The 1980s

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Pine Brook Golf Course - 2008

  • Pine Brook Golf Course established. Received gift of 61 acre golf course from Arrow Properties (division of K. Hovnanian) in 1981. Pine Brook Golf Course was dedicated July 13, 1981.
  • Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Program formally established when Special People United to Ride (SPUR) becomes non-profit, partners with Park System, and begins offering programs at Thompson Park
  • First Thompson Park Day
  • 4,200 county park acres preserved (only 0.014% of county’s total 301,805 acres), there are now 20 parks (from 1981 Annual Report)
  • Memorial to the Iranian Hostage Crisis dedicated at Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook.


Theatre Barn 2007

  • Summer Theatre premiers in the Thompson Park Barn with three productions that season.



  • Crosswicks Creek Greenway established. The greenway protects the creek on most of its 6-mile route through Monmouth County, provides boating/fishing access and adjacent property for trails/wildlife habitat. 
  • First Turkey Swamp Park Day held.
  • First Sprint Triathlon held.


  • Historic Walnford established.  Received gift of 36 acres along with historic buildings from Edward and Joanne Mullen in 1985.  The Mullens first gave a partial donation in 1979 held in trust by the Monmouth Conservation Foundation until 1985. Historic Walnford was dedicated December 27, 1979. Full restoration was completed in 2001.   

    Dorbrook Recreation Area
  • Dorbrook Recreation Area established. Purchased first 381 acres. Funds from Federal Land & Water Conservation Funds, a Green Acres Loan and a Green Acres Grant were used for the purchase. Another 140 acres acquired in the 1990s (where Activity Center is today). Dorbrook Recreation Area was dedicated August 8, 1985. Challenger Place and Sprayground open in 2003.
  • First community outreach programs mark the beginning of Urban and Community Recreation Division. 


Bayshore Waterfront Park

  • Bayshore Waterfront Park established.  Over time, Park System bought and rehabilitated over 90 local parcels along Raritan Bay.   
  • First Sunrise Run-Bike-Run held.
  • First Holiday Happening. Held at Thompson Park, this holiday event featured crafts, plants from Deep Cut, nature gifts, gingerbread displays, local choirs, children’s activities, an appearance by Santa and tree-lighting ceremony.  This event was last held in 2002.


  • Voters approve first dedicated Open Space Preservation Tax of $4 million per year on November 3, 1987.
  • First African-American History Celebration held.


Manasquan Reservoir

  • Manasquan Reservoir established.  Negotiated a lease agreement for the first 1,051 acres of reservoir property for perpetual use as a park from the NJ Water Supply Authority. Remaining parcels acquired in the 1990s for the Bear Swamp Tract. The Manasquan Reservoir and perimeter trail opened in 1990. The Visitor Center opened in 1994. The Environmental Center opened in 2001.
  • Outdoor Recreation offers first Canoe Jamboree (with Jersey Paddler) at Turkey Swamp Park. After a few-year break, the event returns as the expanded Outdoor Adventure Expo in 1994, highlighting all the different outdoor activities available in the parks or led by park staff.


  • Annual Park System attendance tops 2.5 million, 5,442 county park acres preserved, over 200,000 people participated in programs (from 1989 Annual Report)