Halgas Scout Reservation is located within the New Jersey Pinelands National Preserve. The Pinelands or Pine Barrens as they are commonly called contain various different forest types and habitat, ranging from wet swampy pine forests to the dry sandy pigmy forests of Bass River and Penn State Forests. Each forest type provides critical habitat for the many threatened and endangered species who live in the Pinelands.
Halgas Scout Reservation is situated within the Pine/Shrub Oak and Pitch Pine Lowlands Native Forest Types. The Pine/Shrub Oak forest type is found in the large, frequently burned fire-sheds of the central Pinelands, on low sandy terraces adjacent to pitch pine lowlands or other wetlands.
Characteristics of a Pine/Shrub Oak forest consist of typically 50 to 75 percent Pine cover of Pitch Pine or Shortleaf Pine. Tree-oak cover is absent or under five percent in most pine/shrub oak “barrens”, and five to 25 percent in pine/oak/shrub-oak “woodlands.” When present, tree-oak species often include black oak, post oak, scarlet oak, and rarely chestnut oak, white oak and southern red oak. Shrub-oak cover (blackjack oak or scrub-oak) is over five percent and is typically between 25 and 100 percent.
Low shrub cover is dominated by black huckleberry, low bush blueberry, greenbrier; and often includes early successional species such as bearberry, pixie moss, pine-barrens hudsonia, sandwort, Pennsylvania sedge, little bluestem, and lichens, especially where an open pine canopy is maintained.
Pitch Pine Lowlands are characterized as areas dominated by pitch pine and supporting one or more of the following hydrophytic plants (growing wholly or partially in water): Red maple, Blackgum, Gray birch, Leatherleaf, Dangleberry, Sheep laurel, Highbush blueberry, Sweet pepperbush, and Wintergreen.
Other plant species, to include native plants, are present at Halgas. These lists are simply characterizations of the forest types, not an all-inclusive list of identifiable species at the camp.
Halgas also contains various different habitats within these forest types. There are three intermittent streams flowing through the property as well as numerous small ponds. These bodies of water not only provide critical watering to larger wildlife, they also provide micro habitats for various species of aquatic life.
The wetland areas provide pools of water that are present long enough for some amphibians to lay eggs and promote metamorphoses but dry up in late summer preventing the development of predatory fish populations. Vegetation surrounding these wetlands often includes tall grasses, cattails, and mosses.