Hazlet, Hazlet Township, Monmouth County, NJ
260 acres


Garden State Parkway to exit 117, proceed east on highway 36 to just to the west side of Natco Lake (across from Rose Lane), turn right (south) into parking lot behind restaurant.


There is a booklet available called "Natco Park: An Introduction" by Joan Cardillo, Barbara Lejda, Clare Vetter, Stanley Wnukowski, Robert Weigand and Tim Keating.  The booklet says:

The largest parcel in the assemblage was at one time owned by the National Fireproofing Company (hence the name "NatCo") which mined clay and manufactured fire bricks and hollow tile in a factory building on Rose Lane, north of State Highway 36.  The lake areas on both sides of the highway resulted from the clay mining operations, with considerable mining done below sea level.  Although dikes were maintained around the perimeter of the mining operation and water pumps utilized to keep ground, spring, and rain water out of the pits, a breakthrough in a dike allowed such volumes of water to enter that the company decided it would not be feasible to attempt to dewater the pits.  Included in their reasoning was a declining demand for the clay products, and a diminishing, although not exhausted, clay supply.  

It was in 1978 that the Hazlet Townshsip Committee concluded that continued residential development would soon envelop the Natco Lake area.  Contact was made with the officials of the State of New Jersey Green Acres Program to determine if an acquisition program could be approved.  With a favorable response from the state, a non-binding referendum question was placed on the ballot for the November 1978 General Election in Hazlet Township.  The response was very favorable.  

The New Jersey Green Acres Program approved a grant of a little over one million dollars.  The total assemblage comprised about 216 acres at a cost of about $3 million.  

Natco Park presently totals about 260 acres.  


At 20 feet above sea level, 90% of  Natco Park has been identified as fresh water wetlands.  It could be called a wood-swamp.  The area contains many streams, marshes, a bog and the lake.  

In the 1930s it was thought that it would be possible to drain the water-filled area.  A ditch was dug to connect the lakes and they in turn were ditched to Thornes Creek.  However, at high tide, the bay level is higher than Thornes Creek, so the tide came in and brought salt water from Raritan Bay, mingling it with the fresh water in the lakes.  The lakes are now what is known as brackish water, a mix of salt and fresh.


Steve Glenn/Bryan Dutton/Dr. William F. Standaert/Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Torrey Botanical Society accompanied Steve Glenn, who found this place while he was touring around botanizing in Monmouth County.  

Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven) 6/13/98
Amelanchier canadensis (shadbush)
Betula papyrifera? (white birch?) according to the booklet
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Catalpa bignonioides (catalpa)
Diospyros virginiana (persimmon) 6/13/98
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust) on restaurant property
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)
Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus grandidentata (big tooth aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry) 5/29/99
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus heterophylla (hybrid oak)
Quercus marilandica (blackjack oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus phellos (willow oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus stellata (post oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Quercus x bushii (marilandica x velutina) (Bush's oak)
Quercus x heterophylla (phellos x rubra) (hybrid oak)
Quercus x rudkinii (marilandica x phellos) (Rudkin's oak)
Quercus x saulii (alba x prinus) (Saul's oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) 5/29/99
Salix nigra (black willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Aronia arbutifolia (red chokeberry)
Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepper bush)
Eubotrys racemosa (fetterbush) 5/29/99
Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) 5/29/99near
Gaylussacia dumosa (blue huckleberry) 5/29/99near
Gaylussacia frondosa (dangleberry) 5/29/99near
Ilex verticillata (winterberry) 6/13/98
Iva frutescens (marsh elder)
Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Lindera benzoin (spice bush)
Lyonia ligustrina (maleberry) 6/13/98
Lyonia mariana (staggerbush) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower) 5/29/99
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Rhus copallinum (winged sumac)
Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus sp. (dewberry) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Vaccinium angustifolium (low bush blueberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) 5/29/99
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) 6/13/98
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum (arrowwood viburnum) 5/29/99

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) 6/13/98
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry) 5/29/99
Smilax glauca (sawbrier greenbrier)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower greenbrier)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy) 5/29/99near
Vicia hirsuta (vetch) 5/29/99

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 6/13/98
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium canadense? (wild onion?)
Apios americana (groundnut or wild bean)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 5/29/99
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 6/13/98
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady slipper) 5/29/99
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 6/13/98
Drosera intermedia (spatulate-leaved sundew)
Drosera rotundifolia (round-leaved sundew)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 6/13/98
Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia daisy fleabane) 5/29/99
Eupatorium pilosum (thoroughwort)
Geranium robertianum (herb Robert) 6/13/98
Gratiola neglecta (clammy hedge hyssop) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hieracium caespitosum (yellow king devil hawkweed) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Hypochaeris radicata (cat's ear) 6/13/98
Lamium amplexicaule (henbit)
Linum sp. (Superbum?) (Turk's cap lily?)
Linaria canadensis var. canadensis (blue toadflax) 5/29/99
Listera australis (southern twayblade)
Lysimachia quardrifolia (whorled loosestrife) 5/29/99near; 6/13/98
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) 5/29/99
Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumber root) 5/29/99
Melampyrum lineare (cowwheat)
Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover) 6/13/98
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) 6/13/98
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Myosotis arvensis (forget me not) 5/29/99
Oenothera biennis (evening primrose)
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 6/13/98
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum arenastrum (common knotweed)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil) 5/29/99
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 5/29/99
Prenanthes sp. (Gall of the earth)
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Sagina decumbens? (pearlwort?)
Silene latifolia (white campion) 5/29/99 6/13/98
Sisyrinchium angustifolium (blue eyed grass) 5/29/99
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal) 5/29/99
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 5/29/99
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Thymus serpyllum (wild thyme) 6/13/98
Triadenum virginicum (marsh saint johnswort)
Trifolium aureum (yellow clover) 6/13/98
Trifolium dubium (little hop clover) 5/29/99
Trifolium repens (white clover) 6/13/98
Uvularia sessilifolia (sessile-leaved bellwort)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica arvensis (corn speedwell)
Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell)
Viola lanceolata (lance-leaved violet) 5/29/99
Viola primulifolia (primrose-leaved violet) 5/29/99

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex pensylvanica? (Pennsylvania sedge?)
Eleocharis tenuis var. tenuis (spikerush)
Juncus gerardii (black grass rush)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Andropogon virginicus var. abbreviatus (bushy broom sedge grass)
Andropogon virginicus var. virginicus (broom sedge grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer tongue grass)
Panicum sp. (panic grass)
Panicum virgatum (switch grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass) 5/29/99near; 6/13/98
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass) 5/29/99
Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium obscurum (flat branched tree club moss)
Lycopodium sp. (clubmoss)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)
Woodwardia areolata (netted chain fern)