New Jersey State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites

New Jersey State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites Welcome to the Official page for the New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry, State Park Service The New Jersey State Park Service administers over 438,000 acres of land comprising parks, forests, historic sites and other recreation areas.

We strive to provide our visitors with a variety of recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, camping, swimming, boating and picnicking. Our historic sites offer the visitor the opportunity to journey back through time to experience life of a foregone era. No matter what your interest is, there is something for everyone! We invite you to take advantage of all our recreational, natural and historical resources and Open your Doorway to Adventure!

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Join the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for the FREE New Jersey Trails & Greenways Virtual Summit, sp...
08/13/2021

Join the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for the FREE New Jersey Trails & Greenways Virtual Summit, sponsored by New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJDEP.

The summit is an opportunity to highlight the creation of robust trail and greenway networks throughout the state and to celebrate exemplary projects as an increasingly important piece of New Jersey’s transportation and recreation network.

This summit is open to anyone aspiring to enhance our state's trail and greenway network including:
- Trail enthusiasts
- County and municipal planners and engineers
- Parks and recreation staff
- Local open space and recreation committee members
- County and municipal elected or appointed leaders
- Trail professionals and advocates
- Senior and youth groups

🔗Register at bit.ly/njtrails2021

#njtrailssummit21 #njtrailsandgreenways #getoutside

Join the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for the FREE New Jersey Trails & Greenways Virtual Summit, sponsored by New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJDEP.

The summit is an opportunity to highlight the creation of robust trail and greenway networks throughout the state and to celebrate exemplary projects as an increasingly important piece of New Jersey’s transportation and recreation network.

This summit is open to anyone aspiring to enhance our state's trail and greenway network including:
- Trail enthusiasts
- County and municipal planners and engineers
- Parks and recreation staff
- Local open space and recreation committee members
- County and municipal elected or appointed leaders
- Trail professionals and advocates
- Senior and youth groups

🔗Register at bit.ly/njtrails2021

#njtrailssummit21 #njtrailsandgreenways #getoutside

Weekend of August 14 & 15 Lifeguard Schedule🏖️ Island Beach State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.🏊 Atsion...
08/13/2021

Weekend of August 14 & 15 Lifeguard Schedule

🏖️ Island Beach State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
🏊 Atsion Recreation Area (Wharton State Forest ) – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏖️ Bass River State Forest – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏊 Cheesequake State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏖️ Hopatcong State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏊 High Point State Park and New Jersey Veterans' Memorial – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏖️ Round Valley Recreation Area – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏊 Wawayanda State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty.

View our full swim schedule here: https://www.njparksandforests.org/parks/swimmingschedule.html

#NJStateParks

Weekend of August 14 & 15 Lifeguard Schedule

🏖️ Island Beach State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
🏊 Atsion Recreation Area (Wharton State Forest ) – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏖️ Bass River State Forest – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏊 Cheesequake State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏖️ Hopatcong State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏊 High Point State Park and New Jersey Veterans' Memorial – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏖️ Round Valley Recreation Area – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🏊 Wawayanda State Park – Open August 14 & 15 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty.

View our full swim schedule here: https://www.njparksandforests.org/parks/swimmingschedule.html

#NJStateParks

#WildlifeWednesday - Great Blue HeronLook up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a… pterodactyl?You were probab...
08/11/2021

#WildlifeWednesday - Great Blue Heron

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a… pterodactyl?
You were probably right the first time. Great blue herons, large wading birds common throughout much of New Jersey, have an ungainly-looking way of flying, with their long legs extending out behind them and neck kinked into an “s” shape, that makes them a strange apparition in the sky over New Jersey’s wetlands.

At almost four feet tall with a five- to six-foot wingspan, the Great Blue Heron is the largest wading bird in North America. It is typically seen standing in the shallow water on the edges of lakes, ponds, and other wetlands where it quietly stalks its’ prey. These herons have a varied diet, which includes fish, frogs, small mammals, insects, and other birds.

Great blue herons are colonial nesters, gathering in groups and building large, loose-looking nests of sticks in trees in or near wetlands. Both male and female herons sit on the eggs and care for the young, and a colony may re-use nests for several years, adding on to the previous years’ nests, making them bigger with each successive year.

Though common in New Jersey with a stable population, great blue herons in New Jersey are considered a species of “special concern” primarily due to the loss of the wetland habitats that are their home.

