What constitutes the Pine Barrens?

Apr 6, 2004
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This is a spin off my other thread devoted to determining the line of demarcation between north and south Jersey. A local drunk with whom I was briefly engaged in a "debate" last week looked at me like I was from another planet when I suggested that Brick Township homes some of the Pine Barrens. "Where?" he asked me, as if I was born yesterday.

I had to ask him if he even knew what the Pine Barrens are, considering that what I consider to be the essential elements of the Pines are dispersed throughout Brick, however scattered they may be. But this brings up a good question that I've tried to answer many times over the years: What precisely constitutes the Barrens?
 

foofoo

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Sep 14, 2003
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that is very interesting question. there are parts of freehold-turkey swamp and jackson that seem to look like the pine barrens as far as a northern border. maybe if you look at a satellite pictue you can get a better boundary but with all the building going on the real boundaries of the pine barrens are lost. maybe someone has a better description of what the pine barrens encompass.
 
Apr 6, 2004
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foofoo,

You're right: Development certainly has obscured the boundaries of the pines. The Pines were once much mroe vast than they are now.
 

Boyd

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I think this is what the pinelands commission originally had in mind:

http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/HISTORICALMAPS/STATE_FORESTS_PARKS/PinelandsLandCapability1980.gif

Looks like Brick is pretty far removed, but maybe there were some colored tints which don't appear on this black and white map. At the Medford Library I remember looking at the original pinelands commission report which had a map with many layers of clear plastic overlays in different colors representing different areas.
 

bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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An interesting subject men, and one to pontificate upon.

John Hershberger wrote "The vegetation of the NJ Pine Barrens" in 1910 or so. In the book he has a fold out map in the back that shows what his take on the boundary was. He shows the pine barrens extending all the way to Asbury Park (in a curving arc towards the northeast) and down to the 'start' of the Cape May penisula (but not extending down the penisula to Cape May).

I agree with him somewhat. Man changed the area so it does not look like the pine barrens, but it still is if you raze all the stuff we put there.
 

Bobbleton

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Mar 12, 2004
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For me, anyway, it's where you can still find pine snakes, corn snakes, and scarlet snakes =D

Glad you said that - it supports my opinion. From my point of view the "pine barrens" represent an ecosystem type. This being based on the species you find within the area (whether chopped up, developed or not) like pitch pine, bayberry, pine snakes, etc . . .

Living most of my life straddling NJ's "mason-dixon line", I can tell you for a fact that ecologically the pine barrens reach north of 195. Lots of brick, point pleasant, and even into monmouth county. I've found cornsnakes and pine snakes both in howell (well one each, actually) - in somewhat of an "island" of pine barrens. I've also found pine barrens treefrogs (LOTS of them) in Freehold a bit north of the freehold/jackson border - again north of 195. If not for development and fire prevention in much of these northern areas, I imagine much more of this range would be obviously "pine barrens" as well.

Oh and brandon - if you're measuring by where you can find scarlet snakes in NJ, there are no pine barrens.

-Bob
 

Boyd

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That is an interesting map which I've seen before in the Rutgers collection here: http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/HISTORICALMAPS/NJ_1878.jpg

It gets a little confusing because it also shows soil types. At first look it appears that Medford, Tabernacle, Shamong, etc. aren't in the pinelands. But looking more closely, the boundary of the pinelands is shown by a dotted line with light green cross-hatching next to it. It's also interesting that areas which many people consider pinelands today are designated as oaklands. I wonder if logging during the past 130 years has changed this?
 

bobpbx

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That is an interesting map which I've seen before in the Rutgers collection here: http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/HISTORICALMAPS/NJ_1878.jpg

It gets a little confusing because it also shows soil types. At first look it appears that Medford, Tabernacle, Shamong, etc. aren't in the pinelands. But looking more closely, the boundary of the pinelands is shown by a dotted line with light green cross-hatching next to it. It's also interesting that areas which many people consider pinelands today are designated as oaklands. I wonder if logging during the past 130 years has changed this?

Hey, I didn't notice that dotted line before. Is is named anywhere on the map? One obvious thing I did notice is that whoever designated the pinelands did so very subjectively as he was riding on the train. He was traveling south and saw more pines on his left side.
 

bobpbx

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I also note that Hartshorns Mill is on this map, the mill that Tom's post mentions in the Jobs Swamp post.

Did you ever notice when you go North on 539 and you seem to "pop" out of the pines when you get just North of Fort Dix? All of a sudden you can grow corn easily. To me, that has always been a good indicator that the Pines have been left behind.
 

Boyd

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Hey, I didn't notice that dotted line before. Is is named anywhere on the map?


The title says "Map showing soils of the glacial drift of Northern New Jersey and approximate bounds of the pine and oak lands of Southern New Jersey"

Look at the map legend. The solid brown area is indicated as Terminal Moraine, and the green area with stripes is Oak Lands. So I was assuming that dotted line and green around the brown area meant it was terminal moraine with oak lands on it. Next to Shamong the border is shown as green dots, so I assumed that was pine lands on terminal moraine.

But honestly, I don't know what I'm talking about.... I don't even know what "terminal moraine" is! :) Just guessing that's what the coloring/stripes/dots might mean. OTOH, maybe that area had been all logged out and the legend indicates that it is part of the pine/oak lands geographically speaking but it isn't a forest anymore?

Someone else with a real geographical, geological and historical background can probably explain all this...
 

Teegate

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bobpbx

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That actually is mentioned on modern topo's.

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=39.99139&lon=-74.50817&datum=nad27&u=4&layer=DRG&size=l&s=25

If it is two miles from there we are in the wrong location. But I would tend to think that the distances mentioned in the old info are not as accurate as we would like them to be.

Guy

What I meant Guy, was that the site of the actual Mill was shown on the other map. But even so, it is hard to pinpoint the location because how the map was drawn.
 

woodjin

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Nov 8, 2004
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Did you ever notice when you go North on 539 and you seem to "pop" out of the pines when you get just North of Fort Dix? All of a sudden you can grow corn easily. To me, that has always been a good indicator that the Pines have been left behind.

I know what you are referring to, it is right around New Eygpt. I have noticed that in other instances as well (route 532 in Tabernacle, Vincentown, Pemberton, route 206 in Southampton) However I wonder how accurate that observation is as a indicater of natural environmental change...does the soil change that dramatically, or has the earth been manipulated. It seems that some of these areas are islands within the pine barrens, like the conte farm area in tabernacle or any of the farms on 206.

I think it is interesting (and comforting in a way) that the south Jersey beaches show so many signs of pine barren environment, it is especially noticeable from the barnegat inlet down.

Jeff
 

Boyd

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I picked up a copy of The Vegetation of the New Jersey Pine Barrens by John W. Harshberger recently at an antique store and am working my way through it. Originally published in 1916, my copy is the Dover Edition from 1970. I don't think this book is in print now which is too bad - really fascinating reading, especially since it was written over 90 years ago.

He devotes quite a bit of page space to the topic of the pine barrens boundaries which have evidently shrunk considerably over the centuries. Here's the author's opinion of the pine barrens boundaries (indicated by the heavy dashed line):

DSC_00011.JPG


Higher resolution version here: http://gallery.njpinebarrens.com/showfull.php?photo=5571
 
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