Hiking & Exploring the Batona in New Jersey's Pine Barrens (ONLINE)
Taught by Ben DiMatteo
A true fan of the woods, Ben has logged hundreds of miles solo and group trekking particularly on trails that can be reached from the city by public transportation. His youth in scouting and many adult years spent rediscovering the lost art of woodcraft provide a tried-and-true wealth of knowledge that can't be gleaned from gear reviews or recreation store salespeople. Though he hasn't thru-hiked the AT, he's sure he could.
When in the city, Ben brings the great outdoors inside and teaches several classes on how to make and keep terrariums.
Location: Online Class
*This is a live, online class via Zoom*
Despite what the name suggests, the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey is home to a vibrant ecosystem, including a number of unique species that evolved to thrive in this one-of-a-kind environment. The broken network of carriage roads, canals and ghost towns whisper of an extensive community lost to time that once played a vital role in America's founding. Connecting all this is the Back to Nature Trail, a 50+ mile ramble better known as the "Batona" Trail.
The Batona's flat, sandy paths and Pepto-pink blazes make it a good thru-hike for the first time backpacker, encountering native bogs with carnivorous plants, accessible fire towers offering sweeping vistas, a restored 19th Century mill town, and many opportunities to encounter wildlife along the trail's more remote stretches.
In this class you'll learn some of the local lore that make the Barrens a place of historical intrigue. You'll receive a trail map and details on where to make camping arrangements. You'll also learn of opportunities for side excursions, including canoeing and kayaking treks, tours of industrial age ruins and maybe a few pointers on where you might spot the notorious Jersey Devil.