The Pine Barrens are a heavily forested area of coastal plain stretching across more than seven counties of southern New Jersey. The name "pine barrens" refers to the area's sandy, acidic, nutrient-poor soil. European settlers' attempts to cultivate their familiar crops there failed although the unique ecology of the Pine Barrens supports a diverse spectrum of plant life, including orchids and carnivorous plants. The area is also notable for its populations of rare pygmy Pitch Pines and other plant species that depend on the frequent fires of the Pine Barrens to reproduce. The sand that composes much of the area's soil is referred to by the locals as sugar sand.
Despite being near Philadelphia and New York City, and the fact that two main highways, the Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway, run through it, the Pine Barrens remains largely rural and undisturbed. The territory helps recharge the 17 trillion gallon Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer containing some of the purest water in the United States. It has been designate as a National Reserve, and International Biosphere Reserve. Local legend states that a monster lives in the Pine Barrens called the Jersey Devil. According to the legend the birth of the Jersey Devil occurred around 1735 to a local woman named Mrs. Leeds in an area known as "Leeds Point". It was said that he was her 13th child and, because of the unlucky number, he was cursed. Another story says that the mother gave birth to a hideous monster that attacked her and her nurses, before flying up and out of the chimney and disappearing into the Barrens. Most alleged sightings of the legendary Devil have occurred in or near the Pine Barrens.
December 18th, 2013
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