• Stacks Image 1955

    Link
Nature & Eco-tourism
Parks, Nature Preserves, Wildlife Management Areas & other scenic places

ALBERT J. KOLONICH, JR. NATURE TRAIL: Bridgeton. This interpretive nature trail is dedicated to the memory of one of Bridgeton's outstanding public servants: City Treasurer Albert J. Kolonich, Jr. Albert was an active member of the community and his church, was an outstanding family man, and served as the City Treasurer from 1978-1996. As an avid sportsman and conservationist, he could be found almost daily at the fishing gate hole near the fish ladder, enjoying a little fishing or helping to keep the gate hole cleared of debris for the fish. The trail, dedicated on May 3, 1997, will allow the memory of Albert J Kolonich, Jr to live on. Future generations will be able to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities offered by this area. The nature walk extends from Sunset Lake to the Cohanzick Zoo. Features along the trail include a fish ladder or fish passage at Sunset Lake and environment education signs to promote public education about the ecosystem, fish, and fish migration.

CLARK’S POND AND CLARK’S POND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA (WMA): Fairton Township (just outside of Bridgeton). Boating, birding, fishing activities. Designated as an IBA (Important Bird Areas) by Audubon, and part of the Cohansey River. which originates at Clarks Pond and meanders through Cumberland County before reaching the Delaware Bay. The area covers 201.19 Acres, and has a boat ramp for launching boats. Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and Cooper’s Hawks can be seen there and along the Cohansey River. 476 S Burlington Rd, Bridgeton, NJ 08302

CUMBERLAND POND (part of PEASLEE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA): A good point from which to begin exploring the vast Peaslee Wildlife Management Area. A popular spot for fishing and paddling, Cumberland Pond’s open water attracts a variety of herons, egrets and Osprey. An Atlantic white cedar bog lies on the other side of the pond, where you can find certain rare and plant-specific butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. This site is a good location from which to scan for wintering raptors such as Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle. Route 49, South Millville, NJ. 609-984-0547.

GLADES WILDLIFE REFUGE: Downe Township. A conservation project of the Natural Lands Trust. Extending from Raybins Beach, north to Ackley Road, the Refuge consists of three tracts: the Glades proper, Bear Swamp West, and the Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary. All three tracts total approximately 5,300 acres. Although predominately characterized as saltmarsh and broad leaf swamp forest, the Glades Wildlife Refuge is rich in ecological diversity. This productive habitat includes a beach on the Delaware Bay, tidal marsh with interlacing creeks and ponds, farm fields, mixed woodlands, and the mature old-growth woodlands of bear swamp. Over 200 species of ferns, club-mosses, conifers, and flowering plants have been found here, including the narrow-leaved crab-apple, mistletoe, and pond pine, which are all near the northern limits of their range. The Glades is a haven for wildlife, providing year-round habitat for many ducks, marsh birds, hawks, bald eagles, and various upland birds as well as fox, deer, otter, and other mammals. Visit Website, Visit Facebook page

MANUMUSKIN RIVER PRESERVE: No public access. From its headwaters in southwestern Atlantic County, the Manumuskin River is 12 miles long and empties into the Maurice River seven miles from the Delaware Bay. With more than 3500 acres, Manumuskin River Preserve is the largest Conservancy preserve in New Jersey. This preserve was established to protect the globally rare plant, the sensitive joint-vetch, or Aeschymnome virginica. The population of sensitive joint-vetch along the Manumuskin River is the largest, healthiest stand in the world. The preserve also hosts other rare plants, animals, and plant communities mainly due to the pristine water quality and undisturbed nature of the area. Fifteen of New Jersey's threatened and endangered species of birds breed in the Manumuskin River Basin. European development along the Manumuskin began after 1720. Remnants of foundations and chimneys of grist and saw mills, and homes from this period forward can be seen. Remains of these historic structures can be found along the river trail. The preserve was first established in 1983 with the donation of 6.65 acre parcel, and 3257 acres were added in 1995. The non-tidal portion of the river has superb water quality, largely due to the nearly complete forest cover. The river corridor is mostly natural and undisturbed except for a few single-family residences in the town of Port Elizabeth. Also found at the preserve are: Parker's Pipewort, Northern Pine Snake, Corn Snake, Least Tern, Bald Eagle and Osprey.

