarea vulgaris (common winter-cress) 5/16/98
Bartonia paniculata (climbing screwstem)
Bassia hirsuta (hairy seablite)
Bidens bipinnata (Spanish needles)
Bidens connata (swamp beggar-ticks)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Cakile edentula ssp. e. var. edentula (sea rocket) few
Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's purse) 5/23/99
Cardamine hirsuta (hairy bittercress)
Centaurea jacea (brown knapweed)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed) few 9/21/97
Cerastium vulgatum (common mouse-ear chickweed) 5/16/98
Chamaesyce nutans (eyebane) few
Chenopodium album (lamb's quarters)
Chenopodium ambrosioides (Mexican tea)
Chondrilla juncea (skeletonweed) few 9/21/97
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy)
Chrysopsis falcata (sickle-leaved golden aster)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) few 9/21/97
Cirsium horridulum (yellow thistle) 5/16/98 few
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley) few patches 5/23/99
Conyza canadensis var. pusilla (horseweed) some 9/21/97
Coreopsis lanceolata (lance-leaved coreopsis)
Croton glandulosus (tooth-leaved croton)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) few
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink)
Diodia teres var. teres (buttonweed) some
Drosera intermedia (spatulate-leaved sundew) few
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pilewort)
Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia fleabane)
Erigeron strigosus (lesser daisy fleabane)
Erodium cicutarium (storks bill) 5/16/98
Eupatorium album var. subvenosum (white-bracted eupatorium) some 9/21/97
Eupatorium hyssopifolium (hyssop-leaved thoroughwort)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset) few
Eupatorium pilosum (rough thoroughwort)
Eupatorium rotundifolium var. ovatum (hairy round-leaved thoroughwort) few 9/21/97
Eupatorium serotinum (late-flowering thoroughwort)
Euphorbia maculata (milk purslane)
Euphorbia polygonifolia (seaside spurge)
Euthamia graminifolia var. nuttallii (grass-leaved goldenrod) few 9/21/97
Euthamia tenuifolia var. tenuifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod) common 9/21/97
Froelichia gracilis (cottonweed)
Galium aparine (cleavers) 5/16/98 5/23/99
Galium mollugo (wild madder)
Galium tinctorium (Clayton's bedstraw)
Geranium pusillum (small-flowered cranesbill)
Glechoma hederacea (gill over the ground)
Gnaphalium obtusifolium var. obtusifolium (fragrant cudweed) some 9/21/97
Helenium autumnale var. parviflorum (sneezeweed) 2 9/21/97
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hibiscus moscheutos (swamp rose mallow)
Hieracium caespitosum (king devil hawkweed)
Hieracium floribundum (glaucous hawkweed)
Hieracium gronovii (hairy hawkweed)
Hieracium pilosella (mouse ear hawkweed)
?Hieracium x marianum (Maryland hawkweed)
Hypericum canadense (Canada St. Johnswort) 2 9/21/97
Hypericum gentianoides (pineweed or orange grass)
Hypericum mutilum (dwarf St. Johnswort)
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort)
Hypochoeris radicata (cat's-ear) few 5/16/98 5/23/99 9/21/97
Iris versicolor (larger blue flag)
Kosteletzkya virginica (seashore mallow)
Krigia virginica (dwarf dandelion) 5/16/98 5/23/99
Lactuca canadensis var. latifolia (wild lettuce) few
Lactuca serriola (prickly lettuce)
Lamium amplexicaule (henbit)
Lathyrus japonicus var. maritimus (beach pea) 1 patch
Lechea maritima (beach pinweed)
Lemna minor (little duckweed)
Lepidium densiflorum (prairie peppergrass)
Lepidium virginicum (peppergrass) 5/16/98
Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)
Lespedeza striata (Japanese clover)
Limonium carolinianum (sea lavender)
Linaria canadensis (blue toadflax) 5/23/99
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil)
Lycopus americanus (cut-leaved water horehound) few sites
Lycopus amplectens (sessile-leaved water horehound)
Lycopus uniflorus (northern water horehound)
Lycopus virginicus (bugleweed)
Lysimachia punctata (spotted loosestrife) few
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Lysimachia terrestris (yellow loosestrife)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) few
Malva neglecta (common mallow) few
Matricaria matricarioides (pineapple weed)
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 5/16/98
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover)
Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet-clover) few 5/23/99
Mentha spicata (spearmint) few
Mollugo verticillata (carpetweed)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Myosotis micrantha (blue scorpion-grass)
Oenothera biennis (evening primrose)
Oenothera fruticosa (narrow-leaved sundrops)
Oenothera perennis (dwarf sundrops)
Oxalis corniculata (creeping yellow wood sorrel)
Oxalis stricta (upright wood sorrel)
Phytolacca americana var. americana (pokeweed) few
Plantago aristata (bracted plantain)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) some 5/16/98
Plantago major (common plantain)
Pluchea odorata var. succulenta (marsh fleabane) some, 1 site 9/21/97
Polygala cruciata (cross-leaved milkwort)
Polygala verticillata (whorled milkwort)
Polygonella articulata (coast jointweed) common 9/21/97
Polygonum arenastrum (dooryard knotweed) few
Polygonum cespitosum var. longisetum (cespitose knotweed) few, roadside 9/21/97
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum hydropiperoides (false water pepper)
Polygonum lapathifolium var. lapathifolium (nodding smartweed) few 9/21/97
Polygonum pensylvanicum (Pennsylvania smartweed)
Polygonum persicaria (lady's thumb knotweed)
Polygonum punctatum var. punctatum (dotted smartweed) 1 large patch
Portulaca oleracea (purslane)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil) 5/16/98
Potentilla recta (rough-fruited cinquefoil)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 5/23/99
Proserpinaca palustris (common mermaid weed)
Prunella vulgaris (self heal)
Ptilimnium capillaceum (mock bishop's weed)
Ranunculus bulbosus (bulbous buttercup)
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) 1 9/21/97
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel) few 5/23/99
Rumex crispus (curly dock) few
Sabatia campanulata (slender marsh pink)
Sabatia stellaris (sea pink) some, 1 site 9/21/97
Salicornia europaea (slender glasswort)
Salicornia maritima (glasswort) some, 1 site ?
Salicornia virginica (perennial glasswort)
Salsola kali ssp. kali (saltwort) some
Samolus floribundus (water pimpernel)
Scleranthus annuus (knawel) 5/16/98
Sedum acre (stonecrop)
Senecio vulgaris (common groundsel)
Silene latifolia (white campion)
Sisymbrium altissimum (tumble mustard)
Sisyrinchium angustifolium (narrow-leaved blue-eyed grass) 5/16/98 5/23/99
Sisyrinchium atlanticum (eastern blue-eyed grass) 5/23/99
Smilacina stellata (star-flowered false Solomon's seal)
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle nightshade)
Solanum nigrum (black nightshade)
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod)
Solidago fistulosa goldenrod some 9/21/97
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)
Solidago odora (sweet goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa ssp. r. var. rugosa (goldenrod) few 9/21/97
Solidago sempervirens var. sempervirens (seaside goldenrod) common 9/21/97
Sonchus arvensis (field sow-thistle)
Spergula morisonii (Morison's spurrey) 5/16/98 5/23/99
Spergularia marina (salt marsh sand spurrey)
Stellaria graminea (lesser stitchwort)
Stellaria media (common chickweed)
Strophostyles helvula (wild-bean) few
Suaeda linearis (Southern seablite)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion)
Teesdalia nudicaulis (shepherd's cress) 5/16/98
Teucrium canadense var. canadense (American germander) 1
Thlaspi arvense (field pennycress)
Tradescantia occidentalis (western spiderwort)
Triadenum virginicum (marsh St. Johnswort) some
Trientalis borealis (starflower)
Trifolium arvense (rabbitfoot clover)
Trifolium dubium (little hop clover)
Trifolium campestre (low hop clover)
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Trifolium repens (white clover) 5/16/98
Triodanis perfoliata (Venus's looking glass)
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Utricularia sp. (bladderwort)
Vallisneria americana (water-celery) common
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena hastata var. hastata (blue vervain) 2
Veronica arvensis (corn speedwell) 5/16/98
Veronica peregrina (purslane speedwell)
Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell)
Vicia angustifolia (narrow-leaved vetch)
Viola arvensis (filed pansy)
Viola lanceolata (lance-leaved violet)
Xanthium strumarium var. canadense (common cocklebur) few
Xyris torta (slender yellow-eyed grass)
Yucca filamentosa (bear-grass) few

