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The Ocean County Rail Trail
Barnegat - Waretown NJ

Ocean County Rail Trail in Barnegat NJIn 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 the Lacey 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.


Ocean County Rail Trail in Barnegat NJ


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 map)

The Rail Trail of Ocean County NJ


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!"


Bridge over Lochiel Creek, on the Barnegat Rail Trail







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 surrounding it!



Lochiel Creek from the Rail Trail Bridge

Looking east towards Route 9 from the bridge.


Lochiel Creek as seen from the Ocean County Rail Trail

Ocean County Rail Trail







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!


Isaac the Greyhound on the Rail Trail

Isaac 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!

Don't Litter sign on the Ocean County Rail Trail

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 area: http://www.planning.co.ocean.nj.us/rail/phase1map.pdf

Aerial 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.

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