WILD & SCENIC MAURICE RIVER: Recognized as a National Scenic and Recreational River. The Maurice River corridor is an unusually pristine Atlantic Coastal river with national and internationally important resources. As part of the Atlantic flyway, its clean waters and related habitats are vitally important to the migration of shorebirds, songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, rails, and fish. Other important resources include a rare and endangered joint vetch, shortnose sturgeon and striped bass, and a pre-historic settlement site. Historically, the Maurice is home to a rich fishing, boating, and oystering heritage. The river supports New Jersey's largest stand of wild rice and 53 percent of the animal species that New Jersey has recognized as endangered, excluding marine mammals. The river is a critical link between the Pineland National Reserve and the and the Delaware Estuary – both nationally and internationally important. The Maurice River serves as the western boundary of the Pinelands. The designated corridor includes the cities of Vineland and Millville, and the townships of Maurice River, Commercial, and Beuna Vista. Since public access to the Maurice River is limited, the best place to view the river is from the bridge in Mauricetown. Boat access is available at Millville's Fowser Road Boat Ramp or at a marina. www.mauriceriver.igc.org

MAURICE RIVER BLUFFS PRESERVE: The Maurice River Bluffs provides stopover habitat for migrating songbirds, osprey and bald eagles. The Nature Conservancy prides itself on protecting the Maurice River Bluffs Preserve. Located along the 35.4-mile “Wild and Scenic” Maurice River, the 525-acre preserve gets its name from the majestic bluffs overlooking the river. The preserve provides crucial stopover habitat for migrating and breeding birds, including songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors like nesting osprey and bald eagles. The nature preserve also hosts productive freshwater ponds and unique plant communities, including some of New Jersey’s largest contiguous wild rice marshes. The preserve is a freshwater haven for the many species of odonates who make their home here. The Maurice River Bluffs Nature Preserve falls within New Jersey’s Cumberland Forest Priority Conservation area. Centered in Cumberland County, the area’s large, intact oak-pine forest harbors an incredible natural variety of rare plants and communities, rare reptiles and amphibians and an array of migrating and breeding birds. Silver Run Rd, Millville, NJ 08332. 609-861-0600. Visit Website Or you can also visit this page for more information on how to turn your visit to the Maurice River Bluffs Preserve into a day trip.

MAURICE RIVER CRUISES: Millville. One of the most unique and memorable tours in Cumberland County, featuring three huge and unique rivers lined with small towns, historic lighthouses, and beautiful wild life. On the cruises you will see gorgeous meadows, wild rice, lots of wildlife, and the only working diked farm left in New Jersey. Both dock and boat are handicapped accessible. The cruise is two hours and the costs are: Adults $20. Seniors $15. Children over 5 are $10 & those under 5 are free. Ware Ave, Millville, NJ 08332. 856-327-1530. www.mauricerivercruises.com

MAURICE RIVER WATER TRAIL: This waterway is more than a river — it is a tidal estuary, where salty seawater meets fresh water running off the land. Much of the Maurice River feels the moon’s gravitational pull, and the rising and falling of the tides can reverse the flow of the waterway. What this means to kayakers on this tidal river section: Check the daily tide schedule for the river section you plan to paddle. Be aware the tides are strongest the closer you are to Delaware Bay and weakest just below the Union Lake dam. The tides are also strongest at midtide [midway between high and low tide] and weakest at high and low tides. The current is generally strongest in the river’s main channel. However, at any bend in the river, the current is stronger near the outside river bank than near the inside river bank. www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/maurice-river-water-trail

MEADOW WOOD ENVIRONMENTAL SANCTUARY: Canoeing, fishing, bird-watching, nature trailing, wildlife and beautiful scenery. Located at the northeast corner of Route 49 and Route 671 at Union Road, Maurice River Township.

MOORES BEACH: Moores Beach, is best known as a great horseshoe crab spawning beach and excellent place to see migrating shorebirds like Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Dunlin, and many more. But there is more to this wilderness in New Jersey then shorebirds and horseshoe crabs. Drive slow along the gravel road through the vast salt marsh and you will be sure to see osprey, waders, and the occasional Black Skimmer. If you arrive in early morning in spring, the air will still ring with the sounds of the Clapper Rail. Be aware, the road can be rough and will flood on the high tide, but a little planning will keep you safe and the solitude will be worth the trip. Moores Beach, Maurice River, NJ 08314. www.restorenjbayshore.org, www.celebratedebay.org

PEASLEE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA: The second largest WMA in the state of New Jersey. Numerous sand and gravel roads traverse the area, and if you get lost from time to time, you will soon find your way back to a paved road. For a shorter visit, stick to the paved roads and pull off to scan the forest or any one of numerous sunny openings. Peaslee is the southern-most example of true pine barrens forest with a predominance of pine-oak woodland. However, there are also pockets of different vegetation such as maple-gum swamp and other forested wetlands, and sedge meadows and cultivated fields that have been planted for wildlife. The variety of habitats attracts an unusually large variety of species. Open daily from dawn to dusk. During hunting season, it is advisable to wear bright colors, or to limit your visits to Sundays. CR 644/Hesstown Road, Cumberland, NJ. 609-984-0547.
www.njaudubon.org

