The Pine Barrens of New Jersey, also known as the Pinelands, is a unique and impressive region. Filled with pine trees that reach for the sky, this natural wonderland is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Covering an area of around 1.1 million acres, it is one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems in the eastern United States, and area towns like Barnegat, Manahawkin, and Forked River / Lacey are part of the region.
A Brief History
The Pine Barrens of New Jersey is a region with a rich and interesting history. The Lenape Indians, who were the original inhabitants of the area, used the Pine Barrens for hunting, gathering, and fishing. In the early 18th century, European settlers began farming the area, but the highly acidic and infertile soil made it difficult to grow crops. As a result, the region became a source of charcoal, which was used for iron smelting. During this period, the area acquired its name – “The Barrens”. Large settlements soon arose, including towns like Atlantic City, Manahawkin, and Beach Haven.
Today, The Pine Barrens are a National Natural Landmark and have been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve. It is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, making it one of the most biodiverse regions in North America. The soil is still largely acidic and infertile, limiting the growth of certain plants but encouraging the growth of other species like cedar trees and pitch pine. The region is also known for its unique wildlife, including black bears, foxes, ospreys, bald eagles, and red-headed woodpeckers.
The region is home to several threatened and endangered species, including the Pine Barrens tree frog, the blue-spotted salamander, and the Pine Barrens tree snake. The area is also home to several rare plant species, such as the Pine Barrens gentian and the Pinewoods lily.
The Pine Barrens are a popular destination for outdoor recreation and exploration. Visitors can enjoy activities like camping, fishing, canoeing, bird-watching, and exploring the region’s many trails. The area is also home to a number of historic sites such as Batsto Village and Wharton State Forest.
Great attractions near Barnegat, Manahawkin and Forked River include the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Island Beach State Park and Barnegat Lighthouse State Park (both of which are on the coastal area of the Pine Barrens region). There are also several nature preserves in the region, including Bass River State Forest and Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.
Unlike many other regions of the United States, much of the Pine Barrens is not developed. Vast areas of this unique landscape is largely untouched and provides a perfect escape for nature lovers.
The Pine Barrens is known for its natural beauty, with acres upon acres of picturesque landscapes. Visitors can bike, hike, or horseback ride through the vast network of trails that wind through the region. There are campgrounds dotted around the area, allowing visitors to spend several days exploring the region and experiencing its tranquility and beauty.
The Pine Barrens of New Jersey is a unique and awe-inspiring region, with a rich and interesting history. While many regions in the US have been developed over the years, the Pine Barrens has remained largely unchanged, providing the perfect environment for threatened and endangered species to thrive. If you are a nature lover, an adventurer, or simply a person looking for a peaceful escape from modern life, the Pine Barrens is definitely a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime.