Menantico Ponds~Where Nature Waved A Magic Wand

Menantico Ponds WMA

Route 49 South
Millville, NJ

The Menantico Ponds are definitely where nature waved its magic wand. Yes, I am full of exquisite corniness. It encompasses over 300 acres of rustic splendor and is a real treat. The ride alone in traveling down the tree-lined concrete path is nature’s beauty hard at work.

The narrow road leading into Menantico

The narrow road leading into Menantico

 

The road in between both ponds

The road in between Menantico ponds

 

A long long time ago, like in the 1950s (yes, very ancient). This area was a booming sand mining facility. It was so large they shipped out sand via trains that came into the land. In fact, sand mining has always been big in this area. Due to the nature of the Pine Barren land, it is a very sandy surface. This occurred from glacial periods of freezing and unfreezing. Then the Pines were once entirely underwater. In essence, the Pines are a big barren beach with abundant and unique plant life all around. They are some of my favorite areas to explore in NJ, the Pineys.

Menantico Pond

My first look at one of the ponds

 

She's very clear

She’s very clear

 

There is also an urban legend of this area (or perhaps really happened) of an occult murder. In 1971, a man asked his friends to bind his hands and feet and to throw him in one of the ponds. He died and was found 3 days later. He thought his death would make him a satanic ruler and would rise up to conquer legions.

Menantico Pond

La la la la la!

 

Bow chicka wow wow

 

Such occurrences and stories are quite common here in South Jersey. Whether it be fact or fiction, it still is one of those “sit around the fire” stories you hear. I didn’t find one thing creepy about the place. In fact, it is quite tranquil.

Lily pads at the "cedar looking" pond

Lily pads at the “cedar looking” pond

 

Pretty in the Pine Barrens

Pretty in the Pine Barrens

 

The entrance is quite hard to miss. I went up Port Elizabeth Road to Route 49. It quickly came upon my left. A nice long drive back will have you stopping to check out both ponds. The one pond to the left is a beautiful blue hole. Pristine. The water is so clear you can see to the bottom. It is a nice steep drop to walk down so bring good hiking shoes. A lot of the area of the lake is nice and shallow. Truly beautiful.

Boat Ramp at Menantico Pond

Boat ramp

 

Trails around the boat ramp

Trails around the boat ramp

 

On the other side, is the more “Pine Barren” cedar-looking body of water. Abundant plant life on the lake floor. There’s a boat ramp on this side. It seems to be the larger of the ponds.

Me likey the crystal clear water

Me likey the crystal clear water

 

I then parked the car to yonder. I walked a path to the train tracks and saw a few old mining ruins. They’ve been left of days of old.

Old sand mining ruins

Old sand mining ruins

 

More Ruins at Menantico

More Ruins at Menantico

 

It was a beautiful exploring day. I was alone and at peace with myself. Not a soul was around and this Piney woman was very happy. I wish I had a kayak to truly explore these beauties. I’m told it’s something you don’t want to miss. It is quite an avid fishing spot. You can launch your boat and have a great relaxing day.

Side Note: This is a WMA so use caution if adventuring in the fall/winter months. Due to possible encounters with hunters. Keep dogs (never really permitted in WMAs FYI) close due to possibility of getting caught in hunting traps.

21 thoughts on “Menantico Ponds~Where Nature Waved A Magic Wand

  1. ooh! first comment: FRESH post. boy, yoo shurr izz an ambassador(ess) for “the wilds” of NJ (not to mention other places you explore). why you’re not on the “FreschPrest” radar is solely ’cause they (the FP robots) can’t check ev’ry-1, ev’ry wear.
    GOOD STUFF, GAL! legends and all. a lot of people, well, i’d think MOST PEOPLE think of NJ as almost entirely urban. that’s why i said yer an ambassador for “look at the other side”.
    i presume there are hiking/running trails?

