Bass River State
Forest was the first forest acquired by the state of New Jersey
in 1905 for public recreation, water conservation, and wildlife
and timber management. Lake Absegami, a 67-acre lake created
in the 1930's, is the center of the forest's recreational
activities and provides an area for swimming and a serene
setting for boating and canoeing. A trail through the Absegami
Natural Area wanders through a pine/oak woods and a small
Atlantic white cedar bog
Through the Carry-In/Carry-Out Program you can help us keep your parks clean and beautiful by carrying out the trash you carry in. Bags are provided throughout the site. Thank you for your cooperation and remember to recycle.
|Access for Persons with Disabilities
The Bass River State Forest recreational facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TT) users, call the New Jersey Relay Service at (800) 852-7899.
Open daily sunrise to sunset
Day Use Area (Lake Absegami beach, picnic area, trails): 8 a.m. to dusk
Office Hours: Monday – Saturday 8 am to 4 pm, Sunday Closed
Note: Camping on weekends, holidays and when the office is CLOSED is by reservation only.
State Forest Map
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
The Civilian Conservation Corps was created during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "The Hundred Days," the beginning of FDR's first term, and a time of massive legislative efforts to deal with the paralyzing effects of the Great Depression. The CCC put needy young men to work and sent a large portion of their pay back to their families. The fact that only 37 days elapsed between FDR's swearing in and the induction of the first CCC enrollee on April 7, 1933 reflects the importance of this program. By the time the program ended in 1942, due to World War II, over three million unemployed young men had been enrolled, planting over three billion trees and completing many other conservation projects including building much of the infrastructure at Bass River State Forest.
The CCC camp at Bass River State Forest, Camp S-55, lasted from 1933 to 1942, throughout the entire life of CCC. Company 225 served at the camp from 1933-1937 and Company 2201-V, a Veteran’s company, followed from 1937-1942. There were usually 200 men at the camp, which was a full complement. The CCC members performed wide range of conservation work. The young men of the CCC built park roads, trails, bridle paths, bridges for vehicles, ponds for fish and waterfowl, lookout towers, nature observatory shelters, picnic areas, cabins, fireplaces, campgrounds, recreational lakes, and landscaping. The most noteworthy feat was the creation of the 67-acre Lake Absegami, by damming two streams flowing through the forest. The foundations of Camp S-55 and the CCC Memorial are part of a self-guided trail. Brochures are available at the Forest Office and at the beginning of the trail near the parking lot on East Greenbush Road. Stop in at the Forest Office to see artifacts from our Camp as well as a list of members from our Camp.
Check to see if your family member or relative was a CCC Camp s-55 member at Bass River between 1933 and 1942. If you know of anybody whose name should be on the list please let us know by contacting Cynthia Coritz, Superintendent at Bass River state Forest.
Absegami Natural Area (128 acres)
A self guided nature trail loops through this wetland forest, where Atlantic white cedars share the canopy with red maple and magnolia. The Pinelands white cedar swamp and surrounding oak-pine forest community make up the Absegami Natural Area.
|West Pine Plains Natural Area
This unique stunted forest ecosystem, known
locally as the Pygmy Forest, is globally rare and supports
an extensive forest of pine and oak trees that may obtain
a canopy height of only four feet at maturity. New Jersey
contains the largest acreage of this forest community type
worldwide. The area also supports an endangered plant species
- the broom crowberry - and numerous rare species of moths.
Bass River State Forest has eight easy
walking (non-ADA accessible) trails from 1 to 3.2
miles. The 1/2 mile self-guided Absegami Trail includes a wooden foot bridge with benches. All trails start at the second parking lot at the beach.
Animals, birds and plant life of the Pine Barrens may be found. A trail brochure is available at the office, or on the portion of the Pink Trail that passes through the old Civilian Conservation Corps camp near East Greenbush Road. This guide describes the camp foundations.
Bass River Trail Map
*To view this map, please download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat
This easy walking trail, well marked with
pink blazes, runs for 50 miles through Bass River State Forest,
Wharton State Forest and Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, crossing streams
and passing through forested areas that were once bustling
towns with names such as Four Mile, Butler, Martha and Washington.
This portion of the Batona Trail is maintained by the NJ State
Park Service, Outdoor Club of South Jersey and the Batona Hiking Club.
The Department of Environmental Protection, State Park Service is pleased to announce through ReserveAmerica our new reservation system for all overnight facilities within the New Jersey State Parks and Forests. Reservations are now available online or through the ReserveAmerica call center.
Online reservations can be made 7 days per week/24 hours a day at ReserveAmerica. To make a reservation through the call center, please contact ReserveAmerica at 1-855-607-3075 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday from April 1st through October 31st. Beginning November 1st through March 31st, hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
We anticipate our visitors will be pleased with our new streamlined reservation system as it provides greater flexibility in searching and reserving available overnight facilities.
For forms and information
on a booking a campsite visit our: reservations
Alcohol is prohibited. Pets are prohibited in overnight
Beginning January 1, 2014, a transaction fee of $5 will be charged for all walk-in overnight reservations.
Pet Friendly Campsites please click here for details on sites that are designated Pet Friendly, license and innoculation paperwork requirements and additional cost.
Campsites: 176 tent and trailer sites with
fire rings and picnic tables. Flush toilets, showers and laundry
facilities are within walking distance of all sites. No hook-ups
provided. Each site accommodates a maximum of six campers,
two vehicles (including trailers) and two tents. Trailer sanitary
station is open March 1 through November 30. Campsites open
all year. New Jersey Residents: $20 per night;
Non-Residents: $25 per night.
