Pinelands National Reserve
To experience the Pinelands National Reserve fully, you should spend a few days. It is a vast area that includes historic sites, natural areas, and recreational opportunities. Information is available at New Jersey state parks and forests and on the Internet at www.nj.gov/pinelands.
The Pinelands is comprised of both public and private lands. Almost 40 percent of the Pinelands is publicly-owned and is managed by several different land management agencies that can help you learn more about recreation use policies and regulations. Private lands include 56 communities with over 700,000 permanent residents.
The 1.1 million acre New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve covers nearly 22 percent of the state. It is home to over 1.350 plant and animal species, many unique natural environments, and a rich folk life heritage. In recognition of its special resources, Congress established the Pinelands as the first National Reserve in 1978.
Pinelands habitats include coastal wetlands, pine oak upland forests, and Atlantic white cedar swamps. These are all linked by the Kirkwood/Cohansey Aquifer where porous layers of sand contain an estimated 17 trillion gallons of water. The aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for South Jersey residents.Pinelands heritage, dating from prehistoric times, has helped create the landscapes you see today.
Native Americans used the region's resources for food and shelter. Early settlers used cedar trees and bog iron as the basis for local industries. Today, cranberry and blueberry agriculture are major Pinelands industries.Despite the perception of a "barrens" landscape and generations of human activities, the remarkable treasures of the Pinelands National Reserve continue to provide both inspirational and recreational opportunities for visitors and residents alike.
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The cool, tea-colored waterways of the Pinelands offer canoeists an opportunity to observe quietly the plants and animals that make this region special.
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The northern pine snake is one of more than 90 colorful, threatened or endangered species in the Pinelands. Frequent fires help maintain the open sandy soils of the forest floor providing their preferred habitat for laying eggs and hunting.
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Numerous hiking and walking trails are scattered throughout the Pinelands. The fifty-mile Batona Trail traverses the Pinelands wilderness through varied land features, historic communities, and vegetation types.
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Where underground water reserves come close to the surface, explorers may find wetlands in the form of cedar swamps, bogs with tiny carnivorous plants, or one of the many streams that flow through the region.(Inscription below the lower center photo) Eighteenth-century colonists processed bog iron-ore to develop one of the major Pinelands industries. The mansion at Batsto Village represents a part of the sweeping story of the boom and bust cycles.
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When cranberries ripen, the bog is flooded allowing mechanical "beaters" to separate the berries from their vines. Careful use of natural resources has kept the Pinelands in the forefront of cranberry production for over a century.