  2. I was there this past weekend. Truly gorgeous !! very clean as well. the park ranger said the fishermen and hunters are the ones who keep the place immaculate. I had top and doors off on my Jeep but the ranger said no venturing off the paved trail. 😦

    I really wish I had known about this place long ago !!

      • The tale about the man who had his friends bind and drown him is completely true fact.
        I worked as a young law student and lawyer for the attorney who represented one of the
        Guys who obliged him. To get them to do it the future satanic ruler made the two guys
        The beneficiaries of a ten thousand dollar life insurance policy to split fifty fifty.
        Putting that aside it was always a magic spot for me and my friends growing up.
        Have you heard of Nathan’s island out there. From Tom Sawyer land. Great job you did but learn to keep a secret! Martin

        • It is very true. I was born and raised on the one of two housed that reside on the first dirt road to this creation of God. My sister and her friend were riding their horses back there in an area know to locals as “clear pond” when they found the body floating in the water. The police were called and because area is remote and access is very soft sand which back then you could not drive on, the police had my sister take them there on horse back and body was brought out by her horse to road.

        • My mom actually discovered the body. She was swimming with friends and they saw it out in the water.

      • I grew up here in one of the 2 houses on the first dirt road leading into this peace if heaven. I lived there from 1959 to 1980s when state turned it into a wildlife mgt area( to me that was its down fall). I spent every free hour exploring every foot every pond and every sand dune. Most of the off road trails were made by myself and my cousin Scott Beebe, who grew up in the other house on that road. Back then we could camp swim andstay out there for days at a time and never see another person. You have never experienced the true beauty of this place until you take a canoe trip through it at midnight on water so calm it looks like a sheet of glass, the only sound was the beaver smacking its tail on the water to announce our arrival to the other beaver. Sounded like a concrete block being dropped a bridge 20′ high.
        As far as your urban legend goes, there is no legend only a true story, which you pretty much summed up in your brief paragraph, how do I know it’s true, I was there. We used to swim in a small crystal clear pond across the sand dunes we dubed “clear pond” ( had a Nome for every pond out there). On day my sister an a friend were riding their horses an wanted to stop for a swim. Well it was about that time that a bloated body floated to the serface. Hands and feet tied and gagged. They galloped home and my dad called police and they had my sister show them where it was, and being that clear pond is acrossed about a half mile of very soft sand and in 1971 police did not have 4 WD trucks they tried to put the body in a body bag on her house, needless to say the horse wanted nothing to do with this.
        Ive since moved away. I returned about 6 years ago to reexplor with my wife and show her the magic of manantico only to find that all if the most magical places there are no longer accessible due to wma. As the old song says they paved paradise and put up a parking lot. What you saw was only the tip of the iceburg as to what this place has to offer. Thank for the memories

  3. What does WMA mean? I am from NY and moved to south Jersey about 30 years ago. I love the countryside, the farms and all the trees. Can you tell me a little about Bridgeton, Clayton and Vineland. Thank you.

    • Dorothy, WMA is NJ’s wording they give to Wildlife Management area. Clayton produced glass and bricks over a hundred years ago and the quality was reportedly impeccable.

      Bridgeton was a pretty fancy smancy area. It held two colleges (reportedly as esteemed as Ivy League in their time).

      Vineland was named for “The land of the Vines.” Charles Landis founded Vineland after Hammonton. He named it Vineland to encourage Italian grape farmers/wine makers to purchase the land as the soil is superb for these growing conditions. Welch Grape Juice got their start in Vineland. I could write a whole entire book.

      Have a Great Evening! -YG

  4. I have fished there many times, a great place to fish…… so bring minnows, there best. The water is so clear you can see the fish biting. A wonderful place to bring the kids, they loved it there, Great Bass Fishing.

  5. The story is true about the assisted suicide. It was one school mate that tied his hands behind him and his ankles. He was caught because he was the beneficiary if the life insurance policy of $1k. I newp the brother of the deceased. The kid was devil worshiper. I saw him in the halls. He was a loner and quiet.

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