Great blue herons don’t just look prehistoric in flight, the sounds they make can sound prehistoric too. You can find out more about herons and hear recordings of their croaking calls- (https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/great-blue-heron )

Article by Kate Foord, Resource Interpretive Specialist, High Point State Park
Photo caption: Great Blue Heron perches on Atlantic White Cedar stump in Steenykill Lake, High Point State Park

#WildlifeWednesday - Great Blue Heron

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a… pterodactyl?
You were probably right the first time. Great blue herons, large wading birds common throughout much of New Jersey, have an ungainly-looking way of flying, with their long legs extending out behind them and neck kinked into an “s” shape, that makes them a strange apparition in the sky over New Jersey’s wetlands.

At almost four feet tall with a five- to six-foot wingspan, the Great Blue Heron is the largest wading bird in North America. It is typically seen standing in the shallow water on the edges of lakes, ponds, and other wetlands where it quietly stalks its’ prey. These herons have a varied diet, which includes fish, frogs, small mammals, insects, and other birds.

Great blue herons are colonial nesters, gathering in groups and building large, loose-looking nests of sticks in trees in or near wetlands. Both male and female herons sit on the eggs and care for the young, and a colony may re-use nests for several years, adding on to the previous years’ nests, making them bigger with each successive year.

Though common in New Jersey with a stable population, great blue herons in New Jersey are considered a species of “special concern” primarily due to the loss of the wetland habitats that are their home.

Great blue herons don’t just look prehistoric in flight, the sounds they make can sound prehistoric too. You can find out more about herons and hear recordings of their croaking calls- (https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/great-blue-heron )

Article by Kate Foord, Resource Interpretive Specialist, High Point State Park
Photo caption: Great Blue Heron perches on Atlantic White Cedar stump in Steenykill Lake, High Point State Park

#notesfromnaturalists Perseids Meteor Shower 2021 Like clockwork, the annual Perseids Meteor Shower dazzles astronomers ...
08/10/2021

#notesfromnaturalists
Perseids Meteor Shower 2021

Like clockwork, the annual Perseids Meteor Shower dazzles astronomers and stargazers every August with ‘fireballs’ visible for almost the entire northern hemisphere to see. Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the meteors are called Perseids because the point from which they appear to originate from (called the “radiant”) lies in the constellation Perseus. When you watch a meteor shower, you're actually seeing the pieces of comet debris heat up as they enter the atmosphere and burn up in a bright burst of light streaking across the sky. In space, these pieces of debris are called "meteoroids," but when they reach Earth's atmosphere, they're designated as "meteors." If a piece makes it all the way down to Earth without burning up, it graduates to "meteorite."

WHEN:
Active from about July 17 through August 24 every year, the Perseids can build up to a peak of about 100 “shooting stars” per hour. The peak in 2021 is Thursday, August 12, though the few nights before and after are almost as good. The best time to look for meteors is the predawn hours. This year, the last quarter moon may shed some unwanted light in your viewing area but the Perseids are usually so bright, you should have no problem seeing them!

WHERE:
The Perseid shower is named for the constellation Perseus, so the Perseid meteors will appear to be traveling away from the constellation Perseus in the night sky. Locating Perseus might help you to see as many meteors as possible, but is certainly not necessary. Just look up!

HOW:
You don't need any special equipment or any special skills to observe this amazing celestial event. All you really need is a clear sky, little to no light pollution, and lots of patience. An Interactive sky map is handy too. Here’s a few tips to help maximize your viewing experience:

Find a secluded spot away from artificial light and give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Be sure to turn flashlights and phones off as light from even small sources can negatively affect night vision.

Dress for the weather! Bring a blanket or chair, lay back and keep your head slightly elevated. Try to take in as much sky as possible.

Look up, particularly in the direction of the radiant.

Although tempting, avoid using binoculars or telescopes.

Happy stargazing!

Article by Kelly Scott, Resource Interpretive Specialist, Island Beach State Park
Image: NASA

#notesfromnaturalists
Perseids Meteor Shower 2021

Like clockwork, the annual Perseids Meteor Shower dazzles astronomers and stargazers every August with ‘fireballs’ visible for almost the entire northern hemisphere to see. Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the meteors are called Perseids because the point from which they appear to originate from (called the “radiant”) lies in the constellation Perseus. When you watch a meteor shower, you're actually seeing the pieces of comet debris heat up as they enter the atmosphere and burn up in a bright burst of light streaking across the sky. In space, these pieces of debris are called "meteoroids," but when they reach Earth's atmosphere, they're designated as "meteors." If a piece makes it all the way down to Earth without burning up, it graduates to "meteorite."

WHEN:
Active from about July 17 through August 24 every year, the Perseids can build up to a peak of about 100 “shooting stars” per hour. The peak in 2021 is Thursday, August 12, though the few nights before and after are almost as good. The best time to look for meteors is the predawn hours. This year, the last quarter moon may shed some unwanted light in your viewing area but the Perseids are usually so bright, you should have no problem seeing them!

