With a meandering tidal stream over 3 miles of river front, Manumuskin River Preserve is one of the most secluded natural areas in the Garden State. Its namesake river - a tributary of the Maurice River, which empties into the Delaware Bay - is located on the southwest edge of the Pine Barrens and was given Wild and Scenic status by the federal government because of its unspoiled and pristine quality.
Originally established in 1983 to protect globally rare sensitive joint-vetch, the Manumuskin River Preserve today protects a large complex of forests, wetlands and streams. The preserve is a healthy representation of Southern New Jersey ecosystems.
Learn what Manumuskin means and the history of the river. This area was one of Cumberland County's earliest industrial facilities beginning a great change in how the area was used and natural resources were consumed.
Threats to the Manumuskin
Over the history of the Manumuskin River, large scale proposals have threatened conservation on and along this amazing river. From warding off a large coal fired power plant installation in the early 1980s to current concerns over the proposed development of 950 units and a golf course over what is now unfragmented forest, The Nature Conservancy and its partners continue to work to protect this river and the amazing plants and animals that call it their home.
Since protecting the first parcel along the river in 1983, The Nature Conservancy and partners have worked with a shared vision to develop a lasting and sustainable level of protection along the Manumuskin. Today, the Conservancy has played a key role in protecting nearly 7,500 acres along the river while continuing to work to preserve a few key parcels that remain unprotected and threatened by recent large development projects.
(Mamumuskin Pond in the snow); Photo © Damon Noe (sensitive joint-vetch).
Maurice River Township, Cumberland County
Plants and Animals The preserve encompasses a mosaic of habitats, including open mudflats, upland forest, grassy meadows and lowland swamps of white cedar, red maple and sweet gum. Wild rice and other grasses, sedges and rushes dominate its extensive freshwater tidal marsh, the least disturbed tidally influenced freshwater marsh in the state.
The world’s largest and healthiest population of the globally rare sensitive joint-vetch (Aeschynomene virginica) is safeguarded on the preserve. This delicate plant holds Federal Endangered Species status.
Two other globally rare species have been reported at the preserve: the rare skipper (Problema bulenta) and pine barrens boneset (Eupatorium resinosum). The state-imperiled stiff tick-trefoil (Desmodium strictum) is also present here. In all, more than 30 species classified as rare in New Jersey occur at this site. The preserve’s expansive upland forests provide habitat for the state-rare northern pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus), corn snake (Elaphe guttata) and dotted skipper (Hesperia attalus slossonae).
Hiking, photography, birding
The Preserve is open from dawn until dusk. For hours and preserve guidelines, contact The Delaware Bayshores office at (609) 861-0600.
For directions, contact the Delaware Bayshores office at (609) 861-0600