State Parks Near Shamong, New Jersey

State Parks Near Shamong, New Jersey
Shamong Township is a small town surrounded on three sides by Wharton State Forest. The township is in central New Jersey and is largely rural, with several lakes and state parks or forests in the area. An interesting aspect is that the forests have been restored after vast areas of land was barren in the 1800s. New Jersey has many state parks featuring a lot of nature to explore, as well as some abandoned towns along the way.

Wharton State Forest

Wharton State Forest is the largest area of public land in New Jersey, at about 20 miles wide and 15 miles deep. Many trails cross the forest, but the most notable is the 50-mile Batona Trail that connects Wharton with two other state parks. The Batona Trail passes through the ruins of several abandoned towns.

There are six camping areas, ranging from primitive to modern. Many miles of unpaved roads cross the forest and these are used as bicycle and horse trails. Foot trails also abound in the area with many leading to the Batona trail.

Oswego River and Batsto Natural Areas both preserve more than 10,000 acres of native woodlands. Hunting is allowed in some areas, and fishing is always permitted in rivers and streams. The Mullica, Batsto, Wading and Oswego Rivers are all popular for canoeing, and motorboats may be used on the Mullica.

Wharton State Forest

31 Batsto Road

Hammonton, NJ 08037


Brendan T. Byrne State Forest

The Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, formerly known as Lebanon State Forest, is a sharp contrast to the barren land it was in the 1800s. The land was stripped bare to help run the Lebanon Glass Works, which is now abandoned, but the ruins can be toured. Another forgotten town is Whitesburg Village, which produced blueberries for many years.

The park also has a cedar swamp nature area, which includes a pine forest surrounding swampy areas. Brendan Byrne State Forest has more than 25 miles of trails, in addition to part of the Batona Trail. These may be used for cross country skiing in winter.

The campground has 79 sites, and there are group sites as well as a few cabins that can be rented.

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest

New Lisbon, NJ 08064


Bass River State Forest

In 1905, Bass River State Forest was the first designated state forest for recreation in New Jersey. A 67-acre lake was added in the 1930s, providing an area for swimming, boating and fishing. This park has eight easy trails, ranging from 1 to 3.2 miles, as well as a half-mile self-guided nature tour. The Batona Trail also passes through the park.

Bass Lake's camping area has 176 sites for tents or RVs. The site has no hookups, but has bathrooms, showers and dump stations within walking distance. Six lakefront cabins may also be rented. There is a picnic area with 74 tables, and group picnic sites may be reserved. Hunting and fishing are allowed in designated areas.

Bass River State Forest

762 Stage Road

Tuckerton, NJ 08087


Article Written By James Jordan

James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.

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