The New Jersey Pinelands
(also known as the New Jersey Pine Barrens) consists of over one million acres located at the Southeast corner of the state.
It extends Southward into Cape May and touches east up to the edge of the Jersey Shore. This unique forest covers seven counties
and accounts for 22% of New Jersey's land area.
Its biodiversity consists
of more than 900 species of plants and trees, including many species of colorful orchids and carnivorous plants. Swamps, freshwater
marshes, and stands of hardwood trees marble through the Pinelands. This includes 12,000 acres of a pygmy forest, an
unusual stand of dwarf pine and dwarf oak trees most less than ten feet tall.
The Pinelands are mostly populated by several species of Pine trees (pitch pine, short leaf pine, and scrub pine).
Its many Oak tree species include black-jack oak and chestnut oak. Other trees of the Pinelands include red maple, Atlantic
white cedar, and tupelo. Its dense ground vegetation consists mostly of huckleberry, high bush wild blueberry, mountain laurel,
and wild American cranberry.
Among its many rivers, the Great Egg Harbor River and the Maurice River are
both designated by the National Park Service as part of the National Wild and Scenic River System.
The Pinelands has numerous streams, lakes, ponds, rural towns, historic villages, and cultivated
cranberry bogs. Its blueberry farms are a major supplier of the nation’s blueberries.
In the early 1800s
industries in the NJ Pine Forests produced lumber from its trees, iron from its peat bogs, and glass from its sands. These
early industries died out and left the ruins and ghost towns, many of which are still intact today and serve as tourist attractions.
The abandoned blast furnaces, iron and glass factories, along with the haunting nature of the New Jersey Pine Barrens fired
the imagination of many Pinelands people to give rise to local legends such as the "Jersey Devil."
Animals that inhabit the Pinelands include bald eagles, red-tailed
hawks, peregrine falcons, screech owls, white tailed deer, black bear, flying squirrels, almost sixty species of amphibians
and reptiles, and over ninety species of freshwater fish. Its most famous resident is the Pine Barrens tree frog - hyla
The NJ Pine Barrens has over 200 resort areas for
activities that include camping, hiking, birding, canoeing, kayaking, freshwater fishing, and mountain biking.