Barnegat Lighthouse State Park: Maritime Forest Trail

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Happy Blogiversary to National Parks with T! It’s been a year since I first started this blog. Many thanks to those who have come along for the journey!

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Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. This year, we purchased an incomplete commemorative deck of cards at our starting point and then tried to complete the deck by collecting cards at each of the participating locations. There were 13 sites included in the challenge this year and I got to 5 of them on the Saturday of the challenge.

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After climbing to the top of Barnegat Lighthouse, I decided to walk the quarter-mile Maritime Forest Trail behind the visitor center. Most people were in the visitors center, by the lighthouse or out on the jetty so I was able to take a peaceful, leisurely stroll on the sandy trail.

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A maritime forest grows on the dunes farthest from the shore and consists of trees, bushes and plants adapted to the salty environment. Many of the trees here are fruit bearing and so provide a bountiful home for birds and other critters.

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Maritime forests once covered the length of the Jersey Shore, but most were lost to agricultural or recreational development. In Barnegat State Park, there were 30 acres of forests, but erosion has washed away all but two acres. The short loop winds through this remnant with placards identifying the flora along the way.

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View of the Maritime Forest remnant from the top of Barnegat Light. The Visitor Center is the rectangular building at lower left. You can see the loop trail extending behind it into the trees.

Lighthouse Challenge and related posts:

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Location: 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

Designation: State Park

Date designated or established: January 1944

Date of my visit: 10/20/2018

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