Check Out The Manasquan Reservoir

You may have seen signs for the Manasquan Reservoir while driving around Monmouth County but do you know everything the most popular park in the Monmouth County Park System has to offer?

The 770 acre Manasquan Reservoir, opened in 1991 and visited by over one million visitors a year, is both a vital water source for southern Monmouth county towns and a beautiful, natural setting for recreation and outdoor activities that include woods and wetlands, trails, areas for fishing and boating, a Visitor Center and an Environmental Center.  Entrance to the park is free.

The Environmental Center in Howell is one of two environmental centers in the Parks System.  In operation since 2002, the Center features extensive educational and interactive displays that center on the wetlands ecology and local wildlife and habitat protection.  Park naturalists offer guided walking and boat tours and a variety of free nature programs – from eagle viewing to pond studies. Popular with school and scout groups, exhibits are designed to connect visitors with their natural world highlighting the importance of clean, unpolluted water sources. To that end, free Spring Nature programs are offered on most weekends.

The Environmental Center also sponsors a photography exhibit for youth, amateur and professional photographers.  The theme for the 2021 Photography Exhibit is “The Wonder of Nature” and has categories for each of the four seasons.  Winning photographs are displayed in the Environmental Center. C

Learn how to fish this summer:

Fishing 101 – A Beginner’s Guide to Fishing

Tuesdays, June 22 – August 31, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Please stop by the bait shop for day of registration.
Learn how to rig, bait, cast, and, hopefully, catch your first fish. Come and go at any time. Bait and tackle provided. Open to all ages; under 14 with an adult. Fishing license required for ages 16-69. No groups, please. FREE!  

Water activities are probably the most popular aspects of the Reservoir. Fishing is permitting year-round for large and smallmouth bass, striped bass, tiger muskies, bullhead catfish and panfish species. State fishing licenses are required for anglers 16 and over.

With the boat ramp opening on March 1st, visitors can launch their own watercraft or rent rowboats, electric motor-powered rowboats and kayaks as of April 1.

There are guided pontoon boat tours of the Reservoir beginning in May.  These 45-minute tours are narrated by Park System Naturalists who give an overview of the park and provide opportunities to view local wildlife such as turtles, egrets, herons, ospreys and maybe a bald eagle or two.

The marked trails throughout the Manasquan Reservoir are also popular year-round.  The 5.1-mile gravel Perimeter Trail offers panoramic views of the Reservoir, looping all the way around the reservoir and is suitable for running, walking or biking.  The 1.1 mile Cove Trail is a scenic nature trail that explores the lakeshore around the Environmental Center and is open to pedestrians only.

As part of the larger Monmouth County Park System, the Manasquan Reservoir hosts a multitude of programs for kids, adults, families and seniors. Summer camps, travel programs, therapeutic recreation for special needs populations, school or group outreach, cultural demonstrations, golf, equestrian programs, local history exploration – these and the more than 6,000 other programs offered are accessible by visiting / or calling 732-842-4000 ext. 4312.  

The Environmental Center can be reached at 732-751-9453.

With Summer officially here and whether you are looking to go fishing, boating, take a nature walk on a trail or simply learn more about the wildlife and ecology of the our region, the Manasquan Reservoir is definitely worth checking out.

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