Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 72
Great Creek Rd.
Oceanville, NJ 08231-0072
(609) 652-1665

Places Nearby:
Noyes Museum
Marine Mammal Stranding Center
Batsto Village
Barnegat Bay Decoy Museum
Warren Fox Nature Center
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This incredible National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 40,000 acres of southern New Jersey Coastal Habitats and tidal wetlands. 6,000 acres of the refuge are designated as a Wilderness Area, meaning that public access is limited or even entirely prohibited at times. These areas include Holgate and Little Beach, two of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches in the state. Here the rare piping plover and other beach-nesting birds raise their young.

The beach areas provide very fragile ecosystems for birds whose populations have already been decimated by development, so Holgate is closed to all public during the nesting season; Little Beach is closed all year except by special permit for research or education.

Almost 90 percent of Forsythe Refuge is tidal salt meadow and marsh, interspersed with shallow coves and bays. Each year thousands upon thousands of of ducks and geese, wading birds and shorebirds concentrate here during spring and fall migration, making the Refuge ideal for birdwatching, nature photography and related activities.

More than 3,000 acres of the Refuge are woodlands with a wide variety of tree and plant species, thus providing vital habitat for a variety of upland species such as songbirds, woodcock, white-tailed deer and box turtles.

Primary access to this refuge, surprisingly at first, is by automobile. Surprising until it is realized that this is, indeed, a natural area, reserved primarily for the animals that inhabit it. Minimal foot traffic helps preserve it. 40,000 acres is a lot of land, but in the grand scheme of things it's practically microscopic.

While there are no specific guided programs, individuals and families may drive an eight-mile long trail guided by a brochure which points out the various features of this natural wonderland and the activities that occur here. Foot travelers may walk a couple of short trails as well as a few of the Fire Lanes (maintained to prevent wildfires from spreading, as had occurred in 1965).

Organized groups are welcome by appointment, and School Groups with their own naturalists couldn't find a better place to learn about the natural sciences.

Hours: Wildlife Drive, trails and boardwalk are open every day from sunrise to sunset. The Headquarters and Auditorium are open on weekdays, 10am - 3pm. The Visitor Information Center is open weekdays, 10am - 3pm and weekends, 9am - 4pm.


Daily Visitor Pass costs $4.00 per private vehicle or $2.00 per person walking or bicycling in. Children under 16 are admitted FREE. Call to confirm rates.

Groups - Commercial Vehicles: Entrance fees are based on the seating capacity of the vehicle (driver not included). Up to 20 passengers: $20.00 per vehicle (16 years of age or older) 21 or more passengers: $30.00 per vehicle. Call to confirm.

Group Reservations: 1 week in advance.

Lunch: Bagged lunch may be eaten in vehicle. All garbage must be carried out.

Handicapped Access: Information Center accessible.

Directions: I-76 East to Rt. 42 East (N/S Expwy) to Atlantic City Expwy. Exit at Garden State Pkwy North. Exit at Atlantic City Service Plaza at Milepost 41; follow signs for Jim Leeds Rd. Turn right onto Leeds and bear left at Great Creek Rd. Continue 3 miles to Rt. 9. Go south on Rt. 9 and take next left onto Lily Lake Road, to Headquarters. 60 - 90 from Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.