Cumberland County is among the most rural in all of New Jersey. Sparsely populated (comparatively), Cumberland is home to many thousands of acres of forested lands and preserved farmlands.
By many metrics, Cumberland is one of the poorest and most disadvantaged in all of New Jersey. In many areas of the county traditional industries such as farming and commercial fishing still make up a large portion of the economy.
Cumberland County is also home to many historically and culturally significant places, ranging from the colonial-era settlements of areas like Greenwich Township, to the beautiful Victorian-era architecture of Mauricetown in Commercial Township, and many others.
Cumberland County also encompasses some 40 miles of coastline on the Delaware Bay. Of this, only about four miles is developed, with the rest being dedicated to open-space preservation under the stewardship of the state Department of Environmental Protection or other non-governmental organizations.
This plethora of open space and preserved land makes Cumberland County unique in many respects. Removed from the urban and suburban sprawl that typifies much of New Jersey, Cumberland County is a favorite destination for all types of outdoors enthusiasts, including birders, naturalists, hunters, and recreational fishermen, who visit or make their home in Cumberland to enjoy the natural bounty and abundance of wildlife that is often scarce or simply non-existent in much of the state.
The population distribution of the county is one of the primary factors that lead to the exclusion of the county’s residents from Sandy relief programs such as the RREM program (for a detailed explanation of this and other state-administered programs see here). While New Jersey’s Atlantic coast is heavily developed, Cumberland County’s Delaware Bayshore is much more sparsely developed. As a result, the damage incurred as a result of Sandy is comparatively much lower in terms of the percentage of the county’s total tax-base, placing Cumberland below the threshold for inclusion in such programs. Those communities that do exist along the Delaware Bayshore however were, in many cases, as heavily or more heavily impacted than many of the Atlantic coastal counties.