UNION LAKE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA: Millville. Union Lake was created by the damming of the Maurice and Mill Rivers. The 5,000-acre Union Lake WMA offers a variety of viewing experiences to naturalists of all levels. A large boat ramp is located at the far end of the parking lot and there is ample parking for vehicles and trailers. A small dock provides a place for fishing or observing. Stand at the edge of the dock and take in the amazing view of this large reservoir. An additional parking area on Sharp St., across from Riverview Park (see page 46), affords a good view of the fish ladder on the opposite side of the dam. It also provides additional fishing access to the Maurice River. Bald Eagle nest on the lake and Osprey are often seen fishing for a meal. There are many miles of unmarked trails that wind through the woods and along the lakeshore. County Rd 552, Millville, NJ 08332. Visit Website

OTHER STATE PROTECTED LANDS:
CEDARVILLE PONDS: Fairfield Township. 42 acres. Fishing, birding and hunting. Routes 553 and 610.
CORSON TRACT: Maurice River Township. 1032 acres. Birding, hunting, crabbing and fishing. Moores Beach Road.
EDWARD G. BEVAN: Downe Township. 12,000 acres. Birding, fishing, hunting and hiking. Ackley Road.
EGG ISLAND: Downe Township. Only accessible by boat or foot. 8325 acres. Fishing, crabbing, birding, hunting.
FORTESCUE: Downe Township. 894 acres. Fishing, crabbing, birding & hunting. Fortescue Road.
HEISLERVILLE TRACT: Maurice River Twp. 2812 acres. Birding, fishing, crabbing, hiking & hunting. East Point Rd.
NANTUXENT: Laurence Township. 916 acres. Birding, crabbing, fishing & hunting. Jones Island Road.
DIX TRACT: Fairfield Township. 942 acres. Birding, fishing and hunting. Back Neck Road.

NATURE GROUPS & ORGANIZATIONS:
CITIZENS UNITED TO PROTECT THE MAURICE RIVER: Members of Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. (CU) are involved in a wide variety of projects and activities that cover all aspects of watershed protection. CU members take time to enjoy the resource that they protect, be it birdwatching, hikes, kayak trips, or organizing and participating in festivals. One of our most popular festivals is the Cumberland County Eagle Festival, which is followed by their annual Chili Bowl. Citizens United is a volunteer, nonprofit corporation dedicated to the preservation and protection of the Maurice River watershed for the enjoyment of this and future generations. Founded in 1979 by local residents and incorporated as a charitable organization in 1986. 856-300-5331. www.cumauriceriver.org

NATURAL LANDS TRUST: The region’s oldest and largest conservation organization, The Natural Lands Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the forests, fields, streams, and wetlands that are essential to the sustainability of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. They use a comprehensive approach to conservation that includes permanently protecting natural areas, providing leadership in natural resource management, and creating opportunities for people to connect to and learn from nature. www.natlands.org

NATURE CONSERVANCY: The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization that protects ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. They’ve protected more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide. They address threats to conservation involving climate change, fresh water, oceans, and conservation lands. They protect a myriad of habitats to preserve the diversity of life on Earth. www.nature.org

NEW JERSEY AUDUBON SOCIETY: The New Jersey Audubon Society is an environmental education and conservation advocacy organization. Founded in 1897, it is one of New Jersey's largest environmental organizations, with 10 staffed nature centers, 34 nature preserves, and thousands of members throughout New Jersey and the world. It is an independent organization and is not affiliated with the National Audubon Society. New Jersey Audubon aims to educate people about New Jersey's environment. Scout groups, school groups, and children in summer day camps all have the possibility to learn more about environmental issues and wildlife native to New Jersey through programs offered at New Jersey Audubon nature centers. Meanwhile, New Jersey Audubon also offers numerous lectures, tours, and programs to help increase awareness of the natural world for adults as well. A third major focus of New Jersey Audubon's efforts lies in sponsoring research on New Jersey's environment and wildlife. Such research includes hawk watches at to monitor long-term trends in raptor populations, using radar and other tools to identify crucial habitat for migrating songbirds under the "Oases Along the Flyway" program, and monitoring populations of breeding bird species. Finally, New Jersey Audubon also sponsors numerous field trips to various sites of environmental importance throughout New Jersey and beyond. Many of these trips are aimed primarily at birders, although trips focused on butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles and amphibians, hiking, canoeing, and caving, among other topics, are also offered on a regular basis. New Jersey Audubon also sponsors the annual World Series of Birding, perhaps the world's most famous birdwatching competition. Competing teams seek to find as many bird species as they can in the state of New Jersey, or a section thereof, on a Saturday in mid-May. www.njaudubon.org

Want to add a listing or make a correction? We strive to make sure all information is complete and accurate. EMAIL US TO MAKE A CHANGE