Exploring Bass River State Forest!

Bass River State Forest

Welcome to Bass River State Forest!   The land comprising Bass River State Forest was acquired by the State of New Jersey in 1905 and is part of the New Jersey Pinelands Biosphere. It was the first State Forest established in New Jersey.

Typical flora found in Bass River State Forest include the below among others:

Some of the fauna found in Bass River State Forest include:

Virtual Tour

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch Bass River State Forest

Welcome! Nature greets us as soon as we step out of car in the form of an American Goldfinch feasting on bird seed outside the Bass River State Forest office.

Trail Map

Using the below trail map (taken from the NJ DEP Webpage) as our guide we will explore Joe’s Trail (labeled below as JT) and the Absegami Trail of which only a partial bit can be seen on the map below right above the parking area in the lower right hand corner of the map.

Map

Ready? Let’s go explore!

Trail Heads

Heading west from the parking lot we come to the beginning of several trails (the red blazed .6 of a mile South Shore Trail, the orange blazed 4 mile Civilian Conservation Corps Trail, the green blazed 1.7 mile Nisky Trail and the purple blazed 3 mile Falkinburg  Trail). We will be hiking Joe’s Trail (JT). The JT trailhead is just beyond these markers. After hiking the JT we will do a virtual hike of the silver blazed 0.4 of a mile Absegami Trail.

Joe's Trail

Joe’s Trail Bass River State Forest

We’ve arrived at the beginning of JT. JT is named after Joseph N. Trujillo who was an army veteran of three wars and was president of the Outdoor Club of South Jersey. JT is an out and back trail. The benefit of these type of trails is you may see something on the way back that you missed on your way in.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel Bass River State Forest

Near the beginning of JT is Mountain Laurel. Mountain Laurel is an evergreen shrub that blooms usually near the end of May and beginning of June.

Pitch Pine

Pitch Pine Bass River State Forest

The tall Pine trees all around are Pitch Pines (the same tree that grows on the mountain ridges of northern NJ). The Pitch Pine is the signature tree of the Pinelands. The tree is dependent on wildfire for its cones to open to produce a new tree. Given all the development surrounding the Pinelands, many wildfires have been suppressed leading to Oak trees replacing the Pines over time. The New Jersey Park Service holds controlled burns from time to time to help prevent this from happening among other reasons.

Eastern Teaberry

Teaberry Bass River State Forest

As we continue our hike we come upon lots of Teaberry growing on the forest floor. Teaberry is favored by Ruffed Grouse, Northern Bobwhite, Ring-Neck Pheasant and Mourning Doves among other birds.

Pixie Cup Lichen with Eastern Teaberry

Teaberry & Flowering Pixiemoss Bass River State Forest

Let’s keep a lookout as we go for different types of plants that grow here in the New Jersey Pinelands. The dark green little leaves above are Teaberry. The light colored green plant is Flowering Pixiemoss. The “moss” in Pixiemoss is misleading. It is actually a low subshrub.

Lake Absegami

Lake Absegami Bass River State Forest

Here we have a nice view of the 67 acre Lake Absegami. Lake Absegami is not a natural lake (like most of the lakes in New Jersey). It was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

GallBerry

InkBerry Bass River State Forest

Near Lake Abegami we find some Inkberry growing. Notice the dark black berries. This plant grows well in the pinelands.

We have reached the end of JT at a campground. Let’s turn around and head over to the Absegami Trail.

Absegami Trail.jpg

Absegami Trailhead

We have now arrived at the Absegami Trail. This trail goes through a cool Atlantic White Cedar Bog through a boardwalk and concludes by going through a oak/pine mixed forest. As we starting walking we hear an Ovenbird. It is said that the bird obtained its name because its nests look like old fashioned dutch ovens.

State Natural Area

State Natural Area

The Atlantic White Cedar Bog has been designated a State Natural Area. Public access is allowed in state natural areas as long as it does not disturb the plants found.

Atlantic White Cedar.jpg

Atlantic White Cedar

As we walk we find that we get a good look at some of the Atlantic White Cedar which grow close to the boardwalk. The wood of the Atlantic White Cedar is quite durable and can last hundreds of years.

View from BW

What a pretty place! It is always evergreen inside the tightly grown Atlantic Cedar bog.

Daddy Longlegs

Daddy Longlegs

As we walk we spot this long legged critter scurrying away from us. It’s a daddy long- legs,  a common arachnid of the Pinelands.

Sheep Laurel

Sheep Laurel

As we leave the boardwalk we enter the pine/oak section of the trail. Here we see Sheep Laurel. Sheep Laurel has flowers similar to Mountain Laurel and blooms around the same time but the shrub is much smaller than Mountain Laurel.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee Bass River State Forest

As we near the end of the trail we hear a bird song that sounds like ‘Drink Your Tea’. It’s an Eastern Towhee! What a beautiful bird.

We have now arrived back our cars. Thank you for taking this virtual tour of Bass River State Forest! I hope that it inspires for you to check it out for yourself!

Address: 762 Stage Rd
Tuckerton, NJ 08087

Click below for a list of plants found in Bass River State Forest

Bass River State Forest Flora

Check out the latest Bird Sightings Here!

Great Pinelands Books!

1. A Field Guide to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey: Its Flora, Fauna and Historic Sites

2. A Pine Barrens Odyssey: A Naturalist’s Year in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey

3. Wild Flowers of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey

Check out the latest bird sightings here!

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