Trail Guides
Elmer Lake WMA

Route 40, Elmer, NJ
Phone: (609) 984-0547

OWNER:  NJ Department of Environmental Protection

DIRECTIONS:  Turn Right onto CR 635/Daretown Road out of parking area. After 1.1 miles, turn Left onto CR 614/Bridgeton Road. After 1.8 miles, turn Left onto Garrison Road, and follow Garrison Road to end. Turn Right onto Route 40. Follow Route 40 East for about 2.5 miles, and after passing through the town of Elmer, the WMA entrance will be on your Right.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Small parking area available on site.

Visitors should be aware that hunting does occur on this property. Stay on main trails and wear bright colors.

SITE DESCRIPTION:  Elmer Lake is home to a number of species of fish, which provide food for waterfowl, herons, osprey, and Bald Eagles. In early spring search the vernal pools, which provide critical breeding habitat for both rare and common amphibians. A small parking area and pavilion complete with picnic tables are located a short distance from busy Route 40. Quiet observation of the forest edge and lake can be especially productive during spring and fall migrations. This is also a good site for winter waterfowl.

Winter:  The forest at Elmer Lake has a good variety of evergreen tree species, and you may enjoy learning to identify them. Matching trees with their wild inhabitants can enhance your nature experience. For example, careful search (from a distance) of the thick stands of eastern red cedar may yield a Northern Saw-whet Owl. Empty wasp and hornet nests, as well as bird nests left from spring, are also interesting. Scan the lake for wintering waterfowl such as Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, and Mallard ducks.
Spring:  Search through the flocks of Tree and Barn Swallows for less obvious Rough-winged and Bank Swallows. All fly over the water, using their acrobatic ability to outmaneuver their insect prey. Great Blue and Green Heron are common and white-tailed deer often forage around the lake. As the weather warms, insect repellent is recommended.
Summer:  Osprey, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks hunt in the area and may be seen either perched along the forest edge or soaring above in the sky. There are nesting Mute Swans on the lake — beware of attempting to get too close to them; their strong wings and powerful beak can be dangerous. Although the site is abuzz with dragonflies, preying on flying insects, you will still need to take precautions for biting insects they don’t catch.
Fall:  The depth of Elmer Lake coupled with surrounding habitat make it an attractive stopover for a variety of migrating waterfowl including Lesser Scaup, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, and Northern Shoveler.

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