Relentless Explorers

Kayaking (Upstream) in the Pine Barrens

Exploring the Greenwood Branch, I

By Ken Relentless

18 Jun  2017

The Greenwood Branch is a river that runs from a swamp in Brenden T. Byrne State Forest where the Pole Bridge Branch and Mount Misery Brook combine to the North Branch Rancocas Creek. The Pole Bridge Branch flows from Country Lake, Mount Misery Brook from south of Route 70 in the other section of Byrne. This river could not be more different from the Batsto, Oswego, Wading and the Tulpehocken. Houses and summer cabins line this river. It also traverses mostly maple swamp. The water is black with sediment and the swamp smells bad, like rotten eggs in places. It reminds me a lot of the Great Egg Harbor River if nothing else. Neither is the Greenwood Branch narrow and shallow like the streams in the Wharton State Forrest. The average depth seemed to be about 4 to 5 feet with no banks to pull out.

We put in at dam (green marker) on Four Mile Road in New Lisbon. Our goal was to reach Greenwood Bridge Road, but we never even reached the boundary of Byrne. Although we cleared a number of fallen trees and branches on this stream, one of the fallen trees blocking our path was too large for our razor-tooth saws and marked our furthest point (red dot). Late in the day, we turned back.

This run is measured at about 1.9 miles.

Due to the fairly strong current on this river, I was not able to take a lot of photos with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. One of the high points was this large spider that got into Don's boat, probably during the clearing of a mess of branches of two fallen trees blocking our path. I took this photo of it after Don got it out of his boat and into the water. He did not want to be bitten by this thing!

Huge spider after ejection from Don's kayak. At least it could swim.
Don getting ready dump the water out of his boat.
The downstream run.
Another shot during the downstream run.
Arethusa at the pond by the dam on Four Mile Road. More of these flowers were found along the upstream banks.

Our Goals

By Don Relentless

09 Sep  2017

Our goal was to make it to Greenwood Bridge Rd. We have some formidable downed trees blocking the way. There are several houses along the river and since we respect the rights and privacy of the homeowners we are a little uneasy about doing a lot of cutting and clearing in their back yards, sometimes just a few yards from their houses. Another plan is to start at Greenwood Bridge Rd and work up from there to Turkey Buzzard Bridge Rd - about 3 miles. This would open up a short kayak trail in Brendan Byrne State Forrest. The Holy Grail would be to clear from Turkey Buzzard Bridge to New Lisbon where we started. Then this would all be connected to the Rancocas Creek canoe trail.

Water levels: The gauging station for Greenwood Branch is in New Lisbon. When we were there on June 18, 2017 the water level was 2.15 feet. The optimum water level is hard to say because we had to squeeze under a few very large downed trees and rock and scrape over a few more. We will post more information as we become more familiar with this river.

Exploring the Greenwood Branch, II

By Ken Relentless

19 Feb  2018

Coming soon.