Burden Hill Forest Preserve
About the Preserve
New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s Burden Hill Forest Preserve is part of the larger Burden Hill Forest complex, which covers about 16,400 acres in Salem and Cumberland counties. The Burden Hill Forest is the last remaining piece of a narrow forested belt that once stretched from Monmouth County to Salem County.
The Burden Hill Forest is a distinctive ecosystem featuring vegetation and ecological characteristics from both the inner coastal plain and the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey, as well as southern plant communities most often associated with places like the Delmarva Peninsula and the Virginia Piedmont.
Our Burden Hill Forest Preserve is a natural area without amenities like parking areas or blazed trails. A haven for wildlife, the preserve has been determined through flora and fauna surveys to have a high level of biodiversity and rare species. The Burden Hill Forest has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the New Jersey Audubon Society, based on its ornithological significance.
It is known as an important nesting, foraging and wintering area for bald eagles. All told, 162 species of birds have been counted there, including red-shouldered hawks, barred owls, Coopers hawks, red headed woodpeckers and 32 species of warblers.
Larger mammals in the Burden Hill Forest include white-tailed deer, coyote red fox, gray fox, river otter, and black bear. There is anecdotal evidence of state-endangered bobcats. Burden Hill is home to an impressive 61 species of butterflies, including two species observed in numbers not seen elsewhere. There is also a healthy diversity of 49 dragonfly and damselfly species. The Burden Hill Forest contains a mix of Virginia pine, pitch pine, hickory, American beech and some 15 species of oak trees. The understory includes large amounts of huckleberry, blueberry and mountain laurel. Wetlands and stream corridors are dominated by red maple and sweet gum.
A total of 362 plant species have been counted in the forest, including nine rare plants: southern twayblade (orchid), the federally threatened swamp pink (lily), Virginia bunchflower (lily), fly-poison (lily), southern adder’s tongue (fern), fringetree (tree), chinquapin (shrub), cranefly orchid, and poison oak. The forest is considered a global stronghold for swamp pinks.
- Bird Watching