Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located along the eastern slope of the Kittatinny Ridge in Hampton Township. This site includes the Lake Owassa Bear Swamp Natural Heritage Priority Site composed of a large mixed hardwood/conifer swamp forest and the adjacent upland hardwood forest. Designated by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Heritage Priority Sites are considered the state?s most significant natural areas. This particular site contains a rare wetland community and several imperiled species of birds and plants. Bear Swamp WMA is also part of the Delaware Valley Water Gap Macrosite IBA.

Ornithological Summary

Conservation Concern - State-endangered: Bald Eagle (B)

Conservation Concern - State-endangered: Red-shouldered Hawk (B)

Conservation Concern - State-endangered: Northern Goshawk (B)

Conservation Concern - State-special Concern: Winter Wren (B)

Regional Responsibility Species - BCR 28 Forest: Wood thrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Eastern Wood-pewee, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireo, Black-billed Cuckoo, Gray Catbird, Baltimore Oriole (B)

Regional Responsibility Species - BCR 28 Scrub-shrub/Barrens: Prairie Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow (B)

Conservation Issues

Development of remaining unprotected lands on the ridgetops and slopes of the Kittatinny Ridge will continue to fragment forest and wetland habitats, therefore reducing the suitability of these habitats. Increased development also results in declining water quality, increased pressure on groundwater reserves and promotes dispersal of invasive species. Development pressure on the lower and middle slopes is particularly strong and warrants protection through easements, acquisitions, zoning, improvements to wetland protection regulation and by other means. Habitat restoration on private lands can also be encouraged by promoting federal and state incentive programs. Increased recreational activities on public lands may also disturb nesting Bald Eagles and other raptors. Additional threats include cowbird parasitism, stormwater discharge, overabundant deer and loss of early successional habitats to forested communities. Exotic pests and tree diseases also threaten forest health in this area. The hemlock woolly adelgid, for example, has caused extensive mortality of eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis). Bacterial leaf scorch has affected American elms (Ulmus americana), sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and oaks. In 2005, Conservation Resources partnered with New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the state of New Jersey Green Acres Program to add the 852-acre Culvermere Property, one of the largest tracts of undeveloped land remaining in Sussex County, to Bear Swamp WMA. This property is being managed to ensure protection of water quality and natural resources. Many local leaders, outdoors groups and volunteers, including The Coalition to Protect Our Land, Lakes and Watersheds, have successfully advocated for the protection and restoration of privately-owned habitats, including the Culvermere Property, along the Kittatinny Ridge.


Owned by:
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 400
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400


Forested wetlands with deciduous and mixed forested uplands

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