Brigantine Wilderness

Fish and Wildlife Service, New Jersey.

The Brigantine Wilderness now contains a total of 6,681 acres and is managed by the Fish & Wildlife Service's Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. All of the Wilderness is in the state of New Jersey. In 1975 the Brigantine Wilderness became part of the now over 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. In 1984, to posthumously honor a New Jersey conservationist congressman, Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge (established in 1939) and Barnegat National Wildlife Refuge (established in 1967) were combined to create the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Although the refuge consists of more than 39,000 acres, less than 7,000 acres in the southern division (the Brigantine) qualify as Wilderness. This trailless area, a tidal wetland and shallow bay habitat, is one of the most active flyways for migratory waterbirds in North America. Birdwatchers, binoculars in hand, have zoomed in on close to 300 species, including Atlantic brant and American black duck. The Wilderness also protects Holgate and Little Beaches, two of the few remaining barrier beaches in New Jersey. Grasses on these shores stabilize the fragile dunes and safeguard the rare piping plover, black skimmer, and least tern. The refuge is open during daylight hours, but there are prohibitions on camping, fires, horses, kite flying, swimming, flower picking, or anything else that might endanger the wildlife and their habitat. During nesting season (mid-April to mid-July), the area is closed to all public use. In the same protective vein, access to some portions is restricted to people with special-use permits for research and education.

Nearby Activities


The refuge's headquarters and main public use area is located at its Brigantine Division on the mainland, at Oceanville, New Jersey. From US 9, visitors may enter the refuge via Great Creek Road, which ends at the refuge's gate. The Barnegat Platform is located in Barnegat on Bay Shore Drive off of Route 9 between Ridgeway and Edison Avenues.

The Holgate Wilderness Area is open Sept 1 - March 31. From the Garden State Parkway (north or south): Take Exit 63 (Highway 72) east toward Long Beach Island. Once on the Island, take a right on Long Beach Boulevard. Follow all the way to the end where you will see a parking lot. During the off season, all 3.5 miles is open to walking and surf fishing vehicles with a permit (contact Long Beach Township at 609-361-1200 to obtain a beach buggy permit).

Additional Information

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