General Information: Recreational: the Wading River is a very popular paddle in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. On any summer weekend it is filled with happy, clueless tubers and novice paddlers. On the other hand the access is not too bad and the parking at put-ins and take-outs is good. The dark, cedar stained water is cool and refreshing, with numerous wide sand beaches to eat lunch or take a break. The aren’t many birds, but wildflowers abound.
Difficulty & Must Haves: The major feature of the Pine Barrens is narrow moving water. The current moves at a fair pace and there are lots of stumps, strainers and deadfalls. Here is where you learn about angles, river position, and boat control. The curves are all quite similar: the outside edge is a strainer and the inside edge is a sandbar. You have to be on the perfect path between them. Short boats (12 ft or less) are the rule, as in all Pine Barrens paddles. No helmets or skirts required. There are low trees that will limit bigger canoes. There are bridges to go under and they may not be navigable at higher water levels.
Nice to Have & Human Interest: New Jersey has some of the nation’s best fruits and vegetables. Stop at the many roadside stands and pick some up. Recommended: Blueberries in Hammonton and pick-your-own-fruit at Mood’s Farm Market in Mullica Hill.
Additional Notes & Shuttle Info: Shuttle: 39°40’31.7″N 74°32’26.2″W https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zjduWflhNnK4.kmoRiOzvNpv4 There are actually four put-ins/take-outs on the Wading – Hawkins Bridge is at the top, then Godfrey’s Bridge, Evan’s Bridge, and finally Beaver Bridge. You can paddle a shorter trip by using the intermediate take-outs. The shuttle is typical of the Pine Barrens. There is a sandy section between Godfrey’s Bridge and Hawkin’s Bridge, but cars can handle it. Same for the section on Bodine Road/Beaver Bridge Road. There are no street signs, you just have to know where to turn. You can easily get lost.
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