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.
Facilities & Activities:
Hiking(trails from 1 to 3 miles long)
Fishing is subject to New Jersey's Fish and Wildlife Laws. Freshwater species are mainly pickerel, sunfish, and catfish. Fishing License are available nearby.
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 Orange Trail that passes through the old Civilian Conservation Corps camp near East Greenbush Road. This guide describes the camp foundations.
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.
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. Open year round.
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 year round.
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.
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.
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 are required.
Swimming is permitted in Lake Absegami 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.