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Nature trails, scenic boardwalks, birding, photography, conservation area, environmental education, crabbing, cross-country skiing, fishing, picnic area, playground, scenic overlooks, and accessible environmental center (currently closed) and restrooms.


The unspoiled beauty of nature is the main attraction at Cattus Island County Park. This environmentally sensitive park spans just over 500 acres and boasts several miles of trails, many offering lovely vistas of the adjacent Barnegat Bay. Cattus Island is home to the Cooper Environmental Center, where visitors of all ages will enjoy hands-on displays along with collections of live reptiles and fish. Every weekend, the Cooper Center staff run programs throughout the day. The park also contains a beautiful Butterfly Garden. Nature discovery backpacks and bicycles are available for free use by the public between 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. - please inquire at the office trailer.

1 Cattus Island County Park

A 300 acre island, now known as Cattus Island, was originally part of Gawen Drummond's tract, a Proprietor from Scotland. In 1758, it became known as Page's Island after Joseph Page acquired it. His son, Timothy Page, a local militia man during the Revolution, raised his ten children, grew flax (for weaving), raised sheep (for wool), and cows (for dairy production) on the island farm. Lewis Applegate bought Page's Island after Timothy's death in 1840. The island then became fknown as Applegate's Island, The cove lying directly south of the island where Lewis had a thriving saw mill business is still known as Applegate Cove.

John V.A. Cattus, a wealthy New York importer of Canton china and Siberian dog hair, used in making carriage robes, bought the island in 1895 when it was known as Gilmore's Island. Mr. Cattus, also a sportsman, used the island as a pleasure resort, complete with a hunting lodge to entertain his wealthy New York friends. Because the island was a natural feeding ground for migratory birds, ducks, and snow geese, his guests always enjoyed weekends of successful hunting. In those days, eagles nested in the tallest trees and osprey soared among the ceders, holly, and oak trees. An avid sailor, Mr. Cattus won many trophies in Barnegat Bay yachting races.

The heirs of Mr. Cattus sold the island to the County of Ocean in 1964. The Board of Chosen Freeholders subsequently  constructed a nature center and turned the surrounding areas into an environmental preservation area.

2 Miller, Pauline.


"Cattus Island County Park." Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OCParks/ContentPage.aspx?ID=0751673c-9513-4ecc-8f3e-3e65b0f2ec45. Miller, Pauline. Ocean County: Four Centuries In The Making. Toms River, New Jersey: Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, 2000. 441.