Welcome to Passaic County’s Friendship Park!
The 45 acre park, located in Bloomingdale, NJ consists of deciduous wooded upland and wetlands.
The 1.2 Orange Blazed Trail we are going to follow was blazed courtesy of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. The actual hike described below took place in August 2012, about two months prior to Hurricane Sandy. Some changes to the trail have taken place since that time. Ok, ready to start?
From the parking area head east to the Orange Blazed Trailhead near a wetland.
Turn left heading north on the trail. Immediately you will notice a large outcrop of rocks of precambrian origin. The rocks are known as “basement rocks” and were originally covered by soil and other rocks. Through the years due to natural activities such as past glacier action the rocks became exposed. Most of the rocks are thought to be comprised of ancient granite-gneiss.
Pudding stone rocks, seen above, are common in the NJ Highlands and consist of well-rounded quartz and red sandstone cobbles in a fine-grained red ironstone matrix.
After a few minutes, you will pass over a seasonal stream. Wait! Where’s the water? That’s a good question and I am glad you asked it. This stream is part of the wetlands that exist in Friendship park and only flows when the water table located below the surface gets too high such as in heavy downpours in spring.
Continuing on we come to the northern boundary of Friendship park which is seen here as a fence separating the park from an old abandoned golf course. Let’s stop and look around for a second. It seems we are not alone. There’s an American Robin & Eastern Gray Squirrel keeping watch over the forest.
Wait! What’s this? It’s an American Chestnut Sprout!
The American Chestnut tree was an important member of the eastern forest found in the United States. A wide variety of wildlife fed on its chestnuts. American Chestnuts began to die off in 1904 due to imported Chestnut Blight from Asia. The blight, imported to the US via Asian chestnut trees, is a fungus dispersed by spores in the air, raindrops and animals. American Chestnut now survives only in the understory as shoots sprouting from old roots (which are not affected by the blight). The American Chestnut sprouts reach about twenty feet before the blight strikes. The roots then shoots up new sprouts and the process repeats itself. The American Chestnut Foundation is currently working to restore the once great American Chestnut back to its native range.
Heading east now there is a slight climb where we see a large coppice Black Oak. The orange blazed trail now continues on top of a large rock ledge.
The trail now starts to descend as we turn right and head south. Be careful to follow the orange blazes here as there are other trails that are not blazed which meander through the forest. According to our trail map, it looks like we left the trail! Let’s head back and find the last blaze.
Whew! Back on the trail! Let’s stop and listen to the sounds of the forest: Sounds like we are hearing a White Breasted Nuthatch & a Blue Jay. Let’s continue on our hike! Now we have arrived at the bottom of the descent.
Continuing south we see….what exactly is this we are looking at?
It appears to be a makeshift shelter of some kind.
Turning right and heading north we are only a short distance from the trail’s end. But before we continue pause and check out those old growth White Oak Trees!
We have now come to the end of the orange trail and our exploration of Friendship Park.
Interested in checking out Friendship Park yourself? Check out below!
Directions (as taken from the NY NJ Trail Conference Website)
From I-287 north or south take Exit 53 (Bloomingdale) and turn left onto Hamburg Turnpike. Upon entering Bloomingdale, the name of the road changes to Main Street. In 1.3 miles (from Route 287), you will reach a fork in the road. Bear right (following the sign to West Milford), and in another 0.1 mile, turn right (uphill) onto Glenwild Avenue. Proceed for another 0.3 mile to the intersection of Woodward Avenue (on the left). Opposite this intersection, you will notice a dirt parking area bordered by stones on the right. Turn right and park here.
Feel free to e-mail NJUrbanForest at NJUrbanForest@gmail.com with any comments, memories or suggestion! Thank you and have fun exploring!
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Welcome to Norvin Green State Forest’s Torne Mountain!
Torne Mountain, standing at 1,120 feet and located in Passaic County NJ, is situated in the southern section of the estimated 4,982 acre Norvin Green State Forest. The land comprising the forest was donated to the State of New Jersey by the nephew of Ringwood Manor’s Abram S. Hewitt in 1946.