Juncus biflorus (large grass-leaved rush)
Juncus bufonius (toad rush)
Juncus canadensis (Canada rush)
Juncus dichotomous (forked rush)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus gerardi (black grass) 5/16/98
Juncus marginatus (grass-leaved rush)
Juncus pelocarpus (brown-fruited rush)
Juncus scirpoides (scirpus-like rush)
Juncus secundus (secund rush)
?Juncus tenuis var. platyphyllus (eastern rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex albolutescens (sedge) few
Carex exilis (coast sedge)
Carex kobomugi (Japanese sedge)
Carex nigromarginata (sedge)
Carex silicea (sea beach sedge)
Carex swanii (Swan's sedge)
Carex umbellata (umbellate sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea var. ambigua (yellow-fruited sedge)
Cladium mariscoides (twig rush)
Cyperus bipartitus (umbrella sedge) some
Cyperus dentatus (toothed cyperus)
Cyperus esculentus (yellow nut sedge)
Cyperus filicinus (Nutall's cyperus)
Cyperus flavescens (umbrella sedge) 1 9/21/97
Cyperus grayii (Gray's cyperus)
Cyperus retrorsus (pine barrens cyperus)
Cyperus strigosus false nutsedge some 9/21/97
Fimbristylis autumnalis (autumn fimbristylis)
Fimbristylis caroliniana (Carolina fimbristylis)
Eleocharis tenuis var. tenuis (spikerush) common
Rhynchospora capitellata (clustered beak rush) few
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)
Scirpus pungens (common three-square bulrush) some 9/21/97
Scirpus robustus (salt marsh bulrush)

