From Creeks to Cranberries and Back Again
Birches Cranberry Company was a Burlington County institution. Nestled on the western edge of the Jersey Pine Barrens, the farm’s history can be traced all the way back to the Civil War. The original owner, Martin Luther Haines, passed the land down to three succeeding generations of the Haines, Wright and Thompson families.
The land--riven with over five miles of streams, rich in pitch pine and fertile soil--is perfect for cranberries.
It’s also perfect for wildlife, and for families to explore.
The property is a bridge between the tidal Rancocas Creek and the Atlantic Coast, offering refuge for a variety of threatened and endangered species--bald eagles, great blue herons, and American black ducks, to name a few--as well as migratory birds such as northern pintail ducks and buffleheads.
The New Jersey Conservation Foundation purchased it in 2018, permanently preserving the land as open space while protecting clean water and the wildlife that lives there.
Now, the land will be opened up to the public for hiking and birding, and will be managed as part of NJ Conservation’s 1,227-acre Michael Huber Prairie Warbler Preserve, located less than a mile to the east on Route 70.
“I’m just happy that people are going to be able to go out there and enjoy it. It’s right along the highway, so easy for folks to get to for canoeing, hiking, looking at wildflowers. But still peaceful and quiet. A place to learn about and experience the pinelands.”
Fred Wright, property owner
NJ Conservation wouldn’t have been able to protect the land without the generous support of a large number of public and private institutions: The Nature Conservancy, the Open Space Institute, the Pinelands Commission, the Rancocas Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Victoria Foundation.