Norvin Green State Forest has the largest concentrations of trails in the state of NJ. Most of the trails date back to the 1920’s when members of a local organization known as the Green Mountain Club constructed them.
Many of the rocks that are encountered during this hike have a rounded appearance due to the Wisconsin Glacier which came through the area around 10,000 years ago. This event is relatively recent as the Highlands rocks were formed over four billion years ago.
The rocks are “basement rocks” as the younger rocks which originally had covered them eroded away over time. Most of the rocks are thought to be comprised of ancient granite-gneiss.
Below is a brief virtual tour of a section of the 0.4 of a mile Torne Trail and a portion of the 6.4 mile Blue Blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail. Stops include outstanding views and an interesting man-made Stone Living Room. Ready? Let’s do it!
The hike is an estimated 1.5 miles from Otter Hole Road.
Starting from near the Otter Hole Road Parking area, head south to the trailhead of the red blazed Torne Mountain Trail.
Once on the Torne trail, signs advertising the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail will appear.
Head southwest then south on the blue blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail to Climb Torne Mountain.
The first view will be of Buck Mountain to the north. Continuing southeast views of the Newark Pequannock Watershed land appear to the west.
Near the western viewpoint, a short unmarked trail appears to the left leading to a man-made Stone Living Room. “Chairs” & “Sofas” have been constructed from surrounding rocks. The Stone Living Room is an excellent place to stop for lunch and rest while taking in views.
From the Stone Living Room, head back to the Hewitt Butler Trail. Continuing south, descend Torne Mountain passing a stand-alone Stone chair.
Here you will reach a ravine at the bottom of Torne mountain and the southern trailhead of the red blazed Torne Trail which will be your return back to Otterhole Road.
For now, pass the southern trail-head of the Torne Trail and continue southeast on the blue blazed Hewitt-Butler trail climbing to Osio Rock.
From here, views of the Wanaque Reservoir, the NYC Skyline (on a clear day) and High Mountain of the 2nd Watchung Mountain range may be viewed to the east.
After taking in the views, turn around and head north west to retrace your steps back to the ravine to the red blazed Torne trail trailhead.
Here you will take the Torne trail north back to Otterhole Road where the trail began.
Flora found along the trail includes the below among others:
Directions: (as taken from localhikes.com)
Hamburg Turnpike to Glenwild Ave. Parking area is next to Bloomingdale/West Milford border (look for Welcome to West Milford sign, or Welcome to Bloomingdale sign depending on which direction you are traveling.
Feel free to e-mail NJUrbanForest at NJUrbanForest@gmail.com with any comments, memories or suggestion! Thank you and have fun exploring!
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Welcome to Little Fall’s Morris Canal Preserve!
Walking on Little Falls Main Street, few people would suspect that a preserved woodland and forested floodplain is located behind the stores.
The Morris Canal Preserve is located right above the Passaic River. The river rushes by on fractured basalt . The preserve features a gentle paved path which traverses the edge between the developed landscape of Little Falls and the remnant forested floodplain of the Passaic River.
The paved path leads from a beautiful gazebo and heads in a southwest direction to its terminus near an outflow from the Passaic Valley Water Company.
You might be tempted to think that Little Falls was named after these views, but the real falls were eliminated late in the 18th century to relieve upstream flooding of the Passaic River.
The path features checkerboards, basalt rocks of the second Watchung Mountain and beautiful views along the way.
The Morris Canal was an artificial waterway which connected the coal fields of Pennsylvania’s LeHigh Valley to Paterson, Newark & New York City. Successful at first, railroads eventually replaced the need for the canal. After falling into disrepair, the Aqueduct was dynamited to the ground in 1925.
Typical examples of flora found along the Morris Canal Preserve include:
Want to learn more about the high diversity of plant life found in the Garden State? Check out Plant Communities of New Jersey.
NJ’s geology, topography and soil, climate, plant-plant and plant-animal relationships, and the human impact on the environment are all discussed in great detail. Twelve plant habitats are described and the authors were good enough to put in examples of where to visit!