Agrostis hyemalis (ticklegrass)
Agrostis perennans (autumn bentgrass)
Agrostis perennans var. elata (autumn bent grass)
Agrostis stolonifera (creeping bent grass)
Aira caryophyllea (silvery hairgrass)
Aira praecox (early hairgrass) some
Ammophila breviligulata (American beach-grass) some
Andropogon virginicus var. abbreviatus (bushy beardgrass)
Andropogon virginicus var. virginicus (broomsedge grass) some, roadside 9/21/97 soon
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) 5/16/98
Bromus japonicus (Japanese brome grass)
Bromus racemosus (upright brome grass)
Bromus tectorum (downy chess grass)
Bromus willdenowii (rescue grass) -- might be gone now
Calamagrostis cinnoides (pine barrens reed grass)
Cenchrus longispinus (field sandbur)
Cenchrus tribuloides (dune sandbur) few
Chasmanthium laxum (slender spike grass)
Dactylis glomeratus (orchard grass)
Danthonia spicata (poverty oatgrass)
Digitaria ischaemum (smooth crabgrass)
Digitaria sanguinalis (large crab-grass) common 9/21/97
Distichlis spicata (marsh spike grass) some 9/21/97
Echinochloa crusgalli (barnyard grass)
Echinochloa walteri (salt marsh cockspur grass)
Eleusine indica (goose grass)
Elymus virginicus var. virginicus (Virginia wild-rye) 1 patch
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Eragrostis pectinacea (Carolina lovegrass)
Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass) few 9/21/97
Festuca ovina (sheep fescue)
Festuca pratensis (meadow fescue)
Festuca rubra (red fescue)
Holcus lanatus (velvet grass)
Lolium perenne (ssp. perenne?) (perennial ryegrass) few
Lolium temulentum (darnel)
Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimble will muhly grass)
Panicum amarum (beach panic grass)
Panicum amarulum (southern beach panic grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panic grass)
Panicum columbianum (Columbia panic grass)
Panicum commonsianum (common's panic grass)
Panicum dichotomiflorum (spreading panic grass)
Panicum dichotomum (panic grass)
Panicum lanuginosum (woolly panic grass)
Panicum leucothrix (matting panic grass)
Panicum rigidulum var. pubescens (panic grass) some
Panicum scoparium (velvet panic grass)
Panicum sphaerocarpon (round-fruited panic grass)
Panicum virgatum var. virgatum (switch-grass panic grass) common 9/21/97
Paspalum setaceum var. psammophilum (prostrate beard grass)
Paspalum setaceum var. muhlenbergii (beard grass)
Phleum pratense (timothy grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass) some
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)
Ruppia maritima (ditch grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium ssp. littorale (little bluestem grass) some 9/21/97
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria geniculata (perennial foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Setaria viridis (green foxtail grass)
Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)
Spartina patens (salt meadow cordgrass)
Spartina pectinata (prairie cordgrass)
Sphenopholis obtusata (early bunch grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
Triplasis purpurea (sandgrass)
Vulpia myuros (rat's-tail fescue)
Vulpia octoflora (six-weeks fescue grass)
Zostera marina (eelgrass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium appressum (southern bog clubmoss)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) some
Osmunda cinnamomea var. cinnamomea (cinnamon fern) some
Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (royal fern) few
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens (marsh fern) some
Woodwardia areolata (netted chain fern)

