Wharton State Forest

by R. Cohen Ohlstein | Aug 20, 2015
Wharton State Forest Wharton State Forest, in Hammonton, is the largest single tract of land within the New Jersey State Park System. It is also the site of Batsto Village, a former bog iron and glassmaking industrial center from 1766 to 1867 that currently reflects the agricultural and commercial enterprises that existed here during the late 19th century.

Throughout Wharton are rivers and streams for canoeing, hiking trails (including a major section of the Batona Trail), 500 miles of unpaved roads for mountain biking and horseback riding and numerous lakes, ponds and fields ideal for wildlife observation. Bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, marsh hawks, ospreys, great blue herons, swans, screech owls, great-horned owls, bluebirds, hummingbirds, purple martins, goldfinch, turkeys, beavers, river otters, fox and deer are only some of the wildlife the alert visitor can see.

Batsto Village
This Pine Barrens village consists of thirty-three historic buildings and structures including the Batsto Mansion, gristmill, sawmill, general store, workers' homes and post office. The mansion is open at specified times.

Batona Trail
This 50-mile trail connects Wharton, Lebanon and Bass River State forests. This portion of the Batona Trail is maintained by the NJ State Park Service and the Batona Hiking Club.

Batsto Natural Area (9449 acres)
This natural area is composed of two sections bordering the Batsto and Mullica rivers and contains several forest communities that are representative of New Jersey Pine Barrens.

Oswego River Natural Area (1,927 acres)
Extensive white cedar and pitch pine forests border the Oswego River. This freshwater wetland corridor is home to the rare bog asphodel, Pine Barren boneset, curly grass fern and Pine Barrens treefrog.

Atsion Village & Recreation Center
Public beach (Memorial day through Labor day with lifeguards), bath houses, nature trail and picnic area facilities are available at Atsion Recreation Area on Route 206 in Shamong Township. For information, call 609-268-0444.

Carranza Road; Carranza Memorial
Carranza Road is a rather long stretch of road (some paved, but mostly dirt) that passes by the Carranza Memorial. The memorial was erected in honor of Emilio Carranza who crashed his plane and died in that part of the woods on July 12, 1928. Also on this road are many camping areas and a youth correctional facility. There are countless off spurts of roads and trails leading back to old foundations and other interesting finds. There is also a street called Mooresmeadow Road which leads down to some interesting abandoned shacks. This road can be found on the left just as you enter Wharton State Forest on Carranza.


Atsion campsites: 50 tent and trailer sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Potable water, flush toilets and showers are within walking distance. Ground fires are not permitted during the day. Trailer sanitary station open April 1 through December 15. Campsites open April 1 through December 15.

Godfrey Bridge: 49 tent and trailer sites (21 feet or less), water, picnic tables, fire rings, pit toilets. Ground fires are not permitted during the day. Trailers may use trailer sanitary station at Atsion. Campsites open all year.

Wilderness campsites: (group, individual, and family) Bodine Field, Hawkins Bridge, Batona Campsite, Mullica River Wilderness Campsite, and Goshen Pond have hand pumps for water and pit toilets. Buttonwood Hill and Lower Forge sites have no water. Mullica River and Lower Forge are wilderness sites, access by hiking, canoeing or by horseback; motor vehicles are not permitted. All other areas are accessible by motor vehicles. Ground fires not permitted during the day. Campsite capacities vary from 50-250 persons.

Cabins: Six furnished cabins with screened porch, fireplace, refrigerator, hot and cold running water; bathroom with toilet and shower; 2 bunks. Accommodates 4 people. Two cabins are designed for people with disabilities and each accommodates 6 people. One cabin accommodates 8 people. Cabins are located on Atsion Lake. Open April 1 through October 31.

Wharton State Forest has two offices - one at Batsto Village and one at Atsion Recreation Area. Batsto Village is located on Route 542, eight miles east of Hammonton. Atsion is on Route 206, eight miles north of Hammonton. The Visitor Center is open from 9am to 4pm daily. For more information, call 609-561-0024 or visit batstovillage.org or www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/wharton.html.


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