Page 37 - Guide to Greater Philadelphia
P. 37

the Trenton waterfront
open spaces, scenic towns and historic sights
These five New Jersey counties range from rural retreat to urban excitement.
The New Jersey portion of the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan area comprises five coun- ties — Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem — that dip south and run north from the city itself. Bordering Delaware and Pennsylvania, these counties offer wide ranges in population density, open space and municipal subdivisions.
From rural Salem County in the south to the much more populous Mercer at the northern end, the suburban counties offer diversity, community, robust commerce, tourist meccas and many choices in where to settle — suburban development, small town, medi- um-size city or rural area. They have about 1.7 million residents in all.
Like much of the metropolitan area, the New Jersey counties have the benefit of a great location, affording easy access to large cities along the East Coast, with roads and other transportation systems that offer many options for ready travel and transport. While many New Jersey residents commute to Philadelphia and its other suburbs, there is plenty of business and industry to keep employment strong and these areas growing.
Agriculture is a major industry, and way of life, in much of this region. Farms abound, as do related food industries, such as canneries, markets and wineries,
making it one of the premier food-producing areas of the state and nation.
The area is rich in natural resources — from the Delaware River banks, through the famous Pine Barrens with their Pygmy Pines that live amid oaks and cedars in these more than 1 million acres that traverse several counties.
Similarly, the history of America runs through the area, with many sites from the American Revolution to explore, early American homes and churches, as well as stops on the Underground Railroad that are still celebrated.
In addition to these similarities, each Southern New Jersey county has its own charm and character.
Burlington County: Just north of Camden County is Burlington, a county that stretches the entire width of the state, from the Delaware River to the Great Bay that flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Comprising nearly 820 square miles, Burlington County is the largest in the state and home to about 450,000 residents.
Burlington has 40 municipal subdivisions, including cities, townships and boroughs. The county seat
is Mount Holly. The municipalities on the county’s western edge are only about a 15-minute drive from Philadelphia, making it an ideal location for commuters.
As the county stretches east toward the ocean, it becomes less populated, with more open space.
In fact, there is plenty of open space in Burlington County, though much of it is farmland. The county is one of the largest farming areas in the state, and still considered an agricultural county, despite significant development. Cranberries and blueberries are among its premier crops.
Burlington County has the lowest per capita spend- ing of any of New Jersey’s 21 counties. The leading industry sectors are trade/transportation/utilities (25%), followed by professional/business services (18.3%), education/health services (18%) and financial activities (11 %). The manufacturing sector remains a strong
part of the county’s economy, employing nearly 15,000 workers.
One of Burlington County’s natural attractions is the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a forested area with acidic and nutrient-poor soil that is now designated as the Pinelands National Reserve. Its 1.1 million acres cover parts of seven New Jersey counties, including 64% – or more than 334,000 acres – in Burlington County. This land is a respite from the development and congestion of nearby areas. Many state and local parks, man-made lakes and other venues offer recreational opportunities | 35

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