Ocean County Rail Trail
Barnegat - Waretown NJ
2003, The Ocean County Board of Freeholders acquired the abandoned
railway that ran from Barnegat to Beachwood, a distance of 13.6
miles. This railway was once the Toms River and Waretown Railroad
(1870), later known as the New Jersey Central Railroad.
Since that time, the
Rail Trail has been making steady process. Phase I runs from West
Bay Avenue in Barnegat north to Waretown at Pancoast Road, a distance
of 2 miles; Phase II runs 1.1 miles from Pancoast Road to Route
532 (Wells Mills Road) in Waretown. Phase III will run from Route
532 to the Waretown-Lacey Township line, and from Dudley Park
to Serpentine Drive in Berkeley Township. Lacey Township lies
between Waretown and Berkeley, but due to "political
differences" construction of the Rail Trail here
on Township property has been delayed. The Township wants to construct
a roadway with a sidewalk along the railroad corridor instead
of the gravelled Rail Trail. This has been strongly opposed by
Rail-Trail Environmental Committee (LRTEC), with many
other conservation groups backing this worthy cause. Lacey Township
owns about 4 miles of the former rail line. The areas to the north
and south were acquired by Ocean County.
Eventually, the Rail
Trail will terminate in Toms River through a series of proposed
road and sidewalk connections. Waretown's Pancoast-to-Route 532
phase includes a future 1.65-acre trailhead site at Country Lane,
which the County acquired in November 2006. Planning and site
design has begun for this site, which will have parking, restrooms,
an informational kiosk, and other amenities.
On an unusally warm day in February,
I took a walk on the Rail Trail. I parked my vehicle at the
Barnegat Twp. Youth Sports Complex off Barnegat Boulevard and
took off for a breath of fresh spring-like air! There is also
another Barnegat access point on Burr Street. (see
For being so close to Route 9,
it was surprisingly quiet on the trail. The trail was covered
in bluestone gravel, and many areas were topped by a light covering
of pine needles, making for a very comfortable and aromatic
walk. Occasional walkers, joggers and bikers passed by, most
with a friendly "Hello!"
The bridge on the trail crosses
Lochiel Creek. I am hoping this just might be a good spot for
photographing spring flowers, especially in the boggy areas
Looking east towards Route 9
from the bridge.
More of Lochiel Creek. Note the
hardwoods in this area. Of course a number of cedars are in the
area as well. These wetland
areas should be very interesting come spring!
G. Hound enjoyed the walk too! A number of other walkers
had dogs; I did spot some "fertilizer" left by them along the
side of the trail. I always carry a bag for such events, and
hope that Ocean County will eventually place "Dogipot"
receptacles with plastic bags to encourage owners to be more
conscientious. As for the fire hydrants, Isaac thanks you!
There was some litter to the
west of the trail - old tires in the water and an old cabinet
were most evident - but overall it seems those enjoying this
trail are taking care of it.
Thanks, Ocean County, for providing
your residents with this wonderful place to relax, exercise
and get in touch with nature!
Map of Barnegat Rail Trail, Barnegat
Map - Proposed and Existing Trail
| 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.
P.O. Box 307, Barnegat NJ 08005
Member, Board of Directors, Southern
Ocean County Chamber of Commerce
Barnegat Chamber of Commerce
Natural Resource Educational Foundation/Lighthouse Center
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