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Nature in the Pines

If you and your family are looking for a great way to experience nature in the Pine Barrens, make the Woodford Cedar Run WIldlife Refuge a "must see". Located in Medford NJ, this wonderful place is a haven for injured animals of all types. Whenever possible, the animals are rehabilitated and released, but some have become permanent residents here at the refuge due to the nature of their injuries.


(Photo courtesy FREC)

Forest Resource Education Center, (FREC) is located in Jackson Township in northern Ocean County. The FREC includes the Interpretive Center and the New Jersey State Forest Nursery. The FREC strives to teach and practice forest stewardship - managing New Jersey's forest resources so that we have healthy trees and forests, clean air and water, and places to learn and enjoy the outdoors.


The Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education, located on land owned by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, is situated on 194 acres of diverse coastal habitat adjacent to Barnegat Bay in Ocean Township, New Jersey. There are a variety of opportunities to explore this maritime forest, salt marsh, two tidal streams and the freshwater impoundment on this unique site.


For anyone interested in learning about the nature and the ecology of the Pine Barrens, Wells Mills County Park in Waretown is an ecellent source of information.  Here you'll find 900 acres of pristine pinelands, a cedar-spring fed lake with canoe rentals, miles of trails and a three-story nature center.  Visit the Nature center and take advantage of good displays and the great view from the third floor!. Take binoculars for birdwatching!  



Pinelands Preservation Alliance
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) is a private, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to saving the Pinelands of NJ. They use advocacy and education to involve the public and persuade government to protect the natural and cultural resources of this extraordinary region. Check their website and follow them on Facebook!


If shorebirds are your passion, be sure to check out the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Absecon.  A long loop road through the wetlands on the shore of the Egg Harbor Bay a birder's paradise any time of year, but especially in early spring, when migration begins.  A surprising element is the skyline of Atlantic City looming in the southeastern horizon. If you're wondering what bird you saw while at the shore, in the Pine Barrens or in your own backyard, try this great bird identification website! Lots of information:


WETLANDS INSTITUTE AND MUSEUM, Stone Harbor - Bird watching events held on 32 acres of privately owned land as well as 6000 acres of state owned land. Also included are numerous exhibits and an aquarium depicting local marshland life. Focus is on preserving the Diamondback Terrapin, which can be seen on the nature trail. Gift shop with extensive book selection, as well as gifts for all ages. OPEN ALL YEAR. 609-368-1211


A hike through the Pine Barrens may be the best way of getting close to nature. be on the lookout for the Pine Barrens Treefrog, an endangered frog about 1 1/2 inches long, who makes his home here.  You may also see white-tailed deer, fox, wild turkey, ruffled grouse and river otters, to name a few.  Many botanical wonders abound as well, such as pitcher plants, rare orchids, sundews and curly grass fern. The Batona Trail, a 49.5-mile hike through the Pine Barrens beginning in Ongs Hat and ending in Bass River State Forest in Burlington County, traverses beautiful areas not accessible by car. The trail is maintained by the NJ State Park Service and the Batona Hiking Club, the latter group being largely responsible for its creation and expansion over the years. It is easy to walk in most areas and can be accessed from many points throughout the region. Many areas rich in history are along the way, such as Four Mile, Butler Place, Martha and Washington.You'll also pass Carranza Memorial and Apple Pie Hill. Campsites are available in Wharton State Forest. And by the way, "Batona" stands for BAck TO NAture!

(north to southeast)

Leaming's Run Gardens offers a delightful relaxing walk along winding paths where every turn is another celebration of nature's beauty. Each visit is unique with ever changing vistas from May through October. Benches are provided for your enjoyment along the way as you are invited to enjoy the scenery at your own pace.


The Forked River Mountains, perhaps best viewed driving on County Route 539 north from Barnegat, have some of the most scenic vistas in the Pine Barrens.  The Forked River Mountain Coalition works diligently to keep this region in its natural state. The view from the roadways, however, is dimmed by the breathtaking beauty within this region. Pristine ponds, meandering sugar-sand trails winding through the hills - nature in the pines is seen at its best here. Take a guided hike or van trip with either the FRMC or Ocean County Parks Dept.- the many fire roads and trails can be confusing for the newcomer.


For the serious botanist, a visit to Webb's Mill is in order. Walk on the boardwalk through wetlands where you may find some rare endangered species, such as curly grass fern, orchids and several carnivorous plants such as sundew or pitcher plants. Please remember - look but don't touch!


Be sure to hike, bike, kayak or drive the Ecotour of Great Bay Boulevard in Tuckerton, down the scenic 6.7 mile road, ending on the Bay at the Rutgers University Marine Field Station. "Great Bay Boulevard EcoTour Trail Guide" can be found at the Tuckerton Seaport (609)296-8868 and First Bridge Marina & Kayaks (609) 296-1888.


Jakes Branch County Park in Beachwood NJ has been nicknamed "The Gateway to the Pine Barrens", and for good reason. The nature center at this 400-acre park and Pine Barrens preserve has dozens of displays and hands-on exhibits relating to the Pine Barrens. Photos, information and directions.



See map


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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P.O. Box 307, Barnegat NJ 08005

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