Cattus Island Park Trails Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"Cattus Island Park is on a peninsula dividing Silver Bay from Barnegat Bay. If you could see it from above after the tide has flooded the marsh, you’d see why it’s called an island. The last private landowner was New York importer John V. A. Cattus who used the property as a private retreat for hunting and fishing. The area was first opened to the public as a county park in 1981. Salt marshes make up 70 percent of the 500-acre tract, with cordgrass and marsh elder the primary salt-tolerant plants.
Among the other three hundred species are false heather, lady’s slipper, turkey beard, sweet pepperbush, and blueberry. Prickly pear cactus makes a brilliant appearance in June, while holly and pine add a touch of color during winter. Stop in at the Cooper Environmental Center upon arrival. The 5000-square-foot solar energy building houses excellent educational exhibits and affords a closeup look at some of the critters you’re likely to meet on the trail. These include the eastern king snake, the most common in the area, and the black rat snake, which can grow up to 9 feet and is one of New Jersey’s largest. Hands-on displays and a mural of life beneath Barnegat Bay add to the enjoyment. A naturalist is always on hand to answer questions."