Candace McKee Ashmun
UPDATE - NJ Conservation has received several recent inquiries about the Candace McKee Ashmun Preserve. For 20 years this land has been owned by NJ Conservation, and has been managed as part of the Forked River Mountain Wildlife Management Area through a partnership with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. While we are still working closely with the Division, they are no longer able to continue this management arrangement. We thank the Division of Fish and Wildlife for their many years as good partners and responsible stewards. The 4,000 acre Candace McKee Ashmun Preserve is now managed solely by New Jersey Conservation Foundation.
Dedicated in October 2010, the Candace McKee Ashmun Preserve Section at Forked River Mountain Wildlife Management Area encompasses more than 4,000 acres of semi-wilderness on the eastern edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens in Ocean County.
Located across Route 532 from Ocean County’s Wells Mills Park, the Ashmun Preserve consists largely of pitch pine upland forest interwoven with large stands of Atlantic white cedar. The unfragmented forest and wetlands of this area serve as protection for the headwaters of Oyster Creek and the North, Middle and South Branches of the Forked River. All of these relatively pristine streams feed into the southern end of Barnegat Bay and are critical in safeguarding the bay’s health.
This area contains prime habitat for many rare and fascinating species, such as the threatened Northern Pine Snake, the beautiful Bog Asphodel and the mascot of the pines; the Pine Barrens tree frog. Lucky visitors may also find such Pine Barrens rarities as the petite Curly-grass Fern and the showy Swamp Pink.
The preserve was named in 2010 for Candace McKee Ashmun, a tireless environmentalist who has devoted more than six decades to helping New Jersey’s environment.
A resident of Basking Ridge, Ashmun has been a member of the state Pinelands Commission since its founding in 1979 and is the last original commissioner still serving.
She was the founding director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC), served on the State Planning Commission and was a longtime volunteer for New Jersey Conservation Foundation.
View Candace McKee Ashmun Preserve at Forked River Mountain in a larger map