Parvin State Park: A Hidden Jewel Among Salem County

Located in the eastern part of Salem County, Parvin State Park is a hidden jewel among New Jersey’s state parks. With 1,952 acres of forest, natural lakes and camping facilities there are plenty of family activities to enjoy. Located in Pittsgrove Township, between Vineland and Centerton on Route 540 (701 Almond Road), Parvin is accessible from State Route 55, interchange 35. The office phone number is (856) 358-8616

Activities include swimming, picnicking, boating, hiking, fishing, hunting and camping. The Natural Area has four hundred forested acres. Forty known types of trees grow in Parvin, as well as shrubs, ferns and club mosses. Several miles of foot trails provide a perfect opportunity to observe all the natural beauty of this protected area.

The history of Parvin State Park has several chapters. The remains of ancient Native American encampments have been found in five different locations with the park. The first landowner in the area was John Estaugh, husband of Elizabeth Haddon, who settled at what is now known as Haddonfield. Estaugh was granted title to 2,928 acres in 1742. In 1796 Lemuel Parvin purchased the property. Parvin wanted to use the water on the land to run a sawmill.

In 1930, the State of New Jersey acquired 918 acres of forest and a 108-acre lake in the recreation area formerly known as Parvin Grove. In October 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (created by Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of his New Deal programs) established a camp to make improvements to the park’s facilities. From October 1933 to April 1941, the CCC established at Parvin State Park built the main beach complex, extended the beach and created a parking lot. They build campsites at Jaggers Point Campground and constructed 18 cabins on Thundergust Lake.

In 1943, Charles Seabrook of Seabrook Farms needed workers for food production & processing. Mr. Seabrook approached the War Relocation Authority, which was responsible for house Japanese Americans who were removed from their homes in the United States. Parvin’s facilities were used as part of a summer day program for the children of Japanese Americans.

In January 1944, German prisoners from Fort Dix were relocated to Parvin. The POW’S had been a part of German Field Marshall Erwin Rommell’s infamous Afrika Corps. In 1952, Parvin Camp was used as transition housing for the Kalmycks who fled their home lands in Easter Europe.

Many of the facilities originally constructed by the CCC are still in use today.

For more info www.njparksandforests.org

Below are pictures of Thundergust Lake which is located at Parvin State Park. Staff photos by Pam Williams

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