Click here for more information!
Directions: (as taken from the NYNJCT Botany Website)
From Route 80 westbound, get off at the Union Avenue exit and bear left to follow Union Avenue for about one mile into Little Falls. Turn left at the light onto Main Street and then go about five blocks looking for Maple Street and Schumacher Chevrolet on the left. Turn left down Maple and continue as for the bus directions.
Alternative route by car: From Rt. 46 westbound, get off at the Great Notch/Cedar Grove exit. Bear left and follow overpass over Route 46 on to Notch Road. At the end of Notch Road turn right at the light onto Long Hill Road. Proceed on Long Hill Road for about one mile where it becomes Main Street. At Schumacher Chevrolet, turn right onto Maple Street and then follow the directions as for the bus. Look for the brick sign for the preserve on the left.
By public transportation: Take NJ TRANSIT 191/195 bus that leaves the Port Authority Bus Terminal, NY (check schedule prior to the trip) and get off on Main Street in downtown Little Falls at the corner of Maple Street Turn right on Maple and walk one block to entrance to the preserve parking lot on the left.
Feel free to e-mail NJUrbanForest at NJUrbanForest@gmail.com with any comments, memories or suggestion! Thank you and have fun exploring!
The 2011 Pequannock River Coalition Fall Hike took place in West Milford’s Kanouse Mountain located in the Newark Watershed lands. The mountain is part of West Milford’s baker’s dozen-a series of mountains you can hike in West Milford.
The 1,100 foot Kanouse Mountain is located off of Route 23 North near Echo Lake Road in the Newfoundland section of West Milford. Dense woodlands surround the mountain to the north, Echo Lake is to the north east, Kanouse Brook is to the west, the Echo Lake Channel is to the east and Route 23 is to the south and southeast.
Kanouse Brook has a naturally regenerating trout population and drains into the Pequannock River.
Attendees of the hike parked off of Old Route 23 near the NJ Transit Park & Ride and walked to the entrance of the trail off of Route 23 North near the entering Newfoundland sign.
The hike took place on unmarked wood roads starting in a northeast direction to the summit of Kanouse Mountain where a large star, American flag and outstanding views were present.
Charlottesburg Reservoir was formed from the impoundment of the Pequannock River which is given C1 water classification. The C1 classification is used to indicate that the river is relatively unspoiled in comparison to other rivers in NJ.
As with all Pequannock River Coalition Hikes, Ross Kusher (the executive director of PRC) discussed different points of interest along the hike including ecology and geology. This interesting information makes a hike much more than a physical journey. The information provided by Ross’s expertise boosts the strength of your mind as you learn new aspects of your surroundings.
The geology of Kanouse Mountain and the surrounding highlands is estimated to be between 400-435 million years old and thought to be from the Silurian Period of the paleozoic era. Past glacier activity courtesy of the Wisconsin Glacier is evident by gentle slopes on the north side of the mountain and a sudden drop on the south side. As the Wisconsin glacier moved through the area 10,000 years ago it pushed rocks and carved out hillsides creating this phenomenon present throughout the highlands region.
Small trace amounts of copper have been found alongside the much more abundant iron in the highlands region. It is said that nearby Copperas Mountain was named so because of the copper that was once taken from it.
Occasionally the group came across muddy areas when the trail crossed through wetlands. These muddy spots are prime spots to look for animal prints. Ross pointed out this coyote print found in the picture above.
The group found this Wood Frog near the trail. Though hard to tell from this photo, wood frogs generally look like they have a robber’s mask on due to the dark patch which extends backward from their eye. These frogs are often found in moist wooded areas.
American Chestnut saplings were found periodically in the forest. Once a dominant tree in the forest canopy, the Chestnut blight has reduced the tree to the shrub layer. Once the American Chestnut reaches about twenty feet or so the blight strikes and kills it. The tree may die, but the root structure is still alive and sends up new sprouts. The American Chestnut Foundation is working to defeat the blight and restore its former footprint.
