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Nature Trail – Bivalve, NJ
1
The Good

restored marshlands filled with birds, crabs, and wildlife. View of the shell pile of Shellpile.

The Could Be Better

Bugs.

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Nice hike in good weather, but wouldn’t want to do it when it’s hot and buggy!

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Nature Trail- PSE&G Commercial Township Wetland Restoration Site – Bivalve (Commercial Township), Cumberland County, NJ
Distance: 2 miles (one way) (We walked 1.6 miles total)
Type: Out and back.
Difficulty: 1 of 10.
Official Website – ESTUARY ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM

Terrain – Boardwalks and walkways through tidal marshlands.

Trailheads –
#1 – 39° 14.401’N, 75° 2.662’W (Northern End)
#2 – 39° 14.009’N, 75° 2.108’W (Middle End)
#3 – 39° 13.699’N, 75° 2.281’W (South End)

Trailhead #1

Trailhead #1

Trailhead #2

Trailhead #2

Directions:

#1 – First trailhead – end of Strawberry Ave (past intersection with Quail Drive).
#2 – end of Germantown Ave (past intersection with High Street) – across from Bayshore Discovery Center/AJ Meerwald Tall Ship
#3 – very end of High Street – STRONGLY suggest not using this one, unless you want to be torn apart and pooped on my seagulls.



Parking –
Trailhead 1 – gravel lot, space for maybe 10 cars.  Road parking if needed.
Trailhead 2 – small lot – maybe 5 cars.

Lot - trailhead #1

Lot – trailhead #1

Parking Lot - Trailhead 2

Parking Lot – Trailhead 2

Dog friendly? Unsure (but doubtful)
Stroller friendly? Yes
Benches? None
Facilities?: None

Markings – None, but it you start swimming, you’ve lost the trail.

NOTE – Very exposed the elements, trail has ZERO cover. The wind was pushing us around the day we hiked, and I’m sure there are days where the sun will bake you.

Map –

bivalvemap

Description: Traveled down to Bivalve and Shell Pile to check the place out, as I hadn’t been there in five years or so, and The Pres has never been there.  After checking out some of the sites, we decided to take a hike on the nature trail through the salt marshes that PSE&G restored.  PSE&G, I might get mad when my power is out in the winter, but I have to say that you restore a helluva good salt marsh.

I’m going to pretend that we started at trailhead #1 at the north end of the trail, even though we didn’t (we went there last).  There is a nice, long pier there that takes you out over the mud and muck to get some great views of the marshland and animals, especially birds.  We spotted what I think was an osprey, but I wasn’t fast enough with the camera to get one in focus.

Toward the pier.

Toward the pier.

Views over the water.

Views over the water.

The Pres attempting to hide from the wind.

The Pres attempting to hide from the wind.

View from the end of the dock/walkway.

View from the end of the dock/walkway.

Something is building a nest.

Something is building a nest.

When you come back from the pier, the trail goes perpendicular away from the parking area.

Go that way.

Go that way.

There is lots of super fascinating stuff that way, which we missed because someone didn’t like the wind in their face (actually, neither of us did).  Jumping ahead to the middle of the trail…

Nice little boardwalk out of the parking lot.

Nice little boardwalk out of the parking lot.

Which is next to this sweet DTP house.

Which is next to this sweet DTP house.

You’ll walk a very short walks before you come another long boardwalk pier.  Take a walk out…

Marshes.

Marshes.

Marshes, marshes, marshes! (I couldn't resist)

Marshes, marshes, marshes! (I couldn’t resist)

This part of the trail is paved, but it won't be for long.

This part of the trail is paved, but it won’t be for long.

Looking back on Shell Pile.

Looking back on Shell Pile.

Time to head out on the boardwalk.

Time to head out on the boardwalk.

Nice view again.

Nice view again.

Nice birds.

Nice birds.

… although you won’t get as far as you had hoped.

Unless you want to get wet.

Unless you want to get wet.

Backtracking to the trail, continue onward.  You’ll see (and smell) the gigantic pile of shells next to the processing plant in town.  There is a third trailhead here, but you’d have to dodge irate seagulls to get there, so I don’t suggest it.

Birds.

bivalvent17bivalvent18bivalvent19bivalvent20bivalvent21From here, the trail is all sand and shells.  You’ll head for the observation tower.  The trail peters out just past that tower.

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Think about how small your chances are of a clean car if you parked under that.

Think about how small your chances are of a clean car if you parked under that.

bivalvent26bivalvent27

View from the top.

View from the top.

bivalvent29

From here, it’s all backtracking to your car.  Keep an eye out, but also down.  You never know what you’ll see in the mud.

Even it it's dead.

Even it it’s dead.

In the area:  Check out the Bayshore Center while your here and try to sail on the AJ Meerwald. Also explore the shrinking hamlets of Bivalve and Shell Pile while you’re here.

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