Nature Trail

Please Note: some parts of the Nature Trail may be inaccessible due to winter storms on the marshes. Please be cautious and do not disturb wildlife.

In partnership with Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences (LBIF), Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) assisted with the design and enhancement of the Nature Trail at LBIF.

The LBIF Nature Trail leads to the Osprey Blind, which overlooks an active nest on Barnegat Bay. photo by Ben Wurst.

The Nature Trail leads to the Osprey Blind, which overlooks an active nest on Barnegat Bay. photo by Ben Wurst.


The surrounding habitat at LBIF consists mainly of undeveloped tidal saltmarsh and coastal maritime forest habitat (approximately 21 acres) which is the largest privately owned parcel of open space on Long Beach Island. The main objective for this unique grassroots effort is to engage and educate local residents and visitors about the importance of any remaining habitat on Long Beach Island, a largely developed barrier island. Largely this is done by simply connecting the public to this natural resource. It is also to provide the public with knowledge and resources to help provide suitable habitat (food, water, cover) to wildlife, especially migratory songbirds and pollinator species of insects. Lastly, we hope that the enhancement of the trail will help create a wealth of educational opportunities for visitors through the creation and installation of interpretive signs, a map, and brochure.

Project Objective:

Create a unique, self-guided nature trail for visitors to LBIF that focuses on increasing educational opportunities and access to Barnegat Bay and its inhabitants. To help wildlife on site, by working to identify and control non-native, invasive species, and plant native flowering trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.

Project Description:

The osprey blind is seasonally installed from March through September. Photo by Ben Wurst.

The osprey blind is seasonally installed from March through September. Photo by Ben Wurst.

The nature trail that was created was made by carefully selecting and removing some woody and non-woody vegetation within a “berm” that is above the wetland edge of the property. The trail starts at the back of the Marine Science Building and continues parallel with the buildings towards the northeast. Before reaching Sandy Lane a side path (Pollinator Path) leads to beehives and a turtle garden. After the “Pollinator Path” it reconnects with the main trail then goes northwest within the wooded (roadside) edge along Sandy Lane. This section of trail has lots of poison ivy, so please stay on the trail! From there it connects with the existing saltmarsh trail on the Joe Torg Wetlands.

The majority of the work centered around blazing the trail, spreading mulch on the trail, and building and installing the osprey viewing blind. This fall/winter more work will be done to control non-native, invasive species, such as Common reed (Phragmites australis), Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellate), and harmful ones like poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) at LBIF.

We kicked off the project on November 20 with our first Volunteer Work Day. Over 50 enthusiastic volunteers came out to help us blaze the new trail and plant nature trees, shrubs, and grasses in the old trail. Brush that was cleared during the work day was chipped up by the New Jersey tree service professionals at Pine Barrens Tree and any remaining phragmites was properly disposed of. The second work day was held on Monday, January 18th. At that event students from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) volunteered during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service as part of Stockton University’s Day of Service to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The students joined Ben Wurst, CWF Habitat Program Manager to help continue work on the new nature trail. The students worked hard to clean up brush and spread wood chips in the cold blustery winds. The remaining reeds were properly disposed of by CWF.

Annual maintenance of the Nature Trail includes removal of poison ivy along the trail, trimming of phragmites, tree branches, and positioning of marsh walkway pieces.

Explore the Nature Trail:

Venture along the .4 mile long trail (out and back) to the Osprey Blind and Barnegat Bay. Along the meandering trail you will come across a mix of both native and non-native vegetation. Some of the native shrubs and trees that you will see includes winged sumac, bayberry, beach plum, serviceberry, black cherry, red maple and red cedar. Some highly invasive species are: common reed and Japanese honeysuckle. Please stay on the trail as poison ivy grows along the edges of it.

Click here to download a printable map of the new Nature Trail.

How you can Help:

LBIF is looking for volunteers to help maintain the Nature Trail and help keep access that we provide to Barnegat Bay open and clear. If you are looking to get involved in your community then please let us know!

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