Other flora found includes these among others:
- Quaking Aspen
- White Oak
- American Beech
Ross explained that Black Bears love the fruits of Shadbush. He once tasted the berries and compared them to wet cardboard. White Oak Ross said was cherished by wildlife for its sweet acorns.
The hike was an estimated six miles and went in a loop fashion so that attendees came out the same way the came in. What a great fall hike!
The Pequannock River Coalition holds three hikes a year (Fall, Winter and Spring). They are worth checking out!
Remember, to hike in the Newark Watershed land a permit is required. For more information on obtaining a Newark watershed permit click here.
The 576 acre Apshawa Preserve is located in West Milford in the heart of the NJ Highlands region. The preserve is a cooperative project of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) and the county of Passaic. Passaic County has owned 501 acres of the preserve after purchasing the land from the Borough of Butler with Green Acres funding in 1971. Public Access to the property was limited until NJCF purchased the adjacent Faustini property in 2002 bringing the total acreage to 576. The property was previously going to be developed and would have fragmented a crucial highlands forest and degraded water quality in nearby High Crest Lake. The Faustini property includes an estimated .93 of an acre pond and rock outcrops.
The forty acre Butler Reservoir is the centerpiece of the Apshawa Preserve and was formed from the impoundment of the Apshawa Brook which flows from the northwest. Once used for the Borough of Butler’s water supply, the reservoir is now only used during emergency drought situations.
From Butler Reservoir, Apshawa Brook continues south through an old mixing pond and cascades until its confluence with the Pequannock River near Route 23.
Samples of macro invertebrates taken from the Apshawa Brook show healthy populations of Mayflies, Stoneflies and Caddis flies. These species are all pollutant intolerant species. Macro indicates that the organism can be seen without the aid of a microscope whereas invertebrate indicates that the organism has no backbone. The presence of these pollutant intolerant species indicates the Apshawa Brook’s water quality is very high. The NJ DEP has classified the stream as Trout Production and labeled the brook with “C1″ status which is one of the highest water classifications in NJ.
Apshawa Deer Fence
In December of 2010, The New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) completed construction of a 16,800 feet (3.2 Mile), 8 feet high wire mesh deer fence on three hundred acres of the Apshawa Preserve. The NJCF states that the Apshawa Preserve is at a “deer tipping point” and that the forest is partially degraded. 18 deer were observed in the fenced 300 acres during a NJCF sponsored deer drive on December 10, 2010. NJCF states that 18 deer on 300 acres equals to about 40 deer per square mile. A deciduous forest becomes degraded when deer density is greater than 20 deer per square mile.
The purpose of the fence is to keep white-tail deer from over-browsing native herbaceous plants & young tree saplings. The fence will be in place for 10 to 15 years. Assessments of native plant populations found both in and out of the fenced areas will be taken on occasion to determine the effectiveness of the fence. According to the NJCF, so much native vegetation has been consumed by the white-tail deer that non-native plants such as mugwort, oriental bittersweet and Japanese Barberry have taken hold in many areas of the forest where native species once flourished. These nonnative plants do not provide any benefit to native wildlife. Seeds of these plants were carried via foot traffic and illegal ATV use.
The Pequannock River Coalition (PRC) has called the forest restoration project “the fence that makes no sense” and has stated that the design of the fence impedes travel of other animals such as the state endangered Bobcat and Wood Turtle. PRC published a field review of the Apshawa Preserve and fence on November 22, 2010. The report stated that while deer sign was present in the preserve, the PRC did not encounter any deer during a three mile assessment. Greenbrier, which becomes scarce in areas where excessive deer browse is excessive, was found abundant in thickets in many areas. The report goes on to state that many young saplings were present indicating that the forest is regenerating. The biggest threat to new growth appears to be the dense canopy of dense shade and not excessive deer browse. The report concluded that several smaller enclosures would be more feasible to manage. However, NJCF stated that managing many small enclosures is too expensive and that the design of the fence can be modified. The fence was placed tight to the ground in many places which prompted the NJ DEP to state that amphibians and snakes may have difficulties getting through to critical food supplies or breeding grounds with the current design of the fence. To accommodate, sections of the fence have been raised 7 inches high and 12 inches wide every 15-20 feet depending on the terrain. NJCF has stated that the purpose of the fence is to minimize deer presence but acknowledges that it is impossible to keep deer completely out. The PRC stated that studies have proved that hungry deer have been shown to squeeze in areas 7 inches high and 12 inches wide.
