Wharton State Forest—Atsion Lake

Shamong, New Jersey

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Enjoy white cedar, pine, and oak woods; waterfowl; turtles; frogs; and marsh flowers at this lake. One of the larger lakes within the 110,000 acre Wharton State Forest, Atsion Lake (pronounced AT-zon by locals) is the only one that provides on site camping facilities, many of which are lakeside. Like other Pine Barren rivers that were dammed to create a lake, it was created during the American Revolution heyday of iron forge-making because of all the bog iron in the ground. The pond furnished the village with water and powered the furnace. A paper mill and grist mill were added later. It’s hard to believe that Atsion was once a thriving village with 200 residents. The old general store is now the ranger’s headquarters. Next to it is the mansion built by Samuel Richards that overlooked the ironworks and mill pond. You can walk around the site of the old Atsion village after paddling the lake. Stop in at the ranger’s office to learn more about the history of the village. The public boat launch, playgrounds, showers, swimming beach, two short nature trails, and picnic facilities are at the recreation area on the south side of the lake.
Quiet Water New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Quiet Water New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania

by Kathy Kenley (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

Enjoy white cedar, pine, and oak woods; waterfowl; turtles; frogs; and marsh flowers at this lake. One of the larger lakes within the 110,000 acre Wharton State Forest, Atsion Lake (pronounced AT-zon by locals) is the only one that provides on site camping facilities, many of which are lakeside. Like other Pine Barren rivers that were dammed to create a lake, it was created during the American Revolution heyday of iron forge-making because of all the bog iron in the ground. The pond furnished the village with water and powered the furnace. A paper mill and grist mill were added later. It’s hard to believe that Atsion was once a thriving village with 200 residents. The old general store is now the ranger’s headquarters. Next to it is the mansion built by Samuel Richards that overlooked the ironworks and mill pond. You can walk around the site of the old Atsion village after paddling the lake. Stop in at the ranger’s office to learn more about the history of the village. The public boat launch, playgrounds, showers, swimming beach, two short nature trails, and picnic facilities are at the recreation area on the south side of the lake.

©  Kathy Kenley/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Shamong
Duration: 1.5–2.0 hours
Local Contacts: Wharton
Local Maps: New Jersey Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 6556; USGS Jenkins
Driving Directions: Directions to Wharton State Forest—Atsion Lake

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Apr 2018