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:
- Round-Leaved Sundew
- Roundleaf Greenbrier
- Pitch Pine
- White Oak
- Scarlet Oak
- Flowering Pixiemoss
Some of the fauna found in Bass River State Forest include:
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.
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.
Ready? Let’s go explore!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What a pretty place! It is always evergreen inside the tightly grown Atlantic Cedar bog.
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.
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
Great Pinelands Books!