Bear Swamp at Red Lion Preserve
Southampton Township, Burlington County
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Preserve Info

Bear Swamp at Red Lion Preserve is a remote and wild place. Located on the edge of the old community of Red Lion near the Red Lion Circle, where Route 206 and Route 70 intersect, it was here in Bear Swamp were the legend says a man hunting bear came upon a mountain lion. After his gun misfired he fought and killed the cat bare handed, returning back to town with the lion red with blood. Three streams either originate here or flow through this swamp. The large wetland forest includes pitch pine lowlands, Atlantic white cedar bogs, American holly, sweet gum and swamp magnolia. The tall flat tops of the oaks and black gum is indicative of the old age of these trees. Barred owls find suitable nests in the hollow of an old snag tree. Fly poison, with pretty white flowers, grows among beds of cinnamon fern in open areas of the forest. Geologically positioned at the transition between the inner and outer coastal plain physiographic provinces, areas of the swamp were historically used for cranberry bogs. Neighbor farms in the area still produce the red berries for market.

The preserve is assembled of three major tracts, each donated to the Trust. The Audubon Wildlife Society, a conservation group from the town of Audubon NJ, donated two of these properties. The Audubon Wildlife Society and other birders enjoy spotting prothonotary warblers and Kentucky warblers along the swampy streams.

Public Access and Uses

The preserve is best accessed from Hawkins Road, however roadside parking is limited. Some unmarked primitive trails can be accessed. The Trust allows registration for deer hunting at this preserve.

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