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Readers' Choice: What's the Best Park in Toms River?

We've got a lot of parks to use, so which is your favorite?

March 9 Update: As the poll closed at 9 a.m., Cattus Island County Park has 91 votes, and Huddy and Winding River parks both have 22 votes. Thanks for voting.

When you are tired of being stuck in traffic, or the rows of semi-similar houses are starting to get to you, Toms River also thankfully has hundreds and hundreds of acres of parks to escape into.

It's everything from the tremendous playground of Castle Park, to the soccer fields on North Bay Avenue, to the scenic trails of Winding River to the bayfronts of Shelter Cove and Ortley Beach to the downtown waterfront of Huddy Park to the hiking trails of Riverwood Park. And those are just a few of the township's parks (full list here).

A major county park is in Toms River: Cattus Island. The county park's offices are a park itself, sitting on 35 acres just north of Cattus Island, and there's also the small Riverfront Landing park on the Toms River, downtown.

Which one is your favorite and why?

Do you love how Huddy Park is ground zero for a bunch of interesting festivals, or how you can spot an egret among the marshes of Cattus Park?

It's the perfect time to debate which park is best, in our humble opinions. The weather is warming up and the outdoors are calling our names, inviting us for a walk, jog, or game of tennis like never before.

Voting for your favorite places is easy. All you have to do is:

  • Cast your ballot.
  • Tell your friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, doctors, letter carriers and anyone else you know to do the same.
  • Use our comment tool to tell us what makes your favorite the best. Is it what the park offers, or lacks? Is it the environment it provides? 

The voting goes until 9 a.m. on Friday so you have plenty of time to vote. The winner will be announced at noon Friday. If there is a tie it will be decided by which location has the most positive comments and reviews on their Patch Places page. 

Editor's Note: Because this poll is not scientific, it is not the sole consideration in choosing a winner. The winner will be determined by the Patch editor, based on poll results and reviews on Patch Places. Please vote only once per survey, per Patch.

