DEP REOPENS VISITORS
CENTER IN WHARTON STATE FOREST
Featuring Batsto Village Unveiled
(05/81) HAMMONTON -- Following a major
expansion and renovation, the Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) today reopened the Batsto Village Visitors Center in Wharton
State Forest, unveiling a new exhibition featuring the historic
village and natural resources of the Pine Barrens.
“The new visitors center and exhibits will provide more
in-depth educational programs regarding Batsto Village, New Jersey's
industrial past and the rich resources of the Pine Barrens,” said
DEP Deputy Commissioner Joanna Dunn Samson.
The $4 million expansion project included interior renovation
of the existing building; the addition of a 100-seat auditorium,
public restrooms, a new roof and extended exhibit space; upgrades
to the mechanical and electrical systems and state-of-the-art
The Batsto Village Visitors Center also is one of the first
state buildings to be renovated using the Green Building Council's
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDs) principles.
The new exhibits chronicle the rich history of Batsto Village
as well as the rare, diverse plant and animal species of the
Pine Barrens region. Batsto Village was a bog iron and glassmaking
industrial center from 1766 to 1867. The village, which is listed
on both the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places,
consists of 33 historic buildings and structures including the
Batsto Mansion, gristmill, sawmill, general store, workers' homes
and a post office.
Wharton State Forest, located in the heart of the federally
protected Pine Barrens, is the largest single tract of land owned
and administered by DEP. With more than 114,000 acres spanning
Atlantic, Burlington and Camden counties, the forest offers many
recreational activities in addition to its historical attractions.
The forest hosts more than 155 miles of rivers and streams suitable
for canoeing and fishing. Wharton State Forest offers more than
500 miles of unpaved roads for mountain biking and horseback
riding, including a 50-mile stretch of the Batona Trail connecting
Wharton, Brendan T. Byrne and Bass River State Forests. The park
also features swimming at the Atsion Recreation Area and more
than 50 campsites and cabins for lodging.