This is a reprint one of my photography blog posts on http://photoimpressionism.wordpress.com
This peaceful and idyllic scene is a rare old growth cedar swamp located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. It also happens to be on the not so peaceful Warren Grove Bombing Range. Air National Guard pilots bomb and strafe targets on a small area of this 9000 acre range. The rest is kept in its natural state.
The Warren Grove range is also one of the places where Professor Walter Bien of Drexel University’s Laboratory of Pinelands Research is conducting cutting edge work. Dr. Bien and his Researchers are given access to the range by the military in order to study ways to preserve the Pine Barren’s unique ecology.
A group of Pine Barrens enthusiasts, including me, recently toured the Warren Grove Bombing Range with Dr. Bien and some of the researchers. They told us about their work with endangered snakes, reforestation, discovering the best ways to reintroduce rare plants into the New Jersey Pinelands and more. All of this research is being done around impact zones littered with training bomb casings and shot up old military equipment.
This photograph was taken on a remote part of the range and is one of the most pristine old growth Cedar swamps I have ever seen. Large stands of 100 plus year old Atlantic White Cedar trees like these are uncommon in the Pine Barrens because many of them were cut down for lumber before the NJ Pinelands were preserved.
While we were in this swamp I wandered off from the group with my camera and tripod to make this photograph. I could have spent hours among these old trees and want to go back, but this base is closed to civilians. I am working on getting permission to photograph here again. Wish me luck.