The Pinelands, or Pine Barrens, of New Jersey

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Preferred

Pine Barrens - Map - OverviewThe beautiful and pristine New Jersey Pinelands area, also known as the Pine Barrens, is a region stretching from Brendan T. Byrne (formerly called Lebanon) State Forest to the Forked River Mountains area and out to Long Beach Island, Barnegat and Tuckerton along the shore.   It extends across eight New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Monmouth (outliers), and Ocean.NJPinelandsMap
Spreading across the most densely populated state in the country, the New Jersey Pine Barrens remains a dynamic patchwork of open space and rural living. Cranberry and blueberry farms thrive in the sandy soils once deemed useless by 17th- and 18th-century settlers. The Pine Barrens landscape covers 1 million acres of forest, wetlands and quaint hamlets and represents nearly a quarter of the state—the most extensive undeveloped area on the eastern seaboard between Boston and Richmond.  Vast expanses of pitch pine and shrub oak forests dominate the barrens. Many of the species found there, including the pygmy pines that range from 4 to 10 feet high, depend on regular intervals of intense heat (such as fires) to pop open their cones, releasing seeds and spurring new growth.  (Source: Nature Conservancy)
There is a lot of unique history, culture and folklore associated with the area and the people, called pineys, who lived deep inside it.  See the links below for details.
Albert Hall - StageMusic of the Pine Barrens. Well within the heart of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, isolated folks, charcoal burners, berry pickers, wood cutters, and clammers gathered on Saturday night for generations to sing their folk tales while a fiddler played, accompanied by a guitarist. The whine of the piney ballads they created tell the tales around the love of their work in the pines. Their descendants are still playing the ballads their English ancestors brought to America 300 years ago. The Albert Music Hall in Waretown, New Jersey (whose roots go back roughly 60 years to when brothers Joe and George Albert held informal Saturday night jam sessions at their hunting cabin deep in the pines) now provides the home base for Saturday night fiddling, banjo picking, or strumming a guitar to "The Sounds of the Jersey Pines."   (Source: LOC - Local Legacies)
Today, the Pine Barrens are a federally and state protected area that provide tremendous ecological benefit to the region as well as great natural outdoor attractions.   The following links provide more information resources, documents and images about the history, culture, ecology and inherent beauty of the area, as well as the variety of recreational and sightseeing opportunities for you to experience and enjoy.
(Click here for related Pine Barrens blog articles.)

Canoeing and Kayaking in the Pinelands Canoeing and Kayaking in the Pinelands [Photo Album], especially in Wharton State Forest is a wonderful experience for all ages. [Click on link for rental resources and also here for additional canoeing outfitters.]  Download "Pineland Canoe Liveries" (PDF).
Ecotourism For a New Jersey ecotourism vacation like no other, you can’t beat a trip to the world-famous Pinelands, also called the Jersey Pine Barrens. Pine Lands ecotourism opportunities are vast – the Pinelands span one million acres and take up a whopping 20 percent of New Jersey’s land mass. Pinelands ecotourism trips include unique eco-systems, tea-colored streams and rivers, pygmy pine forests, farmland, and even spooky legends about the Jersey Devil. Go hiking and biking, fish, explore nature and local history, take a day or overnight canoe or camping trip. [NJ Ecotourism Guides (PDFs)]  [NJ Conservation Foundation]  [All In New Jersey - Pinelands] (Click here for NJ Ecotourism and animal welfare organizations.)
Music of the Pine Barrens Pine Barrens Jamboree - annual event.
Albert Music Hall - The New Jersey Pinelands Cultural & Historical Preservation Society presents Live Music Every Saturday Night at the Albert Music Hall in Waretown, NJ -- Bring the whole family for an evening of live country, bluegrass, folk, Americana and pinelands music each Saturday night at 7:30 pm. until 11:30 pm.    [Local school site about Albert Music Hall] "The Pine Barrens is a perfect place to escape the bordeom of suburban life. Narrow sand trails that once carried stagecoaches and mule trains are perfect places to hike. Restored villages such as Batsto and Allaire State Park provide a glimpse of what life was two centuries ago. Ample rivers and streams provide the perfect place to take a relaxing canoe trip...This site is one of the largest and oldest community based websites for the Pine Barrens. Through their discussion forums, image galleries that members can publish their own photos to, informative articles, and occasional get-togethers we have built a community of  individuals who share a common love - the Pine Barrens."  This site includes historical documents and large collection of  New Jersey maps, local pictures, resource links and more.
Pinelands - New Jersey Training narrative overview page on the Pinelands from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's National Conservation Training Center. See also Pinelands List of Species of Special Emphasis and Pinelands Maps.
Pinelands Adventures Explore the Pinelands with Pineland Preservation Alliance expert leaders: Canoeing, Camping, Hiking, Ghost Town Tour, Jersey Devil Hunts, Wilderness Survival: Basic and Advanced and more. The Pinelands Adventures program is designed to introduce you to the pleasures of the New Jersey Pinelands with their superb guide and naturalist Russell Juelg or with one of their expert guest leaders.  [Check out their downloable newsletters.]
Pinelands Commission The Pinelands of New Jersey is our country's first National Reserve and a U.S. Biosphere Reserve of the Man and the Biosphere Program. 

