South Jersey waterway offers beauty, history By John Anderson, Conservationist
“The third annual cruise of the Atlantic Division ACA on the North Branch of the Rancocas Creek was held on May 25 and 26, 1912. 36 Club members participated. Friday evening after paddling down from Hanover Furnace camp was made on an island in the Lake. Saturday morning the cruise got under way about nine o’clock. Some especially enjoyable features were added to the usual trip. Fast water was found above the dam at Birmingham and in the raceway at Mt. Holly. Camp for the night was pitched at Cedar Springs, below Mt. Holly. Tents were pitched, and everything made ready for the night. Sunday morning all arose early, the cruise proceeded lazily with the tide to the Delaware River and thence upriver to Burlington.” Forest and Stream magazine, June 22, 1912
n 1912 and years prior, American Canoe Association Clubs conducted an annual three-day overnight cruise of the North Branch of the Rancocas Creek from the Pines to the Tide. Three days of paddling in New Jersey? Yes, New Jersey! The North Branch of the Rancocas Creek originates in the New Jersey Pine Barrens headwaters and drains 36 miles west into the Delaware River estuary in Delanco at Burlington County’s Amico Island Park. Composed of three main branches, the North, South, and Southwest, the Rancocas Creek Watershed consists of 360 square miles of pristine water largely protected from outside or modern influence.
Non-tidal on its eastern reaches, the tide joins the Rancocas Creek in Mount Holly on the North
north of the Ports of Philadelphia and Camden. The Rancocas Creek National Water Trail (NWT) Initiative began after an open community forum five years back. Based on the ACA principles of conservation and stewardship as well as hundreds of hours of paddling along the Rancocas Creek’s established canoe trail and untamed stretches of the Rancocas tidewaters, many trials and tribulations were encountered and conquered along the way.
Branch and Lumberton on the South Branch. Flowing westerly, the two branches join at the confluence inside the 1200-acre Rancocas State Park where it forms the main stem leading 10 miles directly to the Delaware River. These tidewaters are approximately 14 miles
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Rancocas Pathways, a 501(c)(3) organization, was incorporated to manage all areas of the NWT application, marshal multi-use entities and cultivate sustainable individual and community ownership of the
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