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Manumuskin River Preserve
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Photo by Michael Bradway

History of the Manumuskin River Preserve
More than 3500 acres, Manumuskin River Preserve is the largest Conservancy preserve in New Jersey.  This preserve was established to protect the globally rare plant, sensitive joint-vetch, Aeschymnome virginica.  The population of sensitive joint-vetch along the Manumuskin River is the largest, healthiest stand in the world.  The preserve also hosts other rare plants, animals, and plant communities mainly due to the pristine water quality and undisturbed nature of the area.  Fifteen of New Jersey's threatened and endangered species of birds breed in the Manumuskin River Basin.

European development along the Manumuskin began after 1720.  Remnants of foundations and chimneys of grist and saw mills, and homes from this period forward can be seen.  Remains of these historic structures can be found along the river trail.

The preserve was first established in 1983 with the donation of 6.65 acre parcel.  The largest addition of 3257 acres in 1995 preserved land which had a varied history of development plans, from a possible site for a hazardous waste dump to industrial development and continued mining.

From its headwaters in southwestern Atlantic County, the Manumuskin River is 12 miles long and empties into the Maurice River seven miles from the Delaware Bay.  The river is tidally influenced for three miles from its confluence with the Maurice River.

The non-tidal portion of the river has superb water quality, largely due to the nearly complete forest cover.  The river corridor is mostly natural and undisturbed except for a few single-family residences in the town of Port Elizabeth.

Key Elements of the Manumuskin River Preserve

  • Sensitive joint-vetch (Aeschynomene virginica)
  • Parker's Pipewort (Eriocaulon parkeri)
  • Northern Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)
  • Corn Snake (Elaphe guttata)
  • Least Tern (Sterna antillarum)
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  • Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)