Information About the Pine Barrens
Pine Barrens is part of 1.1 million acres of the Pinelands National
Reserve, which ranges from northern Ocean County south and west,
and occupies 22% of New Jersey's land area. It is the largest
body of open space on the Mid-Atlantic seaboard between Richmond
and Boston, covering vast areas in Ocean, Burlington, Camden,
Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Atlantic Counties.
MAP OF NJ (PDF)
vast region is 45 percent, or about 493,000 acres, publicly owned.
There are numerous State parks and forests
here, including Brendan T. Byrne, (formerly Lebanon), Wharton, Bass
River, Belleplain, Island Beach and Colliers Mills. There are
also many county and municipal parks
throughout the area. The adjacent maps of the Pinelands are courtesy
of the New
Jersey Pinelands Commission. Click on either one to view
an enlarged version.
a detailed interactive map of the Pinelands in pdf format
that includes most roadways, click
YOU KNOW....That you can view detailed maps
of every county in New Jersey from NJ DOT's website?
"pygmy" pines, a stunted variety the pitch pine, can be seen at
their best on Route 72 which runs northwest from Stafford Township
through to Burlington County and beyond to the Philadelphia area.
County Route 539, running from Little Egg Harbor north, also
has many great views of these mysterious trees in the southern area.
Further north on 539 you'll find the "Forked
River Mountains" . Many think that the terrain
is flat in Ocean County. It may not be the Rockies, but there are
many scenic vistas from this region where one can see for miles. several
groups and organizations, such as the Forked
River Mountain Coalition
offer hikes through this area. The hills are gently
sloping for the most part and much of the footing is "sugar sand".
pines throughout this area live in a mutaully beneficial relationship
with oaks. The oaks grow tall, eventually blocking out the
sun to the pitch pines, causing them to weaken. Fire is actually
a friend to the pines. With the intense heat of the flames,
the pine cones "pop", allowing the seeds to sprout, thereby bringing
about new growth. Driving long Route 539 south of Route 72, you
can see the site of the forest fire of 2007 that burned over 16,000
arcres of Pinelands. Here stand hundreds of pines, some of
which are dead, but others have sprouted new branches after their
old ones were burned Pine saplings are now growing, as are other
species of flora indigineous to the Pine Barrens.
cedars can also be found in the region. The wood of the cedar
was once a valued commodity in building. Red cedars were valued
for chest and closet linings and the white cedars for the many fishing
boats which residents depended upon to make a living in the bays.
Today many local craftspersons use cedar for creating a multitude
of items. Its berries are a popular food for many birds, and
its foliage is heavily browsed by white-tailed deer.
of families have lived "off the land" here in the Pine Barrens;
are rich and colorful. Many "forgotten towns" are scattered
throughout the region. A drive along the many dirt roads which wander
through state forest can go right by the ruins or foundations of
towns that were once bustling with activity. Two great books describing
the history of towns both thriving and forgotten, such as Ong's
Hat, Eagle, Harrisville, Waretown, Calico, Mount Misery and more,
Towns of Southern New Jersey" and "More
Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey", by H.C. Beck.
To see some wonderful photos of lost towns, be sure to visit Michael
Hogan Photography, or South
Jersey Unpaved, another site with great photos and many
good links, especially for 4WD fans.
favorite spot of mine is the Brooksbrae Brick Factory, sometimes
referred to as the Pasedena Terra Cotta Factory. It was destroyed
by fire in the early 1900's, but the remains are still there, tucked
away about 20 yards from the roadway off Route 72 in Burlington
County, near Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.
Remains of the paper mill in the lost town of Harrisville can be
seen off Route 679 in Washington Township. Although locked behind
a chain link fence to prevent both personal injury to visitors,
and damage to the delicate remains by unthinking trespassers, it
presents a nice photographic opportunity without having to hike
deep into the woods.
A few towns of yesteryear have been
preserved and/or restored, and are a great vacation destination.
Double Trouble State Park in Berkeley Township, Whitesbog Village
in Browns Mills, and Batsto Village along the Mullica River in Wharton
State forest all have a number of buildings still standing.
|Q. What is the address of the
|A. There is no one "address";
the Pinelands encompasses over a million acres, and within that
area lie several forests and parks. The largest is Wharton State
Forest (609-561-0024). Throughout this website are many
links to individual parks. Please follow them for more
|Q. How do I get to the Pine
|A. Again, with over a million
acres, there is no one road. As a general guide, the Garden
State Parkway from Exit 82 to Exit 13 is the easterly boundary;
parts of Mount Holly, Medford, Williamstown and Port Elizabeth
are the westerly bounds; and mid-Cape May County to the south
and Plumsted in the north mark the north-south. Please look
at the map
or see directions to get
a better idea! You'll see that the Pine Barrens Preservation
area is in light/dark green.
|Q. What's the difference between
the Pine Barrens and the Pinelands?
|A. The PINELANDS refers to a
political area, as defined by both the State of New Jersey (to
define the Pinelands protection area) and the Federal government
(for the purpose of defining the Pinelands National Reserve.)
The Pine Barrens is a geographical region contained within the
the Pinelands and other similar areas throughout the world,
consisting of sandy acidic soil, where the predominate trees
are pines, oaks, cedars blueberries, cranberries and other acid-loving
|Q. Where will I see Pineys?
|A. You'll see Pineys everywhere;
running stores and banks, buying groceries and clothes; and
even working in the cranberry and blueberry fields! In other
words, Pineys are just like everyone else - rich and poor; listless
or inspired; friendly or closed-mouthed; and so on. The thing
to remember is that Pineys love and respect the Pine Barrens,
and when we see anyone coming here and destroying what we love,
we get upset. That includes tearing up our woods with ATV's
without regard to the plants and animals that live there, much
less the people who have lived off this land for centuries.
STAY ON THE ROAD, whether it's blacktop or sugar-sand.
|Q. Are Pineys dangerous?
|A. Only when they see their
Pine Barrens being destroyed by uncaring visitors, or when trespassers
appear on their private property.
|Q. Where can I go off-roading?
|A. Any vehicle that is permitted
on a public roadway, i.e., registered and insured, is
permitted within STATE forests on the dirt roads. Many roads
are marked PRIVATE, so stay out. There are hundreds of miles
of dirt roads within the million acres; it is very easy to get
lost out here. Get a good map and also keep in mind that your
cell phone may not work in the woods. Please stay on the roadway.
The Pinelands is a habitat for many rare plants and animals,
and when you roar through a vernal pond, you may be destroying
larvae and rare carnivorous plants!
|Q. Where can I get information
mailed to me?
|A. Try calling the NJ Pinelands
Commission at (609)894-7300.
| The Pine Barrens
is becoming a popular tourist destination. It offers history, nature, boating,
camping, fishing, swimming, and most of all, peace and tranquility. It's
important to families who live here, whether for a few years or many generations,
that our peace and tranquility be preserved.A local lawyer or doctor won't
look any different than his neighbor who works the land. Thousand dollar
suits aren't what impress people of the Pines - taking care of nature and
fellow man is what matters. To that end, it is important for you to know
that as a visitor to our precious Pine Barrens, you should show respect
for the flora and fauna, for the historical buildings or their remains,
and show respect for the "locals". Walk and drive gently. Treat
our Pine Barrens as you would want a visitor to treat your own home town
- and your own family. Thank you.
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