Lower Mullica River

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Map(s)

CrowleysLanding.jpgOverview map (1481x1023), 426K size.

Scenery

From the Pine Barrens & cedar water, to marsh grasses & brackish water.  This area witnesses the transition of the Mullica River from a twisty, curvy stream, to a tidal river.  The Mullica starts at Cooper Road, in West Berlin (Camden County), and most of the time defines the border between Burlington County and Camden & Atlantic counties.  Even if a sea kayak could go upstream beyond the Crowley's Landing area, it would be stopped by the dam at Atsion Lake.

Heading east (downstream), I estimate 16 to 18 miles to reach Great Bay.  Going west (upstream), you can travel at least 5 mi before it becomes too difficult to overcome the current.  (Note: As of Halloween 2009, there is a fallen tree @ N39 37 47.2 W74 39 15.9; someone cut a wide opening which a canoe or kayak could easily get through.  Problem is that coming back downstream, you must hit this opening perfectly or you will get pinned!)  Traveling about 2.3 miles, brings you to the fork w. the Batsto River.  Going 1/2 mi upstream on the Batsto leads to a nice lunch spot.

Hiking through the Pine Barrens in the summer, is as good as calling out, 'All biting bugs! Lunch is being served'.  Did not have that problem on the Batsto River.

Going 6 mi downstream, you see the marshy Hog Islands.  Across the river, on the southern side of the islands, is Clarks Landing; nice lunch spot.  Round trip to Clarks Landing is an easy 12 1/2 mi, if you time your trip with the tides.  Warning: Clarks Landing has broken glass on the beach & biting flies in the summer; bring the Deet or Natrapel.

High & low tide differ by 3 feet; enough to create a noticible current.  More important than the current is how much water is available to float your boat.  During low tide, you need to stay in the channel and watch for obstacles (e.g. submerged logs).  The good thing about low tide is that it exposes a beach near the boat ramp, which is easier for gel coat boats to launch from & land on.

Fees

$10 per car for power boats & personal water craft.  Free for kayaks and canoes.

Directions

Take route 206 south to route to route 613 (a.k.a. Middle Road), which branches off at a 45 degree angle, to the left.  This branch is 14.6 mi south of the Red Lion Circle.  Make a left onto S. Myrtle St, which shortly becomes route 693.  Take route 693 to the end & turn left onto route 542.

Take route 542; Crowleys Landing is 6.3 miles, on your right.

Alternatively, you can park in Wharton State Forest.  It is about 1/3 mi before Crowleys Landing, and is nothing more than a small parking area near a wooden fence, very close to the river.

Parking

On a grass field & near the restrooms.

Distance to the Launch Area

With the boat ramp Nazi, it is a few car lengths.  Otherwise, drop your boat near the ramp, but not such that you are obstructing other boaters.  If parking in Wharton State Forest, it will depend on the tide: 2 boat lengths near high tide; more if it's low tide.

Restrooms

Decent, but seasonal.  Have seen them open as late an early Oct weekend, and as early as mid-May on week days.  Use the woods, if you park in Wharton State Forest.

Status of Launch Area

During low tide, it is gravelly and sandy.  Otherwise, share the concreate ramp with the power boats.  Wharton State Forest is sand & gravel.  (The bigger problem is that this launch area is very close to the channel.)

Wind Conditions

Downstream, the winds can be vicious.  Upstream, they are an annoyance.

Power Boats

The sky is limit, but they have to behave near Crowleys Landing, and upstream.

Foliage

Spectacular upstream, boring downstream.

Rolling Practice?

So-so.  Totally forget about it during low tide.