WHERE:
The Perseid shower is named for the constellation Perseus, so the Perseid meteors will appear to be traveling away from the constellation Perseus in the night sky. Locating Perseus might help you to see as many meteors as possible, but is certainly not necessary. Just look up!

HOW:
You don't need any special equipment or any special skills to observe this amazing celestial event. All you really need is a clear sky, little to no light pollution, and lots of patience. An Interactive sky map is handy too. Here’s a few tips to help maximize your viewing experience:

Find a secluded spot away from artificial light and give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Be sure to turn flashlights and phones off as light from even small sources can negatively affect night vision.

Dress for the weather! Bring a blanket or chair, lay back and keep your head slightly elevated. Try to take in as much sky as possible.

Look up, particularly in the direction of the radiant.

Although tempting, avoid using binoculars or telescopes.

Happy stargazing!

Article by Kelly Scott, Resource Interpretive Specialist, Island Beach State Park
Image: NASA

Attention stamp collectors and proud New Jerseyans... the iconic Twin Lights of Navesink have joined the  #ForeverStamp ...
08/09/2021

Attention stamp collectors and proud New Jerseyans... the iconic Twin Lights of Navesink have joined the #ForeverStamp team as part of the 2021 issuance of Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses, the latest in the US Postal Service's series of lighthouse stamps.

A few #FunFacts about the Twin Lights Historic Site:
💡 It's one of seven stations in the country to feature two towers.
💡 The twin lighthouses were the first to have Fresnel lenses installed, which produce an intense light.
💡 The Pledge of Allegiance was read in public for the first time at the site in 1893.

The Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses stamps are now being sold at Post Office locations nationwide and online at usps.com/lighthousestamp.

#NJStateParks #TwinLightsHistoricSite

The Barnegat Lighthouse located in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park will reopen its doors to visitors this Saturday, Augus...
08/06/2021

The Barnegat Lighthouse located in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park will reopen its doors to visitors this Saturday, August 7.

For the remainder of the summer, the lighthouse will be open weekends only, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Masks are required to enter. There is no entrance fee, but donations are accepted.

Be advised there may be longer wait times due to the limited hours. Please be patient as a limited number of visitors are permitted in the lighthouse at one time.

We ask that you be considerate of others and limit your time at the top.

Last entry time is at 1:45 p.m.

#NJStateParks

The Barnegat Lighthouse located in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park will reopen its doors to visitors this Saturday, August 7.

For the remainder of the summer, the lighthouse will be open weekends only, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Masks are required to enter. There is no entrance fee, but donations are accepted.

Be advised there may be longer wait times due to the limited hours. Please be patient as a limited number of visitors are permitted in the lighthouse at one time.

We ask that you be considerate of others and limit your time at the top.

Last entry time is at 1:45 p.m.

#NJStateParks

#WildlifeWednesday The Ghost Crab, Little Beach Pirate  The Ghost crab is New Jerseys only land crab.  Fiddler crabs com...
08/04/2021

#WildlifeWednesday
The Ghost Crab, Little Beach Pirate

The Ghost crab is New Jerseys only land crab. Fiddler crabs come close, but they spend half the day under water in their holes. The land hermit crabs sold on the boardwalk shops are actually from the Caribbean. To live on land requires specialized gills and a constant source of sea water to keep those gills moist. At night, in the cool, humid darkness, ghost crabs may wander a considerable distance from the beach even crossing the street to patrol beach front lawns. Some even raid trash cans, often getting trapped inside. During the day, ghost crabs stay close to their burrows above the high tide line. The biggest crabs make their holes in the dunes, and since the crabs have eight walking legs and two claws, their tracks in the sand are quite distinct as they come and go. Ghost crabs are fast and white hence their name “ghost.” Children find them challenging to catch and tricky to pick up as their claws are like little steak knives. Many tourists enjoy the “sport” of ghost crab “hunting” by flashlight. It is a great family activity. After all, what child does not love a flashlight search in the dark!

Although primarily a beach scavenger, ghost crabs are famous for preying on baby sea turtles. As a child I remember heart wrenching TV footage of ghost crabs dragging baby sea turtles into their holes. Ghost crabs also prey on baby shorebirds, such as the piping plovers and least terns. However, that is natural. We beach loving humans are the real problem for sea turtles and beach nesting birds! We can’t go blaming the plucky little ghost crab for the demise of “cute beach creatures.” Everyone loves the beach, but we have to learn to share!

