The Monmouth County Park System began in 1960 when the Board of Chosen Freeholders acquired the first county park. The Monmouth County Park System started humbly enough, using 24 acres of surplus land leftover from construction of the Garden State Parkway to create Shark River Park, Neptune. An immediate success, 5,971 visitors enjoyed the parks open space and picnic areas when it opened in 1961.
Today, Shark River Park, now totaling 991 acres, is still popular. On any given day, shrieks of delight can be heard coming from children at the playground while hikers take in the wonders of nature along the trails. Picnickers enjoy the shelter building while a sports program is held in an open field.
Thanks to the Park System, this scene can be found in locations throughout the county. Stretching over 17,797 acres, the Park System has 43 parks and golf courses of parks, forests, gardens, wetland/marine habitats, golf courses, historic sites, recreation areas and conservation properties. Each year approximately 5,000 recreation programs are offered through the Park System.
The Monmouth County Park System was the first Park & Recreation agency in the nation to receive accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) in 1994 and is one of only 89 such agencies in the nation to have done so and the only agency in New Jersey.
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