Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Batona Trail
The Batona Trail is a 49.5-mile (79.7 km) hiking trail through New Jersey's Pine Barrens.
The trail is the fourth longest in the state and begins in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest (formerly Lebanon State Forest) at the ghost town of Ong's Hat and traverses Wharton State Forest and Bass River State Forest.
The Pine Barrens are not barren at all. 39 species of mammals, 229 bird species, 59 reptile and amphibian species and 91fish species have been reported in the Pine Barrens. Possums, chipmunks, squirrels, beavers, muskrats, mice, foxes, raccoons, weasels, mink, river otter and white-tailed deer are some of the more common mammals seen in the Pinelands. Some common amphibians and reptiles are snakes, skinks, newts, salamanders, frogs, toads and turtles.
The Pine Barrens Tree Frog has a population here that is disconnected from other populations in the Carolinas and the Florida Panhandle. And the Pinelands is the fringe of both northern and southern plant species, such as the Yellow Fringed Orchid.
The pines that are found there include loblolly pine white pine pitch pine, shortleaf pines, Virginia pines. Although the pines dominate the area there are also maple trees, birches, cedars, oaks, magnolia and sassafras trees along the trail.
Edible plants include bearberries, spotted wintergreen, teaberries, huckleberries, bayberries, blackberries, cranberries blueberries and strawberries. There is a diverse range of other plants from the prickly pear cactus, wildflowers, twenty-eight species of orchids, the pitcher plant, ferns, Atlantic white cedar and sphagnum moss.
The trail was built in 1961 by the Batona Hiking Club, which began informally in 1928 when Philadelphians began meeting regularly to hike. Most hikers will take about three days to hike the whole trail.
The portion of the Batona Trail through Wharton State Forest is maintained by the State Park Service and the Batona Hiking Club. One stop on this section of the Batona trail passes the Carranza Memorial within Wharton State Forest.
The trail passes also through Bass River State Forest is maintained by the State Park Service, the Outdoor Club of South Jersey and the Batona Hiking Club.