. March 02, 2011 at 06:40 PM
I love sitting on a bench at Huddy Park and just watch the ducks and geese. Very tranquil. I also like when the Farmer's Market is there.
Mustafa Yazici March 02, 2011 at 08:52 PM
I like Cattus Island. It has many things to do. Sometimes we go to the activity center and we look at the exhibits and there is many activities there. There is also a good playground there.
Robert Bressman March 05, 2012 at 12:50 PM
except for Huddy Park and Cattus island none of these places qualify as a park, they are either ugly ballfields or they are soccer fields. sky view park is nothing more than an outdoor bar and contractor hang out, would any mother want to bring their kids there even in broad daylight. At one point the leaves were so deep in the so called picnic area the leaves were knee deep, garbage all over the place, why do I have to call for the town to clean up the mess, the Ymca, you want to qualify to me how that is a Park? Somebody should really take a look around before you make a list of so called parks, a park is Central Park where you can go and relax, not these little dumps we have.
Minden Yo March 05, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Cattus, the wildlife, the scenery! Awesome trails, osprey, deer, boardwalk and long road you can bike on. Love it!
Project Bluebeam March 05, 2012 at 01:42 PM
The state of decay in Wining River Park is sad to say the least. The Sun Valley entrance looks like a discharge drain from a waste treatment facility. The The bike path is cracked, patched, and water damaged. The natural aroma of the pines has been replaced by the stench of stagnant swamp water. Picnicking amenities are non-existent outside of the ball field area across from the skating rinks, and there is no one there to stop people from driving their cars on the bike paths (along Oakridge Pkwy). If you want to see junior's game, get off your duff and walk.
getinvolved1 March 05, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Forget about the nicest- how bout we all list the worst and that way maybe they will get fixed up. Riverwood park is a shambles. Dangerous old structurs falling down. No bathrooms other than a porta poddie. The original wooden sign from 1967 is rotting away. Rusty old grills that you cant even cook on. A walking path that is loaded with dangerous areas and fallen trees. On the positive there are 2 new playgrounds of modest proportions.
Sean Conneamhe March 05, 2012 at 06:26 PM
"Huddy Park."
. March 05, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Why are we printing the same article from a year ago? That is when I made my first comment.
cindy March 06, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Well, I know that money is tight and parks are not in the forefront because of corruption amongst other things but maybe the school groups can offer their services to the town and get some money for their causes. The township then does not have to hire new employees with benefits and the kids do not have to do car washes and bag at supermarkets. It may be something to consider.
cindy March 06, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Send in the inmates to clean them up as well. Just because they are in jail it doesn't mean they can't be productive on some level.
Robert Bressman March 06, 2012 at 08:30 PM
The town is using the open space tax that has doubled since they did the reassessment of the town. It's pretty pathetic that they pay a guy on Sunday to go around and pick up the containers of beer bottles and cans at Skyview with taxpayer money. I did suggest to the Mayor they should just open a bar there and make some money since drinking there is non-stop. You read the sign as you enter the park as to what they can and can't do there and every rule they have is broken, sometimes I wonder why they even have rules , because they are never enforced. Frankly I don't think the leaders of this town care about the parks, it's just something they can pound their chests about, look what we've done for you! Anyone who goes to the different parks like I do and reads the articles I write about their lack of competence in cleaning the parks knows I'm right about my criticisms of the job this towns does with their parks and open space land.
John Pine March 09, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I dont understand the bad comments about Winding River Park. That's one of my favorite parks, lots of beautiful Pines and nice lakes too. As far as the swamp odor someone commented about, that's the smell of freshwater swamps. The bike path looks recently resurfaced. Only problem is the way they tore up the area by the memorial lake, was that really neccesary? Cattus Island is also very nice as well. Just outside of Toms River is Jakes Branch Park, which is by far my favorite park in the area.
Project Bluebeam March 09, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Do you remember Winding River park when it was built in the 70's? It used to have a playground, a ball field, picnic tables, and BBQ grills down by the Sun Valley entrance. Now there's nothing. There used to be canoe trips and you could ride you bike on the path and never run into a CAR. (The Department of Parks, Buildings & Grounds and the TRPD really needs to address this.) I guess when you have seen the park in its prime in contrast with what it looks like now, you just get aggravated.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) March 09, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Just a reminder our poll closes at 9 a.m. So far Cattus Island County Park has kept its substantial lead.
Eggs-n-Toast March 09, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Reading about Cattus Island, brought back some memories of that area of TR and I have a jog-your-memory-Old-Timers question for you all: I grew up on Bay Ave - about 1/2 mile or so west of the Fischer Blvd and Bay Ave intersection. As kids (late 60's) we went everywhere on our bikes, hitting a few places of interest along the way, from the Snug Harbor area, to Shelter Cove, to Stewart's Root Beer, etc. I had friends in the Bell Crest neighborhood, So I was frequently in and out of that area. I don't remember how I discovered this place, or who showed it to me originally, but there used to be a long, winding, narrow path through the woods somewhere off The Cattus Island Blvd / Mercer Dr. area.(?). After a good 20-minute walk, as I remember it, this path would eventually bring you to the bay, with a very small beachy-sandy area, a small, 8-10 ft bulkhead, and a tiny, old, abandoned beach house. It looked very much like this painting you can see here (although it's not the same place): http://www.amazon.com/Jacqueline-Penney-Island-Retreat-Poster/dp/B000O1YVPK I used to spend hours back there, mostly alone or with a friend now and then, and I remember watching horseshoe crabs gathering all along the bulkhead there at certain times of the year. Back then (pre-Ciba Geigy pipeline) the bay was clean and beautiful- full of sea life. Anyone else remember this area back then, and is this now the Cattus Island Park / trail of today?
holyhhh March 09, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Keep building!!! Keep building roads that will not be maintained! Keep building homes in an grossly overpopulated area that doesn't have properly updated road systems! Keep building parks that cannot be maintained due to budget cuts and hiring freezes of public employees! Keep building CVS's, RiteAids, Walgreens that will be empty next year! Build another walmart and let the existing one sit vacant for years and years! Build an indoor tennis facility that only the 1% can afford to use! Build a 2 million dollar animal shelter!!
I B buggin April 23, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Have you been to Riverwood lately? There is a brand new playground. Granted, there are no real bathrooms, but I don't stay longer than a hour or two.
Debbie-Joleen Gallo-Faber July 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I agree with holyhhh on everything but the animal shelter. Those poor animals are in shelters through no fault of their own, and they deserve better than the existing shelter. My girl scouts tore down and rebuilt their outdoor dog pen last July, and that was only 1 major repair that needed to be done. It's nice to have beautiful parks for we humans to visit, but let's remember that civilizations should be judged on how we treat our most helpless creatures; ie- the elderly, the young, the infirmed, and yes, the animals. Yes, keep up with our parks, but don't take out your frustration on government's mismanagement of funds on thrown-away pets.

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