Wharton State Forest—Batsto Lake Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"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."