An internationally important ecological region,  The Pinelands is 1.1 million acres in size and occupies 22% of New Jersey's land area. It is the largest body of open space on the Mid-Atlantic seaboard between Richmond and Boston and is underlain by aquifers containing 17 trillion gallons of some of the purest water in the land.   Click here for downloadable "Pinelands Facts"  (PDF).

The Pinelands Commission
was formed to protect and enhance its natural and cultural resources.   It impacts most developers and property owners, especially in South Jersey.  Here you will find anything related to the commission:  announcements, restrictions, guidelines, application forms, education and related links. 

See their Pinelands Pastimes page for information about activities, events, downloadable recreational guide (PDF)  and opportunities to enjoy the many treasures of the New Jersey Pinelands.
Pinelands Guide - BC Library The Burlington County Library's resource guide to the New Jersey Pinelands.  See their special article on "Fire Effects in New Jersey's Pine Barrens". Also additional articles on the history, profile, vegetation, vertebrae, fact sheet, the Jersey Devil, local and state links.
Pinelands National Preserve (Wikipedia) "New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve (also known as Pinelands National Reserve) preserves the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  The Pinelands is a unique ecosystem of historic villages and berry farms amid vast oak-pine forests (pine barrens), extensive wetlands, and diverse species of plants and animals. It is protected by state and federal legislation through management by local, state, and federal governments and the private sector." -Wikipedia   

National Park Service - Pinelands  National Reserve official web site
Pine Barrens of NJ (Wikipedia) "The name "pine barrens" refers to the area's sandy, acidic, nutrient-poor soil, which didn't take well to the crops originally imported by European settlers. However, these uncommon conditions led the Pine Barrens to develop a unique and diverse spectrum of plant life, especially orchids and carnivorous plants. The area is also notable for its populations of rare pygmy pitch pines and other plant species that depend on fire to reproduce (fire is very frequent in the Pine Barrens). The highly organic sandy silt that composes much of the area's soil is referred to by the locals as sugar sand." -Wikipedia
Pine Barrens (All "Pine barrens, also known as "pine plains", "sand plains", "pinelands", "pine bush", and "pitch pine-scrub oak barrens", occur throughout the northeastern U.S. from New Jersey to Maine (see Atlantic coastal pine barrens) as well as the Midwest and Canada...Barrens are dependent on fire to prevent invasion by woody species. In the absence of fire, barrens will proceed through successional stages from savanna to closed-canopy forest. Open barrens are now rare and imperiled globally, as suppression of wildfires has allowed woody vegetation to take over in most one-time barrens. In North Americaa, barrens exist primarily in the Midwest and along the east coast."
Pine Barrens: A Sense of Place "New Jersey, a small coastal state on the East Coast of the United States, is often thought of as being an endless stretch of highways, factories, and landfills. Though New Jersey is a highly industrialized state, it does have places that are wild and undeveloped. One of these areas is called the New Jersey Pine Barrens..."   [Click on link for full story]
Piney Lore History and Folklore of the New Jersey Pinelands.  Check their Piney Links page.
Piney Power All about the Pine Barrens:  "The Pine Barrens of New Jersey is a beautiful and fascinating region, from Brendan T. Byrne (formerly Lebanon) State Forest to the Forked River Mountains, Barnegat and Tuckerton west to Chatsworth - the "heart" of the pinelands, and many other spots. Here you will find an insider's tour. Whether you're down for the day, here for a vacation or a canoe trip, thinking of relocating, or just a "local" looking for something new and exciting to do, there's bound to be something in the Pinelands of NJ to interest you."
Photo Essay: Pine Barrens of NJ New Jersey photographer Michael Hogan is featured in one of Environmental News Service's series of photo essays.  The images of southern New Jersey with commentary, are from the book, "The Natural Wonders of the Jersey Pines and Shore," which Hogan illustrated, working with author Robert A. Peterson, 1956-2003, the educator, journalist, historian, and sportsman.
Plants of the NJ Pine Barrens A photo album by photographer Mike Baker including an indexed and searchable species by species photographic catalog of many pine barrens plants, a dynamic "What's Blooming Now" page and a dynamic Pine Barrens Plant Identification Key tool.  See also Pine-Barrens Sights.  Gorgeous photographs.
Plants of the NJ Pine Barrens (GCU) Descriptions of plants, with photos, of the New Jersey Pinelands, with extensive links and additional photo resources with beautiful images.
The Birds of the Pine Barrens's page listing some of the birds of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, in additional to birds found in other Pinelands on the East coast.
The Nature Conservatory: Pine Barrens Cultivating the Garden State’s backyard of forests, farms and valuable groundwater requires a strong plan for land use and the commitment of its residents.
The Pine Barrens Information for the Pine Barrens Enthusiast: history, Jersey Devil folklore and tall tales, videos, discussion forums.
NJ Pine Barrens and Down Jersey Exploring the history, culture and ecology of South Jersey. Links, downloadable historical documents and maps, discussion forums.
South Jersey Woods Adventures in the South Jersey woods (or thereabouts), including Pinelands. Photos and comments
South Jersey Unpaved Exploring the NJ Pine Barrens: pictures and commentary of sites of interest as well as resources links.
NJ Pineways Photo galleries, including seasonal shots.
NJ Pines Kids Information about the Pine Barrens for Kids (does not appear to be recently updated).
NJ Public Television Films about the New Jersey Pinelands, available for ordering.
School Sites The Eleanor Van Gelder School's Pine Barrens site

