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Part of the challenge of fishing in NJ is figuring out where to gain access. Many TP and WTS in the state flow largely through private land. However, the game has changed somewhat in recent years with the state’s Open Space program, which prioritized protection of trout streams through land acquisition as one of its strategies. Some of these acquisitions are small, poorly marked on conventional maps, and little publicized. Not all will allow fishing access, but most will (check if in doubt).
These datasets give you detailed boundary information for every state-owned (olive) and most county-managed (green) open-space parcels in NJ. The state layer was current as of 12/2008 (the latest available when WildTroutStreams published this info in January, 2014). Given the state’s recent budget crunch, it probably hasn’t changed much. The county parcels were current as of 7/2011.
How useful is it? In my experience, extremely. Here’s a real life example from a stream I’ve fished personally. This is showing a detail from the screen of my QGIS workstation, with the state layer displayed on top of Google Maps. It shows two types of problems with conventional maps. Type 1: Google is showing the border of Voorhees State Park running along Willoughby Creek, while the layer (textured areas) shows a substantial private inholding. I can tell you from experience that the layer is accurate (not Google Maps) and you run into No Tresspassing signs on the stream (and in any event you would be fishing in people’s back yards). Type 2: On the other hand look at Rocky Run (light green line on left). In this detail you can see a small state-owned parcel which doesn’t show up on the Google Maps at all.