Cetraria arenair (lichen)
Cladonia cristatella (British soldiers lichen)
Cladonia subtenuis

David Snyder writes that Oenothera oakesiana seen, but not collectated at Island Beach.

ISLAND BEACH. Field trip to New Jersey Coast and Pine Barrens June 26-27, 1942. Our transportation had been very carefully arranged by Dr. Small, and we caught here the bus going southward to Seaside park where we were to stop for the night. After lunch, again through the careful planning of Dr. Small, we went by automobile southward to Island Beach, one of the wildest places on the New Jersey coast. This area forming the northern barrier-beach of Barnegat Bay is many miles in length and since it has been kept under private ownership it is still relatively undisturbed. The dunes of the oceanside were especially colorful with carpets of Hudsonia tomentosa, the yellow flowers projecting only an inch or so above the shifting sand. Here the prize find was Carex macrocephala, now to be called Carex kobomugi. The staminate and pistillate plants are separate in the species, which forms deep-rooted mats in the shifting dunes. Except for a station at Cape Henry, Virginia, it is not otherwise know on the Atlantic coast; its presence is undoubtedly due to marine shipping.
Crossing to the bayward side, all of our party were greatly pleased with the large trees of various sorts which had been dwarfed and cut into fantastic shapes by the wind. Here were junipers, hollies with trunks a foot or so in diameter, splendid examples of the southern red oak (Quercus falcata) which reaches its northern limit at about this area, and large patches of our native cactus (Opuntia compressa).

Some of us were even more interested in the vast and variable number of blueberries which filled the bushes in the damp hollows. Some of these hollows had sphagnum with the pink orchid (Pogonia ophioglossoides) and in one of the little depressions were plants of the smallest of the bladderworts, Utricularia cleistogama. In all these hollows there were also plenty of mosquitoes.

This long tongue of land is only a few hundred yards in width and the sheltered bayside was soon reached. Here just above the high-water mark were vast rows of the so-called ditch grass (Ruppia maritima), cast up by the tide, and just one fragment of the related Zannichellia was found. Along these beaches were numerous plants of the sow thistle (Sonchus arvensis) with attractive large yellow flowers, a species not common in our region.

The salt marsh just to the southward was investigated by some of the members, in spite of the mosquitoes, and here were found numerous clumps of Kosteletzkya virginica, a mallow characteristic of salt marshes and reaching its northern limits on Long Island and the Hackensack Meadows. By this time some of the members of the group had become isolated in various blueberry thickets and others were already beginning the homeward journey of three or four miles to Seaside Park. Among the interesting plants along the road were several clumps of roses of which the identify has not yet been established. In one of the roadside ditches were found two clumps of purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, hitherto unreported from this region. Leaders: E. J. Alexander and H. K. Svenson

Small, John A. "Island Beach." Torreya June 1945, Vol 45, #2: pp. 33-35.  Island Beach is a sand bar nine miles long. It is less than half a mile across except for two places where its width approaches three quarters of a mile. It is separated two and one half to four and one half miles from the mainland by Barnegat Bay. At the present time it is not an island but a peninsula joining the mainland at Point Pleasant, several miles to the north. The part of the peninsula above Island Beach has been developed to varying degrees as summer resort areas, the adjacent one being Seaside Park. Barnegat inlet forms the southern boundary. One very old map shows an inlet just north of Island Beach. This has been closed certainly well over a century.

Politically, Island Beach is a borough, though almost unpopulated. Originally it was a part of three townships, though always as a small, disconnected remnant across the bay. This made fire protection and policing almost non-existent. Vandalism and the fire hazard discouraged owners and retarded real estate development. When the Barnegat Bay and Beach Company acquired almost exclusive ownership some years ago they petitioned the Legislature to make it a borough for its own protection. This was done. The area has since been held as a real estate investment. The only means of access, other than boat, is from Seaside park via a service road which extended half the length of the Borough until completed by the army as a defense measure.

With the successful development of a state park program, the development of such a park at the seashore was an obvious suggestion. The Division of Forests and Parks of the State Department of Conservation and Development was interested. A recommendation for such use of the land was made later by the State Planning Board.

In the spring of 1940 legislation was introduced to disincorporate the Borough and return the land to the three townships. Faced with the possibility of having its property without adequate protection, the Barnegat Bay and Beach Company advertised that should the legislation be enacted the area would be laid out in "trailer lots: and placed on the market. The legislation was not enacted but the eyes of people with diverse interests in Island Beach had been opened to the possibilities, and the possibilities were not pleasant. Regaining a clear title to the area after its subdivision and sale to thousands of small owners would be neither easy nor cheap.

In November of 1940 a meeting was called by Governor Moore. Representatives of State departments, local governments, civic groups, societies, and individuals were invited to discuss the possible future of the area. A member of the National Park Service gave general information on the establishment and administration of reservations under their jurisdiction. Many possibilities were presented. It was decided to appoint a committee to approach members of the legislature for their views and for information on the probability of purchase and development of the area by the State. The group was reassembled on August 30, 1941 and the committee reported that responsible members of the legislature saw no prospects of the State being able to finance a proposition of this size. There was general agreement among the many groups represented that the greatest hope of saving this area from commercialization lay in getting it under the administration of the National Park Service.

Came the war. This exposed and almost uninhabited area was immediately placed under constant surveillance. It has remained under army control and more or less closed to civilians. In 1942 when the army's projection of the roadway to the end of the bar was decided upon, the Chief of Engineers was advised of the unique and important natural history embodied in the area.

During the past two years there has been a considerable reorganization of the state government in New Jersey. In the course of this a Department of Economic Development has been set up. One of its acts has been a survey of projects of public works that might be undertaken should it become desirable for the State to supplement business and industry in the maintenance of employment levels. Among the recommendations to the Governor was that of acquiring Island Beach for development as a state park and public playground. One of our members, Dr. George H. Shull, addressed an open letter to the Governor opposing this recommendation in view of the importance of maintaining the status quo in this last example of such an area. There has been some exchange of ideas on the philosophy of public beach and playground to be used by a great many as compared with the preservation of a natural area to be used by relatively few. No one has objected to the acquisition and development of some equally or more desirable site for public use but there is no other area suitable for preservation as a natural seashore area in New Jersey, and quite possibly none the equal of Island Beach north of Cape Hatteras.

Dr. Shull, the writer, and others have been taking advanced classes to Island Beach for study over a period of years. Many other interested groups have been conducted over the area. The Torrey Botanical Club selected this and the pine barrens for its 75th Anniversary foray as the two most unique and important areas within its range. If we should preserve representative pieces of natural vegetation as museum pieces for posterity, here is what Island Beach has to offer: 1) beach vegetation for nine miles on the open ocean and an equal distance on the bay; 2) dune vegetation in all stages of its dynamics; 3) dune thickets; 4) dune hollows; 5) fresh marsh; 6) salt marsh; 7) acres of Hudsonia heath; 8) coastal plain forest; 9) southern white cedar swamp; and 10) bog.

The last three of these plant communities are of particular interest in their resemblance, on a miniature scale, to the similar communities constituting the well know pine barrens of inland southern New Jersey. May it be that we are seeing here the floristics that once occurred on that area?

In view of the turbulent history of Island Beach, its present unified ownership, and the relatively moderate disturbance that has thus far occurred, it seems unlikely that there will be a more opportune and desirable time of transferring it to the status of a natural history preserve, if it is deemed worthy of the preservation. The National Park Service remains interested and seems the most desirable administrative agency. The initiative must be taken by the State, an enabling act must be passed by the Congress, and, perhaps most difficult of all, the land must be purchased.

New Jersey College for Women
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