Cedar Creek Subwatershed
The Cedar Creek subwatershed includes:
- a large portion of Lacey Township
- a small portion of Berkeley Township
- a small portion of Manchester Township
- a small portion of Ocean Township
The Cedar Creek subwatershed drains an area of 54.3 square miles. It lies almost entirely within the Pinelands National Reserve. This mostly includes lands in Berkeley Township and Lacey Township; however, a small section of Manchester Township and an even smaller section of Ocean Township (Ocean County) are within the Cedar Creek subwatershed.
Waterways within the Cedar Creek watershed include Cedar Creek, Webbs Mill Branch, Chamberlain Branch, Daniels Branch, Newbolds Branch, Factory Branch, Deep Hollow Branch, Huckleberry Branch, and several other unnamed tributaries of the Cedar Creek.
There is a dam on Cedar Creek at Route 9 that creates a demarcation between fresh and salt water.
The Cedar Creek watershed supplied both water power and raw material for several early industries, including lumber mills, iron furnaces, cranberry bogs, and blueberry fields. Because of its pristine waters, Cedar Creek was also known as Clear Brook in the late-18th century.
As with most Pine Barrens streams, the water of Cedar Creek is “tea colored” because of tannic acid from the roots of the cedars lining the river banks. According to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, about 89% of the Cedar Creek drainage area is forested land. Habitats of this subwatershed, typical to the Pine Barrens, include Atlantic white cedar swamps, bogs (including cranberry bogs), pine and oak forests, and coastal salt marshes. Unique plant species such as the pitcher plant can be found in this beautiful subwatershed.
Points of Interest
Double Trouble State Park and Double Trouble Village
The village of Double Trouble dates back to colonial times, when a water-powered sawmill cut local Atlantic White Cedar for the construction and ship-building industries. During the mid-19th century, cranberry bogs were planted in the cleared cedar swamps. The village and surrounding area was purchased by the state in 1964 specifically to protect the Cedar Creek subwatershed; today the park is over 8,000 acres. Cranberries are still harvested by leaseholders each fall.
The Forked River Mountains
The Forked River Mountains are the centerpiece of a vast wilderness area located in the Pinelands of Ocean County, New Jersey. The mountains, actually a pair of prominent sand and gravel hills, form a ridgeline between the Cedar Creek and Forked River watersheds. The larger of the two hills, East Mountain, rises 184 feet above sea level. The area’s extensive forests remain relatively undisturbed, as does the network of pristine Pineland streams found flowing there.
Located in the Greenwood Wildlife Management Area off Route 539, Zebulon Webb established a sawmill and village here in 1774. By 1840, the village was in ruins. Webbs Mill has a boardwalk and trail that will take you over a Pine Barrens bog that supports a variety of plants, including rare curly grass ferns, sundews, and pitcher plants.
Popcorn Park Zoo
Established in 1977 by the Associated Humane Societies, wild, exotic, and farm animals and birds live out their lives here safely and peacefully. Tigers, cougars, lions, monkeys, black bears, llamas, a camel, reptiles, horses, pigs, and more call Popcorn Park their home.
Berkeley Island County Park
Located on a scenic peninsula at the confluence of Cedar Creek and the Barnegat Bay, this 25-acre county park location provides possibly the best view of the bay in Ocean County. It also features a family-oriented beach, complete with warm sand and protected bay bathing. The crabbing/fishing pier at the park is one of the County’s most popular. Berkeley Island County Park is also the park location for the Ocean County Department of Parks & Recreation’s Annual Berkeley Island Beach Bash.
Canoeing Cedar Creek
Cedar Creek is a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking. There are three access areas in Double Trouble State Park, as well as several downstream locations. Local livery services rent canoes and kayaks in season.
John C. Bartlett, Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island
Double Trouble State Park
Forked River Mountain Coalition
New Jersey Pinelands Commission
Pinelands Preservation Alliance
Popcorn Park Zoo