Trail Guides
Matts Landing - Heislerville Wildlife Management Area

Matts Landing Road, Heislerville, NJ
Phone: (856) 785-0455

OWNER:  NJ Department of Environmental Protection

DIRECTIONS:  Turn Left out of the Causeway parking area onto CR 670. At the next intersection, turn Right onto Route 47 South. Veer Right onto CR 740. Shortly after, bear Left onto CR 616/Main St. Turn Right onto CR 736/Matt’s Landing Rd.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking available on site.

A CLOSER LOOK:  Though it is hard to miss, take note of the large piles of conch shells near the impoundments. Gulls like to spend time around the piles looking for tasty tidbits, If you are lucky, you may be able to spot a rare gull in the group.

Hooded Merganser
Hooded MerganserKevin Karlson
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Matt’s Landing Rd. leads into the Heislerville Wildlife Management Area and offers scenic views of salt water impoundments, the Maurice River, and large mudflats that provide varied habitat for wading birds, shorebirds and waterfowl. Drive the dike road around the impoundments during any season to see an abundance of wildlife. Visitors are almost guaranteed a look at a Bald Eagle and Snowy and Great Egrets. Great Blue and Green Herons are common foragers as well. Ample parking is available on site and a one-mile long, paved bike trail winds between one of the impoundments and the Maurice River. Four privately owned marinas offer bait, tackle, refreshments, boat slips, and a boat ramp. With all of its wildlife diversity and scenic beauty, the Heislerville WMA has something to offer wildlife viewers year-round.

DON'T MISS:  Take a drive on the 8-mile auto-trail driving loop. Look for the beginning of the trail and a map on Matt’s Landing Rd. as you enter Heislerville WMA.

Winter:  Unless they are frozen, the impoundments are one of the best places to see a variety of waterfowl in the winter. There is usually open water near the spillways where the birds will concentrate. Look for Red-breasted Merganser and Bufflehead, along with the showy Hooded Merganser and Ruddy Duck. Keep an eye open for grebes as well. Thousands of Snow Geese feed in the salt marshes. Make sure to glance over the river for diving ducks, cormorants, and loons.
Spring:  The spring concentration of shorebirds in the center impoundment and on the mudflats is not to be missed. Thousands of shorebirds can be seen wheeling overhead in tight flocks or feeding energetically on the flats. Look for large concentrations of waterfowl as well. Teal, Black Duck, Gadwall, American Widgeon, and Pintail are all common migrants. Work the trees and bushes along the road edge for warblers and songbirds.
Summer:  Summer brings waders, shorebirds, and Black Skimmer to the impoundments, along with gnats and greenhead flies. When the wind is low, be sure to bring insect repellent or wear long sleeves. Look for roosting egrets in the trees on the islands, and diamondback terrapins nesting on the dikes. Watch as the graceful Black Skimmer slices the water’s surface hunting for fish. This is a very popular crabbing spot. Ask a crabber to show you what a “blue-claw” looks like or purchase your own crabbing equipment at one of the marinas and catch your own.
Fall:  Fall at Matt’s Landing, like spring, means resting, feeding and staging by southbound migrants. However, instead of the songbird migrants you find during the springtime, you are likely to see raptors instead.

Bike TrailsBoat LaunchHeritage TrailHiking TrailsHuntingParking