With 1.1 million acres, the Pinelands is the largest body of primarily forested open space on the Mid-Atlantic seaboard between Richmond and Boston and is a natural and cultural environment unique to the world. The byway meanders through areas of striking and subtle natural beauty and rich historic heritage. Visitors will be greeted by natural attributes of the Pinelands that include a pristine and protected estuary, coastal marshes and plants and animals that are unique to the Pinelands, two federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, state and national forests and wildlife management areas, recreational opportunities, and a federally administered preserve and research center.
First used by the colonists as a source of bog iron in the late 1700s, a rural version of the Industrial Revolution took hold as iron smelting and glass production became the major source of employment within this area. With the depletion of the forests through the need to operate the iron and glass furnaces, the area turned to truck farming since at least the early nineteenth century and berry farming a few decades later. This area has been key to maintaining New Jersey's nickname "The Garden State" with some of the largest cranberry and blueberry operations in the world.