The St. Paul School's NJ Pinelands site
NY Times Weekend Warrior Article Weekend Warrior; Beyond Malls and Toll Roads, the Pine Barrens' Peace, by Peter Van Allen:
"We were paddling an aluminum canoe under a canopy of trees on a narrow river that wound through cedar-smelling woods and swamps. The banks were mossy and dark. It could have been the Bayou or parts of the Everglades. But this unbroken forest, one of the largest on the East Coast, was within an hour of Philadelphia and two hours of New York City, in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. This was not what we think of when we think of the nation's most densely populated state..."
American Profile: Chatsworth "From the porch of Buzby’s general store in Chatsworth, N.J., you can see just about every building in what residents call “The Capital of the Pine Barrens.” Up the road is the White Horse Inn, a reminder of what the town was when that title was bestowed. Pineys say life is different in the Barrens, and in Chatsworth they’re trying to preserve it..."

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Copyright 2006 and 2008 by Lawrence Yerkes. All Rights Reserved.   


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Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

I remember having lots of fun in my youth in the Pine Barrens:

1- Canoeing down the Wading River 

2- Indian Guides Camping at Camp Ockanickon (and Matollioniquay for the girls)

3- Hearing the stories of old Mother Leeds and The Jersey Devil arouns a campfire. 

Nov 05, 2006 03:43 AM #1
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
OMG this is a fabulous post. I lived on the East Coast for over 20 years and love the Jersey Shore but this was amazing to me - it made me want to jump in my car and visit. I have been on the internet reading about the music and the photo gallery above. Thank you so much. I still say the best fruit on the East Coast comes from NJ. 
Nov 05, 2006 09:16 AM #2
Adam Tarr
MavRealty - Phoenix, AZ
PC -GRI, ABR, CDPE, RSPS, ePro - Designated Broker
Great informational post.  Yea, I remember the campfires and Jersey Devil too.
Nov 05, 2006 01:29 PM #3
Suzanne Marriott
Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Anthem, AZ
Associate Broker, CLHMS, e-PRO
I hadn't realized that New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country.  Thanks for the great insight into your state!
Nov 05, 2006 09:35 PM #4
Rob Robinson- Lehigh Valley PA
Bertrum Settlements (Title & Abstract) - Allentown, PA


I dig S. Jersey. (North is just loaded with New Yorkers that can't afford to live in NYC)...not that there's anything wrong with New Yorkers (as I cover my....)

My sister and bro-in-law bought a house in Barnegat 2 years ago.  Sweet. Hop and a skip to Long Beach Island.

If you have any contacts in PA...give a yell. (network, network, network...).  I have ..... a buncha cousins living in 'South Jersey ' as well.

Nov 06, 2006 12:25 AM #5
Ann Guy
NA - Allentown, PA
Carole is right.  There is no better tomato then the one's from Jersey.  I say it every summer. 
Nov 06, 2006 06:42 AM #6
Lawrence Yerkes
RE/MAX Preferred - Medford Township, NJ
Broker Associate, Southern New Jersey Real Estate Services

Thank you for your comments. 

Regarding population density... most of New Jersey's heaviest population density is found in the Northern half of the state.  It is actually more densely populated than Japan. The Southern part of the state, which includes the Pine Barrens, is not as crowded.   New Jersey draws people because of it's convenience to NYC, Philly and Delaware while providing good schools, communities, recreation, entertainment, food and shopping.

Nov 06, 2006 04:14 PM #7
Maureen Kelly
Heritage House Sotheby's International Realty - Rumson, NJ
You provide so much great information, Lawrence.  I'm an agent up in Monmouth County; when we're looking for our next weekend away, I'm going to check back here with you to get ideas of where to go!  Thanks for the inspiration!
Feb 03, 2007 01:25 PM #8
Tom Giansante
The Title Company of Jersey - Wildwood, NJ


The pine barrens have a special place for me.  My son and I like to pack some snacks and go for a long hike through the wilderness.  Great times and wonderful memories.   What a great resource, and it's right in our back yard.

Feb 27, 2007 04:31 PM #9
Lawrence Yerkes
RE/MAX Preferred - Medford Township, NJ
Broker Associate, Southern New Jersey Real Estate Services
Elise Sharpless
Realty Stager - Shamong, NJ

About 2 years ago I was looking for a fun date night for my husband who LOVES bluegrass. I stumbled across Albert Music Hall over the internet. We went and had a great time.

Jul 21, 2009 07:00 AM #11
Joseph Welusz - Evesham Township, NJ

Pinelands festival is this weekend


Here is the link.

Oct 06, 2009 07:45 AM #12
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