The Pinelands, also known as the Pine Barrens, covers 22 percent of New Jersey’s land area. It is about 1.1 million acres, stretching over seven counties and 56 municipalities from the northern part of Ocean County down through Cape May County. It is the largest body of open space between Boston and Richmond, VA and its aquifers contain 17 trillion gallons of pure water. The U.S. Congress created it as a National Reserve in 1978, the first in the nation. It has since been designated as a U.S. Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations and named an International Biosphere reserve. It contains over 12,000 acres of pygmy forest and more than 850 different plant species. The protected reserve is also home to 39 species of mammals, 299 types of birds, 59 reptile and amphibian species and 91 fish species. These include 43 animals considered threatened or endangered by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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