West Milford fire fighters have also expressed safety concerns regarding fighting a forest fire in an enclosed area. NJCF has offered to add more gates to the preserve for this purpose.
PRC has also stated that under NJ law, almost all land modifications where there are stream corridors are governed by N.J.A.C. 7:13 aka the flood hazard control act. Fences are only exempted from this act if they are located outside of a floodway and if the fence is not designed in a way that will catch debris in a flood. The Apshawa deer fence is not exempt from this act and was modified at Apshawa Brook stream crossings. Heavy chains have been placed at the bottom of the fence so that debris will not be caught.
There are almost 7 miles of blazed trails to be explored in the Apshawa Preserve. These trails were created with the assistance of volunteers and funding was provided through the National Recreation Trails Program. All trails are accessible from the white trail whose trailhead may be found in the Apshawa Preserve parking lot. Be sure to stay on the marked trails as there are unmarked trails throughout the preserve. There are signs posted letting you know if you are going to stray from the marked trail.
While it is possible to hike (if you start early in the day) the entire preserve in one trip, I find it best to explore the Apshawa Preserve over two separate trips. The best introduction to the Apshawa Preserve is to hike the northern section of the Apshawa Preserve to the scenic Butler Reservoir. Start by taking part of the 2 mile white trail from the parking lot.
The white trail heads northwest and goes through a swamp and traverses to a ridge top providing excellent views of the Butler Reservoir.
After stopping here for a look at the surrounding highlands, follow the white trail down to shore of Butler Reservoir and look to the left for the start of the 1.25 mile red trail.
The red trail traverses along the western shore of Butler Reservoir and crosses over tributaries of the Apshawa Brook located to the northwest of Butler Reservoir. Once the trail passes over the tributaries, the trail heads east to once again meet with the white trail which traverses the northern section of the Butler Reservoir. Continuing to head east, the white trail meets the .5 of a mile yellow trail which encircles an 8 acre pond.
However, the last time I visited the yellow trail in May 2011, I found most of the yellow trail was under water. I spoke to a NJCF representative regarding the condition of the yellow trail and was told that a possible reroute may be possible for the future. Heading west, the yellow trail connects to the white trail and goes southwest and then east to the parking lot.
The second hike explores the southern portion of the preserve via the 3 mile green trail.
The green trail is the longest trail created in the Apshawa Preserve. From the white trail, the green trail heads south and passes a historic mixing pond and interesting ruins from the time when this property was watershed land for the Borough of Butler.
The trail continues northwest and does a switchback climb. There are scenic views here of adjacent protected Newark watershed land which looks great in any season but looks absolutely spectacular in the fall.
From here, the green trail continues north until it reaches Butler Reservoir and the red trail. Follow the red trail east and north until you connect back to the white trail. Take the white trail east and southwest back to the parking area.
The Apshawa Preserve consists primarily of a oak-sugar maple forest. Before the Chestnut blight, American Chestnut was likely abundant. Saplings of American Chestnut still occur.
Today there are new threats facing the eastern forest. The Emerald Ash Borer threatens all Ash trees. Purple boxes have been hung in the preserve and throughout New Jersey to detect for the presence of this destructive pest from Asia. The mature emerald ash borer does not pose a threat. It is the larva of these borers which eat away at the heartwood. The color purple attracts the emerald ash borer. Once the insect lands on the box they become trapped on the sticky surface. So far as of the summer of 2011, the emerald ash has not been identified in NJ.
Other flora found include:
- Northern Red Oak
- Chestnut Oak
- American Beech
- Sugar Maple
- Red Maple
Fauna includes these guys among others:
Click here for directions and a description of the Apshawa Preserve by the NJ Conservation Foundation.