Article by Matt Pelligine, Resource Interpretive Specialist, Cape May Point State Park

#notesfromnaturalists Our State Reptile, the Bog TurtleYou may know about some of New Jersey’s state symbols, such as th...
08/03/2021

#notesfromnaturalists
Our State Reptile, the Bog Turtle
You may know about some of New Jersey’s state symbols, such as the horse, our state mammal, or the violet, our state flower, but do you know our state reptile? That would be Glyptemys muhlenbergii, also known as the bog turtle. On June 18th, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy designated the bog turtle as the state reptile of New Jersey.

The bog turtle is endemic to the eastern United States, meaning its habitat is restricted to this portion of our country. It is one of the smallest turtles in North America, only four inches in length and weighing about 4 ounces.

This species of reptile is named for Gotthilf Muhlenberg, a botanist who discovered the turtle while cataloguing plants. Bog turtles have dark coloring, usually a muddy, dusky brown, with bright orange spots on the neck.

Habitats of bog turtles include meadows, fens, bogs, swamps, and marshes with soft, muddy bottoms. Semiaquatic, a bog turtle will spend most of its time in the mud, hibernating during the early fall into spring. Bog turtles are known to bury themselves in the mud instead of using physical defenses such as biting and snapping.

This turtle is diurnal, active during the day, and eats seeds, snails, insects, and frogs. Bog turtles are in turn preyed upon by larger turtles, snakes, and mammals. Their average lifespan is about 25 years, though the oldest bog turtle in captivity lived to be 61 years old. A female will lay a clutch of eggs in the summer, with on average three eggs in each clutch. Eggs hatch in the fall, and the turtles will reach maturity in about 6-8 years.

Bog turtles are listed as an endangered species due to loss of habitat to development and also as a target of poaching for illegal pet trade. If you happen to sight one of these elusive reptiles while out exploring New Jersey, consider yourself fortunate!

Photos courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library.
Article by Sarajane Bruno, Naturalist, Liberty State Park

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Mail Code: 501-04, 501 E State Street, PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ
08608

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(800) 843-6420

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The New Jersey State Park Service administers over 438,000 acres of land comprising parks, forests, historic sites, and other recreation areas. We strive to provide our visitors with a variety of recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, camping, swimming, boating and picnicking. Our historic sites offer the visitor the opportunity to journey back through time to experience life of a foregone era. No matter what your interest is, there is something for everyone! We invite you to take advantage of all our recreational, natural and historical resources and Open your Doorway to Adventure!

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South Branch NJ's Rancocas State Park. Tidewater wild rice marsh and woodlands kayaking. Our Day on a Delaware River Estuary feeder waterway. Delaware River Estuary - Discover it's Secrets. Even if your in Trenton. RT 5 hours kayaking and paddling. 8 Miles Covered.
Not this particular one,but i was Kayacking on the Barnegst bay yesterday 7/23/two thoudand twnty one ------afternoon.I kayaked 6 miles, stopped for a break looked over and saw a bright pinkish tall bird,i immediately noticed the beak. Pulled out my celphone to get picture of the Loner in the middle of large group of egrets,herons,seagulls. Soon as i get my Camera/phone out my waterproof bag a ,mosquito helicopter flew over head ,scared the whole.group heading southeast direction
Our Shared Waters - Rancocas Creek Water Trail Mount Holly Paddlesport and Kayak Festivus. Paddle on Down. Discover, Explore and Visit NJ's Water Trail Town. Help Support the Rancocas Creek's Nomination as a National Water Trail. Help Spread de Word. Paddlesports - Part Deaux. There will be a workshop on public access for all.
Monarchs are back at Melpine Landing, Rancocas Creek Water Trail Mile 19, Rancocas State Park. Help protect and restore monarch butterfly populations. Enhance awareness by reading NJDEP Monarch Guide. Go 1 Step Further. Keep Landing Free of garbage and debris. Respect natures resources. https://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/monarch-guide.pdf
Is the parking lot full?
What is THIS weekend's (Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon) lifeguard schedule at the state parks?
Discover. Explore. Relax. NJ's Exemplary and Historic Rancocas Creek Water Trail. Rancocas State Park. Confluence. Big Sky.
South Branch Rancocas Creek Water Trail "Wishbone" Backwaters, Rancocas State Park
On the Rancocas "Wishbone". Rancocas State Park
Canistear Road Summer season ROAD TRIPS ARE THE EQUIVALENT OF HUMAN WINGS. ASK ME TO GO ON ONE, ANYWHERE. WE’LL STOP IN EVERY SMALL TOWN AND LEARN THE HISTORY AND STORIES, FEEL THE GROUND, AND CAPTURE THE SPIRIT. THEN WE’LL TURN IT INTO OUR OWN STORY THAT WILL LIVE INSIDE OUR HISTORY TO CARRY WITH US, ALWAYS. BECAUSE STORIES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINGS.
💗With love to the people of Vernon , New Jersey 💗