Wharton State Forest—Batsto Lake

Pleasant Mills, New Jersey

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This lake offers pine, oak, and white cedar woods; bogs; waterfowl; beaver; turtles; eagles; ospreys; and wild iris. At more than 100,000 acres, Wharton State Forest is huge. If you look at a map of New Jersey, you’ll notice a big green circular area with very few roads in the middle of the southern part of the state. That’s Wharton State Forest. Nestled in Wharton State Forest in the heart of the Pine Barrens along Route 542, Batsto Historical Village offers a look at eighteenth- and nineteenth century living when the village boomed with more than 200 residents. A dam was built in 1765 along the Batsto River, creating the present-day lake and bogs, to provide power to operate a blast furnace for the production of iron—the first commercial operation at Batsto. Bog iron ore begins to form when vegetative matter decays and settles in soils containing high amounts of soluble iron. The ensuing chemical reaction brings the iron in solution to the surface, where it oxidizes upon contact with air. The heavier oxidized iron then settles to the bottom as a reddish-brown scum or sludge, cementing together bits of sand and gravel, and then hardening to produce ironstone, or bog iron, in a process that takes about 30 years.
Quiet Water New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Quiet Water New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania

by Kathy Kenley (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

This lake offers pine, oak, and white cedar woods; bogs; waterfowl; beaver; turtles; eagles; ospreys; and wild iris. At more than 100,000 acres, Wharton State Forest is huge. If you look at a map of New Jersey, you’ll notice a big green circular area with very few roads in the middle of the southern part of the state. That’s Wharton State Forest. Nestled in Wharton State Forest in the heart of the Pine Barrens along Route 542, Batsto Historical Village offers a look at eighteenth- and nineteenth century living when the village boomed with more than 200 residents. A dam was built in 1765 along the Batsto River, creating the present-day lake and bogs, to provide power to operate a blast furnace for the production of iron—the first commercial operation at Batsto. Bog iron ore begins to form when vegetative matter decays and settles in soils containing high amounts of soluble iron. The ensuing chemical reaction brings the iron in solution to the surface, where it oxidizes upon contact with air. The heavier oxidized iron then settles to the bottom as a reddish-brown scum or sludge, cementing together bits of sand and gravel, and then hardening to produce ironstone, or bog iron, in a process that takes about 30 years.

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

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Pleasant Mills
Duration: 1.0 hour
Local Contacts: Wharton
Local Maps: New Jersey Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 64; USGS Batsto
Driving Directions: Directions to Wharton State Forest—Batsto Lake

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Apr 2018