Ocean County will preserve a privately-owned campground site off Route 9 in Bayville for $5.9 million, making this summer the last season that the Cedar Creek Campground will operate.
The acquisition of the 27-acre tract was presented to the county commissioners at a work session meeting last week and will be finalized Wednesday when they vote on its approval. It is being purchased through the county’s Natural Lands Trust, which is funded by a county-wide open space tax. Berkeley Township officials voted to support the land buy at a meeting earlier this week.
“It’s currently operated as a camp ground and this will be its last season of operation,” County Administrator Michael J. Fiure told Shorebeat.
Cedar Creek Campground is a popular destination for families with RVs and similar vehicles for short stays, and features camping, kayaking, hiking in the pines, plus a swimming pool. It is unique in its proximity to both Barnegat Bay and the Pine Barrens, but for Ocean County, its importance comes due to its location beside the Barnegat Branch Trail, which has been preserved up and down the corridor where a train line once ran.
County officials will not continue running the camp as an attraction, and have not announced whether active recreational components will eventually be hosted here.
“As of right now, the main priority is that this will be consistent with our Natural Lands plan, which could allow some recreation,” said Fiure. “But really, the main thing is that we have the Barnegat Branch Trail that runs through here, and there are pieces next door that we just acquired on all sides. Everything will eventually flow together.”
Consistent with the traditional policy employed by the county, the campground was acquired only after the property owner signaled a willingness to sell.
“It’s been completely discussed with the seller, they are on board, and they accepted our offer,” said Fiure.
The purchase will be finalize at the county commissioners’ meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday.