This expansive property, New Jersey Conservation Foundation's largest, encompasses 15 square miles in
the heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. It is accessible by a
network of sandy roads that wind though pitch pine forest and blueberry
fields, and run along the preserve’s cedar swamp, shallow lakes
and pristine tributaries of the West Branch of the Wading River.
Four new trails totaling nearly 21 miles were recently cleared and blazed. Some are hikers-only footpaths, while others are multi-use trails that are open to bicyclists and horseback riders as well as hikers.
A former cranberry farm, the property was purchased
by New Jersey Conservation Foundation in December 2003 after the
owner decided he wanted it to be protected forever as
a nature preserve. NJCF began an ambitious fund-raising campaign
and was able to cover most of the property’s cost. Watch video >>
In October 2013, a section of restored wetlands was dedicated as the A.R. DeMarco Cranberry Meadows Natural Area in honor of the family whose conservation ethic made the preserve possible.
The property is a rare ecological treasure for the East Coast
of the United States, containing some of the most beautiful wetlands
in the Pine Barrens and providing critical habitat to more than
50 rare, threatened or endangered species.
Wetlands restoration wins Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence >>
The Franklin Parker Preserve is adjacent to approximately 250,000
acres of public conservation land in the form of five state-owned
properties: Brendan Byrne State Forest, Wharton State Forest, Bass
River State Forest, Greenwood Wildlife Management Area and Penn
State Forest. The Franklin Parker Preserve contains approximately
5,000 acres of wetlands habitat and 4,400 acres of contiguous upland
pine oak forest, as well as 14 tributaries that cross the preserve
and eventually unite in the Wading River, one of the most popular
sites for canoeing in the Pine Barrens.
The Preserve is the home of several animals that are considered
endangered species in New Jersey, including the bobcat and bald
eagle. Several New Jersey threatened species can be found in the
preserve, including the Barred Owl, Northern Pine Snake and Pine
Barrens Tree Frog. Twenty-nine rare plant species have also been
discovered in the Preserve, including Pine Barrens Gentian, Bog
Asphodel, Curly Grass Fern, Yellow-fringed Orchid, Little Ladies’-tresses
Orchid and Pencil Flower.
Read New Jersey Monthly story about searching for pink lady's slipper orchids >>
|Directions to the Franklin Parker Preserve
View Franklin Parker Preserve in a larger map
There are two main entrances to the preserve: the Chatsworth Lake entrance
off Route 532 and the Speedwell entrance off Route 563. Click the
links below for downloadable directions to each.
to Chatsworth Lake entrance
to Speedwell entrance