Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Jersey Pine Barrens

I first spent time in the New Jersey Pine Barrens over twenty years ago. For a period of about ten years, we used to spend a few days each summer at a shore town near the Pine Barrens, so I was able to get to know and love the Pine Barrens. For various reasons, our time in the Pine Barrens has been limited to a day trip here and there, but my love for the Pine Barrens has not diminished.

I want to set the stage for my posts on the NJ Pine Barrens with a brief discussion of different designations for the Pine Barrens. What do I mean by different designations? Ok, I’ll try to keep this simple. The federally designated Pinelands National Reserve covers about 1,719 square miles or 1.1 million acres. In 1981, the New Jersey State Legislature designated a smaller area of 1,460 square miles (934,000 acres) as the Pinelands Area, managed by the NJ Pinelands Commission. These two smaller delineations sit within the larger historical area that many in New Jersey still refer to as the Pine Barrens (2,250 square miles or 1.4 million acres). As I write this paragraph, I would like to mention a book that I am currently (re)reading about the NJ Pine Barrens from which I got these numbers as well as some maps that I am referring to as I am writing this.

For online viewing, the New Jersey Pinelands Commission has a Geographic Information Systems webpage with links to various maps, including this map which also includes the area included in the Pinelands National Reserve (PNR). If you go the PNR website, http://www.nps.gov/pine/ and click on the view map link near the top of the page, you will get a really cool map of the PNR that you can manipulate using online controls. If you do not already have it, I believe that you will need to download the freely available adobe flash player (v.9) in order to view this map.

Protecting the New Jersey Pinelands: A New Direction in Land–Use Management. 1988. Beryl Robichaud Collins and Emily W. B. Russell, editors. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press.


As some of you are no doubt aware, there is a story behind the federal and state designations that I have referred to above. A brief history of the Pine Barrens including a timeline may be found here.

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