Group Campsites: Six group
campsites with water and pit toilets are within walking distance.
Each site accommodates a maximum of 25 campers. Parking is
directly on the site. Open all year. New Jersey Residents: $3 per person, per night;
Non Residents: $5 per person, per night. We highly recommend that group leaders carefully estimate their group size so not to over estimate as refunds cannot be made later.
Six licensed vehicles only are permitted to park on each group campsite, within the campsite limit signs. Additional vehicles are required to pay $5.00 per night and park in the designated parking area.
Lean-tos: Nine handicap
accessible lean-tos each with a hardwood floor and a woodburning
stove. Outdoor picnic table, fire ring and grill. Flush toilets,
showers, and laundry facilities are within walking distance.
Located on the south shore. Accommodates a maximum of six
people. Open all year. New Jersey Residents: $35 per night;
Non-Residents: $40 per night.
Shelters: Six lakeside shelters
with two bunk rooms, one double-deck bunk in each room, a
living room with a picnic table and bench, woodburning stove, fire ring
and screened double door. Outdoor grill for cooking, table
and benches. Flush toilets and shower facilities are nearby.
Shelters are located along the north shore of Lake Absegami.
a maximum of four people. Open April 1 through October 31.
New Jersey Residents:
$48 per night;
Non-Residents: $60 per night.
Cabins: Six lakefront cabins with living room with double-deck bunk and fireplace; two bunk rooms with double-deck bunks; kitchen with running water, electric stove, refrigerator; bathroom with shower, toilet, and sink. Screened-in porch faces lake. Outdoor fire rings. Electricity. Each accommodates a maximum of six people. Cabins are located along the north shore of Lake Absegami. Open April 1 through October 31. New Jersey Residents: $75 per night; $525 per week;
Non-Residents: $85 per night; $595 per week
Camping Map (Low resolution for viewing purposes)
Camping Map (High resolution for printing purposes) File
Special Use Permit Application
Special Use Permit Application Package
A Special Use Permit is utilized to accommodate a specific activity or event being conducted over a short duration. There are two types of special use permits: Non-Commercial and Commercial and fees are based on NJ residency and Non-residents. A completed application must be submitted to the park/forest area where the activity or event is being held at least 90 days prior to the event. If the special use or event is extremely large or complex, at least one-year’s prior notice is recommended.
Fishing is subject to New
Jersey's Fish and Wildlife Laws. Freshwater species are mainly pickerel, sunfish, and catfish. Fishing License are available nearby.
|Homeowners Firewood Program
The Homeowners Firewood Program provides New Jersey residents with an inexpensive source of wood to augment their firewood supplies as well as an outdoor recreational opportunity for many families in the fall and winter months. The cost of firewood is $25 per cord. Firewood will be available at Bass River State Forest beginning on October 1, 2013.
Homeowners Firewood Program Application form*
*To view this form, please download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat
State Park Service areas open to hunting for 2013-2014
Hunting is allowed in large parts of the forest and is subject
to New Jersey's Fish
and Wildlife Laws. Game found in the forest include deer, rabbit, and grouse. Contact the forest office for further details.
The Park staff offer a variety of historical and natural interpretive programs throughout the year. Contact the park office for a schedule of programs and to register. Program fees may apply.
Located near the beach are 74 picnic tables with charcoal grills,
a picnic shelter, restrooms, athletic field for games and playground.
Pets are permitted at the picnic area on a six foot leash. Alcoholic
beverages are prohibited.
Bass River offers a Group Picnic Area for
larger groups. It holds a capacity of 50 people, provides
shelter, playfields and playground equipment. It may be reserved
for a fee:
New Jersey Resident $55
per day, plus applicable parking fees
per day, plus applicable parking fees.
Day weekend through Labor Day
New Jersey Resident $80
After Labor Day to Friday Before Memorial Day
percent of Fee
Picnic Cancellation Fee
• Groups of 20 or more people shall
reserve picnic facilities at least five days in advance.
Such group use is not permitted on Holidays except as authorized
by the Superintendent. Reservations for picnic areas are
handled by the individual park area offices.
Reservations can be made over the telephone using a credit card, or by mail using the Group Picnic Reservation form* downloadable here. Payment in full of the appropriate group picnicking fee must accompany this application.
*To view this form, please download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat
A public boat launch is located north of
the recreational area parking lot. Powered boats are limited
to electric motors only. A canoe, kayak, rowboat concession is operated
during the summer months. Coast guard approved life preservers
Swimming is permitted in Lake Absegami from
Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day in the designated swimming area while lifeguards are on duty.
Visitors will find a beach complex containing changing area,
restrooms, showers, a first-aid station and a concession building
offering refreshments, novelties and beach supplies. Inner
tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted
in the swimming area. Only Coast Guard approved life jackets are permitted. Pets are prohibited on the beach.
The Division's State Forestry
Services has published a comprehensive Forest Resource Management
Plan for Bass River State Forest to improve the long-term
forest management practices and resource protection needs
of Bass River. For a copy, please call (609)292-2531.
|Can I have a fire?
||You will receive the fire regulations
|Check-in and checkout times?
||Campsites and Group Campsites check-in
is 12pm and checkout is 12pm. Lean-tos, shelters and cabins
check-in at 4pm and checkout at 12 pm.
|How much is it for
the day-use area?
||$5 per vehicle on weekdays, $10 on holidays
and weekends. Buses need to make a reservation. Please
call the office for details.
|Can we make reservations on the web?
||No, but you can obtain forms and information
on bookings at our reservations
|How do we go about
making a reservation?
||You can make a reservation over the
phone with your credit card or you could send an application,
found on our reservations
page, with a check or money order.
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