Lenape Trails Turned Roads in the Pine Barrens
Before the Europeans landed in America, Native American tribes flourished across the country. The Leni Lenape tribe called New Jersey home. Many roads that we drive today were once trails used by the Lenape. These roads went through the change from trails, to colonist roads, to modern day roadways.
Back in college, I took a Pine Barrens course and our finally project had to focus on any aspect of the Pine Barrens. I had chosen to research and present on the Lenape trails that are now used as roads. I spent weeks researching a filming on location. Yes, the video is below. Yes, it is extremely embarrassing. Yes, this was 8 years ago.
Before the numerous traffic circles, Route 70 was once used by the Lenape. While modern day Route 70 doesn't quite reach the Delaware River or the ocean, the road was once used as a Lenape trail.
While Stage Road has seen a major decrease in size, this West Tuckerton road once crossed the state. Used during summer migration, Stage Rd. once started in Camden and ended in Osborne Island. Now the road starts at the Acme on Route 9 in West Tuckerton and ends in Bass River.
Many of the trails turned roads are direct lines from the Delaware River to the ocean. Route 47 travels from Camden to Cape May. If you look at the road on a map, it is an almost perfectly direct route from the two.
Of course, not all trails were used to connect the river to the ocean. Some of the trails were used to connect north and south New Jersey. Route 9 which stretches the entire length of the state was once used by the Leni Lenape.
Yet again another road that connects the river to the ocean and visa versa, Route 72 was once a trail. The old name of the highway was appropriately names Manahawkin Trail.
Route 52 was once part of a trail that connected present day Trenton to present day Ocean City.