Stafford Township, Ocean County
965 acres


From the intersection of the Garden State Parkway and Route 72 (Exit 63), go east on Route 72 toward Long Beach Island, 1.5 miles to Route 9. Then go north on Route 9, 0.1 miles to a traffic light at Bay Avenue. Continue straight and make the next right onto Stafford Avenue. Go straight, through one blinking light. 0.9 miles, across Hilliard Avenue. Past Hilliard, the road turns to dirt. You have entered Manahawkin Wildlife Management Area.

(For maps see:


Manahawkin means Menach'hen, "island" and hawkers, "Place."

Manahawkin comes from the name of the Native American tribe in the area. The actual name means "a place where there is good land" or "a good place for corn." (Miller, 2000:33-34)

1740  -- start of a village at Manahawkin. 


woodlands, fields, salt marsh


64 acres of bottomland hardwood forest

Views: Barnegat Lighthouse, Ol' Barney, is to the northeast; the bridge to Long Beach Island is to the south.

Linda Kelly, Manahawkin W.M.A., Beach Avenue off Hilliard Road, 7/26/02
 * = blooming on 7/26/02

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Quercus alba (white oak)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush) *
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Hypericum stragulum (St. Andrew's cross) *
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry)

Apios americana (groundnut)*
Mikania scandens (climbing hempweed) *
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax pseudochina (halberd-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Aletris farinosa (white colic root)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Bartonia virginica (upright bartonia)
Cicuta maculata (common water hemlock) *
Cirsium horridulum (yellow thistle)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) *
Drosera rotundifolia (round-leaved sundew)
Eupatorium hyssopifolium (hyssop-leaved thoroughwort) *
Eupatorium pilosum (rough boneset) *
Euphorbia nutans (upright spurge)
Hieracium gronovii (hairy hawkweed)
Lespedeza cuneata (Chinese bush clover)
Lespedeza striata (Japanese bush clover)
Lilium superbum (Turk's cap lily) *
Linum sp. (flax)
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) *
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil)*
Ludwigia alternifolia (seedbox) *
Oenothera perennis (small sundrops)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) *
Polygala nuttallii (Nuttall's milkwort) *
Polygala sanguinea (purple milkwort)*
Pycnanthemum incanum (hoary mountain mint) *
Rhexia virginica (wing stem meadow beauty)*
Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)
Tipularia discolor (cranefly orchis) *
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed)

Juncus biflorus (two-flowered rush)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)

Carex folliculata (folliculate sedge)
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)
Scirpus pungens (common three-square bulrush)

Andropogon virginicus var. abbreviatus (Virginia broom sedgegrass)
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Chasmanthium laxum (wild oats grass)
Danthonia sp. (poverty grass)
Eragrostis spectabilis (purple love grass)
Glyceria canadensis (rattlesnake mannagrass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panicgrass)
Panicum virgatum (switch panicgrass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Lycopodium alopecuroides (foxtail clubmoss)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)

Manahawkin W.M.A., Stafford Avenue and Hilliard Road
Aedes solicitans (salt marsh mosquito)
bridge over to Island Beach

Morus alba (white mulberry)
Quercus phellos (willow oak)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Cephalanthus occidentalis (button bush) *
Decodon verticillata (water willow)
Rosa palustris (swamp rose) *

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed) *
Polygonum scandens (climbing false buckwheat)
Strophostyles helvula (annual woolly bean) *

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) *
Asclepias syriaca (swamp milkweed) *
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) *
Diodia teres (buttonweed) *
Eupatorium rotundifolium
Gnaphalium sp. (cudweed)
Hibiscus mocheutos (swamp rose mallow) *
Hypochaeris radicata (cat's ear) *
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) *
Lespedeza sp. (bush clover) *
Lysimachia terrestris (swamp candles)
Myriophyllum sp. (water milfoil)
Nuphar sp. (pond lily)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) *
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed) *
Plantago aristata (bracted plantain)
Polygonum pensylvanicum (Pennsylvania smartweed) *
Polygonum hydropiper (mild water pepper) *
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Solanum nigrum (black nightshade) *
Solidago odora (sweet goldenrod) *
Utricularia sp. (bladderwort) *
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena hastata (blue vervain) *

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Cyperus echinatus (globe flatsedge)

Bromus tectorum (downy chess grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Elymus virginicus (Virginia wild rye grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Spartina cynosuroides (big cordgrass)
Tripsacum dactyloides (gamma grass)
Vulpia sp. (fescue grass)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

Field trip report:

Forsythe National Wildlife Preserve, Manahawkin Section, Ocean County, NJ. April 18, 1998.

The trip leader was Rob McCombe and he relates that the federal government bought this section of land in the mid-1990s to protect a large population of swamp pink (Helonias bullata). They found numerous early Helonias blooms on the trip.

Bartonia, June 2002, pp. 162-163.