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Wharton State Forest, Batsto

#21 of 55 in Nature in New Jersey
Forest · Nature / Park
Wharton State Forest is the largest state forest in the U.S. state of New Jersey. It is the largest single tract of land in the state park system of New Jersey, encompassing approximately 122,880 acres (497.3 km2) of the Pinelands northeast of Hammonton. Its protected acreage is divided between Burlington, Camden, and Atlantic counties. The entire forest is located within the Atlantic coastal pine barrens ecoregion as well as the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve. The forest is located in the forested watershed of the Mullica River, which drains the central Pinelands region into the Great Bay. The forest is under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.

The forest is also the location of the historic Batsto Village, a former bog iron and glass manufacturing site from 1766 to 1867. The forest includes extensive hiking trails, including a section of the Batona Trail, which connects the forest to nearby Brendan T. Byrne State Forest and Bass River State Forest. It also includes over 500 miles (800 km) of unpaved roads. The rivers, including the Mullica, are popular destinations for recreational canoeing.

The forest is named for Joseph Wharton, who purchased most of the land that now lies within the forest in the 19th Century. Wharton wanted to tap the ground water under the Pine Barrens to provide a source of clean drinking water for Philadelphia; however, the New Jersey Legislature quashed the plan by passing a law that banned the export of water from the state. The state bought the vast tract from Wharton's heirs in the 1950s.

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Wharton State Forest reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
68 reviews
  • It is a great destination for people who like to walk. We enjoyed countless hikes here through the years. The trail network is quite good, well marked and interesting. The camping conditions are...  more »
  • When I drove down to Wharton from Central New Jersey it felt like I entered a completely different state. It’s worth checking out, and I see why this park would be a hot spot for ATV riding. Unpaved.....  more »
  • If you enjoy canoeing, hiking and wildlife then this is the place for you. We've rented canoes from Pinelands Adventures for the past 4 years and they are great. If you've been here you know, if you haven't you need to go.
  • I'd give it a 5 for the trails which are great for hiking and biking. I give it a 1 for management who has posted so many signs that it makes you feel like a criminal to drive on the dirt roads.

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