Sunday, May 13, 2018

Even More History in Your Parks!

Those looking to get outside and enjoy the weather will find an extra dose of history this spring in the Rocky Point section of Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands. The WWII era Battery Lewis has a new permanent walk-through exhibit inside the subterranean installment, which once housed two 16-inch guns that helped protect New York Harbor.

Battery Lewis will have an Open House on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Dedication Ceremony originally scheduled for this date has been postponed due to inclement weather until Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. The exhibit will remain open Thursday-Sunday, May 24 through October from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The exhibit features interpretive panels, replica shells, and an impressive a 16-inch gun barrel mounted on a concrete pedestal to give visitors a sense of size and space. The barrel on display at the park was mounted on the USS New Jersey during WWII.

The Army constructed the Navesink Military Reservation in 1942 as part of the Modernization Program for the Harbor Defenses of the Continental U.S. While Battery Lewis is the only 16-inch gun battery in the state of New Jersey, similar batteries can be found, in varying conditions, in many coastal areas throughout the United States; from Battery Townsley in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco to Battery Harris at Fort Tilton, New York. The Navesink Military Reservation was listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

For more information about military history in the park visit the Hartshorne Woods Park page.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Bicycling is Fun & Great for Your Health

Increasing physical activity can do so much for our health. According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, “Physical activity of the type that improves cardiovascular
Thompson Park, Lincroft
endurance reduces the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes and improves mental health.” There is no better time then right now for you to improve your health and your life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic activity per week for adults, and 60 minutes per day for children. Many of us don't come close to those numbers.

With May being National Bike Month, this is a perfect time to start having fun while getting fit. No matter what your age or weight, recreational biking is a safe, low-impact aerobic activity for all ages. Consider this: a 200 lb. cyclist can burn 546 calories while riding 12 miles per hour. That's a lot of calories, almost the equivalent of a McDonald's Big Mac.

Here are some interesting facts that may give you that extra push to get out and start cycling:
  • Cyclists, on average, live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work for illness.
  • Women who walk or bike 30+ minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.
  • Adolescents who participate in bicycling, in-line skating or skateboarding more than four times a week are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults.
  • In 1964, 50% of children rode bikes to school and the obesity rate was only 12%. In 2004, 3% rode to school and the obesity rate had risen to 45%.
  • The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gasoline a year by increasing cycling by 1% to 1.5% of all trips.
Clayton Park, Upper Freehold
With so many places to go bike riding within your Monmouth County parks, why not give it a shot this month? Popular parks for bike riding include: Clayton Park, Upper Freehold; Henry Hudson Trail; Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands; Manasquan Reservoir, Howell; and Thompson Park, Lincroft. For a full list of the Park System's trails, click here. Don't own a bike? Rentals are available at the Manasquan Reservoir during the warmer months. Details are available here.

In the long run, buying a bicycle is more economical than buying exercise equipment for your home or signing a contract for a gym membership. And it's a great way to get into shape with the whole family, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and reduce your stress level.

Bicycle rentals will once again be available at the Manasquan Reservoir, Howell, this summer. Details will be posted to our website as they become available. Be sure to also keep an eye on our Parks & Programs Guide for upcoming bicycling programs in the parks. 

We'll see you on the trails!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Volunteers in the Parks

Did you know that this week is National Volunteer Week?

At the Monmouth County Park System we pride ourselves on the great number of local individuals who help to enrich the parks through their dedication as "Volunteers in Parks". Every year over 1,000 residents of varying age groups and backgrounds help to make your county parks something special.

The Volunteers in Parks program is ever expanding. Currently, volunteers can be found doing a number of notable jobs, including the following:

Each year, hundreds of volunteers give over 20,000 hours of assistance to your Monmouth County Park System. Though you may not always spot a volunteer, their hard work can be seen in every park you visit. 

And we're always happy to meet new volunteers who are interested in helping their county parks. 

For more information on how you can become a volunteer with the Monmouth County Park System, email us at or call 732-842-4000, ext. 4283.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Break in Your Parks

Spring break is here! If you're looking for ways to get out of the house with your children to get some exercise or learn something new, we have plenty of possibilities to choose from. Just take a look at all the fun you can add to your spring break plans:

Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
  • Take a step back in time with one of the Park System's historic sites. At Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel you can experience life as it was in rural Monmouth County during the 1890s. Open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., visitors can walk through the farm and view costumed interpreters showing both daily and seasonal agricultural and domestic activities. Or head into western Monmouth County for a visit to Historic Walnford in Upper Freehold. Here you can learn about the Waln family and the evolution of Walnford over two centuries - from an 18th century industrial village and family farm to en elegant country estate. Currently the Waln house is closed for interior painting, but all other buildings remain open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Explore the the world around you with TWO environmental centers. The Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, located on Georgia Tavern Road in Howell, offers a variety of
    A turtle in the Reptile & Amphibian Display at the
    Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center
    interactive exhibits to learn about wetlands ecology and wildlife and habitat protection. Tucked within the hills of the Locust section of Middletown, the Huber Woods Environmental Center features hands-on exhibits on Native Americans as well as about our environment. Also available at both environmental centers are our Safari Backpacks which include everything you need to take a self-guided nature walk filled with adventure and exploration. Use of the Safari Backpacks is free, but you must leave a valid NJ drivers license with the docent.
  • Playgrounds offer a terrific place for children to run, jump, climb and play! Your Monmouth County Park System offers nine parks with beautiful playground equipment that will keep your children active for hours. Find the playground closest to you by clicking here.
  • Whether your geared up for a walk, hike or bike ride, you won't find a better place than your
    Bike riding on the trails
    Monmouth County parks! With over 130 miles of trails throughout 21 park locations, you can visit the park closest to you, or explore an area you've never been to. Some favorites include Thompson Park in Lincroft or the Union Transportation Trail in Freehold. Be sure to pick up a brochure when you arrive that will offer a map of the park and the trails. A full list of our parks with trails can be found here.
  • If you're looking to get out some energy indoors, the Fort Monmouth Recreation Center in Tinton Falls has Open Gym times scheduled on various days. During these times you'll find various play equipment available as well as the table games in the lobby. Cost to attend an Open Gym session is $5 per person per day. Check out the Calendar for a full listing of Open Gym times and other upcoming drop-in programs available at the Fort Monmouth Recreation Center.
For more ideas on how you can include the parks in your spring break plans, visit our website at We look forward to seeing you!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Get Heart Healthy in the Parks

Did you know February is American Heart Month? Heart disease is one of the top causes of death in the U.S. But the good news is that becoming more active can assist in reducing your risk of heart disease.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is encouraging people to move more, striving for at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week "that gets your heart pumping and leaves you a little breathless." Though 2 1/2 hours may seem like a lot of time, the NHLBI reminds people that small amounts of activity throughout the day add up quickly and are beneficial.

There are plenty of ways to increase your physical activity, and the Park System wants to remind you that we're here to help!

A terrific way to get moving is to head out for a brisk walk or bike ride on the trails. The Park System has over 130 miles of trails to enjoy throughout the year. Trails are given difficulty ratings to help visitors choose those that are best suited for them:

  • Easy trails are those that are well-maintained or paved and intended for walking or running.
  • Moderate trails are longer and have some grades and/or obstructions. They are intended for hiking, equestrians, and all-terrain bicycles. 
  • Challenging trails are much more primitive with steep grades or obstructions and are intended for more experienced hikers, equestrians and all-terrain cyclists.
  • Paved trails are great for activities such as in-line skating, bicycle riding, or walking with strollers.
  • Fitness trails are a great way to add something extra to your walk/run. These trails offer exercise stations at various points.
  • Nature trails are a great way to view plants, wildlife and environmental features during your walk.
Did you know that during a brisk 30-minute walk you burn approximately 167 calories?
Some of the Park System's most popular trails include the 5-mile perimeter trail at Manasquan Reservoir, Howell; the 4.2-mile Thompson Loop at Thompson Park, Lincroft; the 0.8-mile Fitness Trail at Holmdel Park, Holmdel; and the 1.3-mile Battery Loop at Hartshorne Woods Park (Rocky Point section), Highlands. For details on all of the Park System's trails, click here.

Playing golf is another great way to increase your activity! According to Harvard Men's Health Watch, walking while playing 18 holes of golf "is about equal to brisk walking in terms of intensity." A golfer may walk approximately four miles and burn between 800-900 calories during an average round of golf. If you ride in a cart, this cuts the walking distance down to about one mile and you burn about half the calories.

The Park System offers five championship 18-hole courses, two 18-hole executive courses, and a 9-hole, par 3 course. Our facilities accommodate golfers of all skill levels. Courses maintained by the Monmouth County Park System are Bel-Aire, Wall; Charleston Springs, Millstone Township; Hominy Hill, Colts Neck; Howell Park, Farmingdale; Pine Brook, Manalapan; and Shark River, Neptune. Looking to learn how to play or to improve your game? The Park System also offers a wide variety of classes and clinics during the spring, summer and fall. Check out what's coming up this spring!

Children need to be active too! The Center for Disease Control recommends children get 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This is easy to accomplish by adding trips to the playground into your schedule. Playgrounds offer the perfect place for your child to have fun while running, climbing, and jumping. Playgrounds can be found in a variety of Park System locations including Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck; Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, Atlantic Highlands; Shark River Park, Wall; and Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold.

For a full list of park locations with playgrounds your children will love, click here

"A good starting goal is at least 150 minutes a week, but if you don't want to sweat the numbers, just move more! Find forms of exercise you like and will stick with, and build more opportunities to be active into your routine." - American Heart Association

These ideas are just some of the ways you can get healthy in your Monmouth County parks. There are also a wide variety of sports & fitness programs offered throughout the year for adults and children. From belly dancing to yoga, martial arts to tennis, and so much more, there's plenty to help you get moving. For full details on upcoming programs in the parks, check out the winter and spring volumes of our Parks & Programs Guide

For more information on the Monmouth County parks, check us out at