New trails open to public!
by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager
I might be a little biased in saying that Bass River State Forest is one of the most beautiful state parks in New Jersey, only because I live in the same town where it’s located. There is so much to explore at BRSF: large pine plantations by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that helped build NJ’s state parks, Atlantic white-cedar swamps galore, sugar sand, and all the wildlife that occupy pinelands habitats. One new and much different portion of Bass River State Forest is Ballanger Creek, pronounced “Baa-lan’-ger”. The surrounding forested habitat is mostly unfragmented and is comprised of mature pine-oak woodlands. There are some very large pitch pines that cover many species that are shade tolerant like, american holly. Two old freshwater impoundments were drained after Hurricane Irene blew out an earthen dam. Now freshwater wetlands have emerged and atlantic white-cedar seedlings are beginning to sprout.
Common along much of the coast of New Jersey, this site has had a lot of use in its history. A saw mill once operated here in the mid-19th century and in the early 1900s fields along the creek were used for agriculture. It was also used as a dump site for fill and other debris. A house and several out buildings were demolished when the property was acquired by the Green Acres Program in the mid-90s. Since its acquisition the site has not been actively managed for wildlife. That all changed in late 2009 when Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ acquired funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to enhance the degraded wildlife habitat on site. We’re all done with the project and there’s a lot to explore here. We invite you to explore this site and enjoy its natural beauty and its wildlife residents. Click on the map to download or print a copy of it. Here is a link to the site via Google Maps.