The Jerry Wyckoff Natural Preserve is a 7.18 green acres woodland located in the Borough of Ringwood NJ. The preserve is located on Fieldstone Drive off of Skyline Drive. It is named after the first chair of the Ringwood Environmental Commission. The Northgate Park housing development and Fieldstone Drive sit to the north of the preserve, Skyline Drive sits to the west and south of the preserve and High Mountain Brook flows to the east. High Mountain Brook is a fresh water trout production stream with a C1 classification which is one of the highest classifications given to a stream in the state of NJ. Its headwaters are formed from the artificially created 4 acre Brushwood Pond which contains Bass, catfish and other aquatic life and flows in a south west direction until it terminates in the 39+ acre artificially created Skyline Lakes.
Part of the purpose of the preserve is to maintain the rural character of Ringwood. The 7.18 acre site was previously threatened with development by the name of Bald Eagle Suites . Bald Eagle Suites would have contained the largest buildings in Ringwood. The development would have consisted of four four story high buildings containing a total of 100 units of assisted living high density housing. The North Jersey District Water Supply Commission which manages the nearby Wanaque Reservoir, opposed the development. NJDWS believed that runoff from the development would contaminate local reservoir feeding streams.
The development would have disturbed nearly 96% of the 7.18 acres by essentially blowing off the top of the mountain and moving 20 thousand cubic yards of soil for the construction of an entrance road and sewage treatment fields. The site would have been stripped of trees and several large retaining walls would have been in place. Thanks to the combined efforts of Skylands Clean and the Ringwood Zoning Board, the development was denied and the 7.18 acres was purchase from the developer by Ringwood for $600,000 on March 16, 2007. Green Acres provided $300,000, Passaic County Open Space provided $250,000 and the municipal OS Trust provided $50,000.The preserve is the first open space initiative led exclusively by Ringwood.
The estimated .27 of a mile orange blazed trail entrance is found off of Fieldstone Drive just north of the entrance to Stop and Shop. The trail was created and blazed by a local boy scout troup. No map is needed for this out and back trail. The total trail is an estimate .54 of a mile. Orange ribbons were found on many trees extending near the end of the trail during my last visit. This may indicate a longer planned trail for the future.
The trail provides many scenic viewpoints of nearby highlands and the Wanaque Reservoir (especially when the leaves are gone from the trees!)
The trail terminates at a glacial erratic.
Flora found along the trail include Christmas Fern, Sweet Fern, White, Chestnut and Red Oak, American Beech and Red Maple among others. I spotted this awesome little Eastern Chipmunk during a warmer month visit:
The Jerry Wyckoff Natural Preserve is located at the entrance to the center of town (Skyline Drive) from Route 287 (Exit 57) off of Fieldstone Drive. Parking is available in the nearby Stop and Shop.
Dave Waks Memorial Park (formerly known as Barbour Pond Park) is located in the township of Wayne, NJ. It was renamed Dave Waks Memorial Park as a tribute to a former mayor of Wayne who passed away in 2007. At 103 acres, it is Wayne’s largest developed park. There’s a playground, 3 lighted softball fields, 1 lighted baseball field, three lighted soccer fields, a model airplane flying area and a half mile paved walking path around the fields. The centerpiece of the park is Barbour Pond which features a 1.96 mile hiking trail which encircles the pond.
Barbour Pond was created by impounding part of the 8.9 mile Preakness (Singnac) Brook via the Barbour Pond dam. The brook is a subsidiary of the Passaic River. It’s watershed is located almost entirely in Wayne. The headwaters, located in the nearby High Mountain Nature Preserve, are considered to be trout production and are classified as C1. C1is one of the highest classifications given to a stream in the state of NJ. Preakness Brook enters Barbour Pond from Valley Road , where it ventures through (along with a tributary stream) a recently protected 17 acre woodland. Preakness Brook from Barbour Pond to its confluence with the Passaic River is non trout production and is considered impaired. Impairments include fecal coliform bacteria and habitat decline which are indicated by an increase in pollution-tolerant macro invertebrate species. Non-point source pollution is thought to be the culprit. In 2005, William Paterson University was granted $408,586 to collect and access water quality data along the length of the stream. The purpose of the study was to reduce fecal coliform, restore macro invertebrate health and protect the C1 headwaters segment.
