As Pandemic Peaks, County Commissioner Ginny Haines Wants to Know Who Has Biggest Shaft in Ocean County

TOMS RIVER, NJ – This weekend, Ocean County witnessed its highest ever number of COVID-19 positive cases and nearly two dozen new deaths, as Ocean County Commissioner Ginny Haines, age unknown, is out and about measuring shafts across the county.  Haines announced this week that she wants to see who has the biggest trunk in the county.  With many of the county’s restaurants and small businesses struggling and drug use and depression become an epidemic in Ocean County, Haines is interested in big shafts.

With measuring tape in hand, Ocean County Commissioner Virginia E. Haines, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation, along with Michael Mangum, Director of the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation, measured the girth of the shaft of the Sweet Gun Tree at Mott Place in Toms River this week.

The tree height of 70 feet and the crown spread of 68 feet makes it a perfect candidate for the county’s Big Tree list, to see who has the biggest one in the entire county.

“This tree is probably 100 years old if not older,” Haines said, who may remember the tree as a young sapling. “We have big trees gracing lands across this County. We want to know about them in order to preserve and protect them. Big trees play an important role in the health of our environment and ultimately our health.”

While waiting to get their COVID-19 vaccination shot, finding the county’s largest girth trunk can be a great way to pass the time until the county begins taking new COVID-19 vaccination appointments.  At this time, the county has paused taking appointments, but you can submit your trunk size to Haines at any time.

To nominate a big tree, visit the Ocean County Parks Facebook page (@OceanCountyParks), or the Ocean County Parks website to find the necessary forms, as well as instructions as to how to measure your trunk’s girth and length.

“Big trees provide up to 600 times the environmental benefits of typical trees,” said Ocean County Commissioner Virginia E. Haines as COVID-19 cases spiked in her county. “It is important that these trees are documented to keep them from being removed.”

“The Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation has always taken great pride in educating our residents on proper conservation,” said the Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn. “With the help of our residents, we can continue our ongoing conservation efforts and make sure our trees are protected.”

To see if the county is scheduling COVID-19 vaccines, visit  In the meantime, get your yardstick out and start measuring shafts and trunks in your neighborhood to see if the big one is hiding in your own backyard.

For more information on the Big Tree Registry, contact the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation’s administration office at 732-506-9090 ext. 5941 or email