Since the early 1900s, the property on Cloverdale Road, totaling about 85 acres, had been used as an active cranberry farm. The three cranberry bogs on the property will be used as an active cranberry demonstration farm as part of the park.
The park is designed for passive recreation and also includes walking trails, environmental interpretation with a visitor center and outdoor classroom. Group programs will be available. The park will be open seven days a week and the visitor center will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ocean County acquired Cloverdale Farm in Barnegat Township in 2004. Katherine Collins, the local cranberry farmer in town, previously owned the farm. Mrs. Collins had lived on the property for over 50 years with her husband William.
There are several historic buildings located on the property. Along with a farmhouse, there is a cranberry sorting house where the cranberries had been sorted and stored before being shipped out for processing. Much of the original equipment and storage bins remain to this day. The Mill Creek stream runs through the property.
Since its acquisition, the County has been in the process of acquiring permits from the State to upgrade the facility and to begin using the property as an active cranberry demonstration farm. Once completed, visitors will be allowed to observe the actual day-to-day operation of the farm from cultivation and growing to the harvesting and sorting of the native cranberries.
An arson fire that destroyed the visitor center set back the park’s development. While no injuries were reported in the March 2010 fire, the visitor’s center, which was a two-story building that dated back about 100 years, was destroyed by the blaze along with displays and information relative to the park’s history.