Ok, back to the trail! Access to the Barbour Pond trail may be obtained off the half mile paved walking path, off of Valley Road near Barbour Pond dam, or near the model airplane area. Entrance areas are marked by a wooden pole.
The trail is mostly level and pleasant. There is a serene crossing over Preakness Brook and many beautiful views of Barbour Pond.
Barbour Pond and the surrounding woodland provide much needed habitat for many animals and especially birds. I saw these guys during my last venture:
I also heard a red tail hawk. The trail contains varied flora. Flora includes:
- Red Maple
- Black Birch & Yellow Birch
- American Beech
- Red Cedar
- Christmas Fern
While exploring around the pond I found some interesting graffiti found on one of the wood post and several trees.
Take US 80 west to exit 55B, for Union Boulevard north, Totowa. Within a short drive turn left on Crews Road. At the stop sign, go straight which connect the driver to Totowa Road. Turn right at the light after passing the Dey Mansion in Preakness Valley Park. Then take the next right for Valley Road. Pass through the intersection with Hamburg Turnpike. Take the first left turn (Barbour Pond Drive) and go .3 of a mile to the end of the road for the entrance of the park.
Long Pond Ironwork’s Monk’s Trail is a 2.5 mile loop trail located near scenic Monksville Reservoir.
The trail follows a white blaze near the abandoned Winston Iron Mine. The mine was in operation for a short time after the Civil War and was inactive by the 1880′s.
There is an interesting side trail (blue on white blaze) which leads to some amazing views of Monksville Reservoir.
One of the unique finds on this hike was Prickly Pear Cactus.
The trail is a great scenic way to view some of the iron mine history of the NJ Highlands while taking in some great views. For directions and a full description of this great hike click here.
Wallish Environment Trail was constructed on the former Wallish Farm property in 2008. The property is roughly 100 acres. The trail features a woodchip path through herbaceous and forested wetlands. Ramapo College of NJ developed the trail and planted 2-21/2 caliper trees as well as fruit bearing shrubs on 3 acres in response to campus development.
The trail features a man-made vernal pond and various educational signage indicating the value of the surrounding wetlands. Belcher Creek flows to the west of the preserve and Morsetown Brook flows to the south.
It’s a great place to learn about herbaceous and forested wetlands firsthand thanks to Ramapo College and White Environmental Services who supervised and obtained permits for the project. Just be sure to watch out for ticks.
Plus like any preserve, you never know what you will encounter in your explorations. I met this friend below.
The Wallisch Nature Preserve is accessible off of Lincoln Avenue in West Milford, NJ. Parking is available on Eisenhower Drive.
West Milford’s Wetlands Environmental Center is an 8 acre wetland preserve complete with a boardwalk and educational signage.
The West Milford Environmental Commission received an easement from a Dr. Bernard Simon in 1991 donating the 8 acre wetland to the township. A federal Urban Forestry grant was awarded to the town in 1993 to create the wetlands environmental center thanks to the efforts of Mary Haase (who was a member of the West Milford Planning Board and Environmental Commission) and Roger Daugherty (who was the Chairman of the Environmental Commission). A tributary of the Macopin River flows through the wetlands found in the environmental center.
West Milford’s environmental boardwalk features both upland and wetlands within its eight acres. The environment center seasonally features plants such as broad-leaf and narrow-leaf cattail, wool grass, tussock sedge, bulrush, sensitive fern, marsh fern, spike rush and duckweed.
Upon entering the boardwalk from Maple Road, a kiosk has been placed that is chock full of information regarding freshwater wetlands.
It is a great place to learn firsthand the functions and plants of forested wetlands.
To get here click here for directions to Maple Road Elementary School where ample parking is available during the weekend when the school is closed. The entrance to the environmental center is across the street from the parking lot.