The forest was purchased with Green Acres funding. Grove Park has dense residential development to the west, the confluence of the artificial paths of the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook and Saddle River to the south, Grove Street to the north and the Saddle River Pathway and Saddle River to the east.
In 1996, the Ridgewood Sports Council proposed to destroy a portion of Grove park for a sports field. Residents from the nearby developments and the Ridgewood Council opposed this proposal as the woodland is environmentally sensitive and the remnant forest was preserved.
The park contains several trails. I found (as listed in the picture above) the best combination is to do a loop trail by combining the .34 of a mile White blazed trail with .28 of the .36 of a mile Yellow blazed trail for a total of .62 of a mile. From the entrance on Grove Street, walk to the white trail which traverses the western portion of the park through a wetland area. I usually spot white-tail deer in this area running away with their white tails upheld high.
Take the white trail until it terminates on a White Oak near the yellow trail to the east of the woods.
Follow the yellow trail north back to the entrance on Grove street. Be careful, during my last visit there were several large blowdowns blocking the trail. I just ducked and went under some and crawled over others.
The interesting thing about blowdowns is eventually all that dirt that surrounds the root structure will eventually come down and form a sort of pillow near the tree. These pillows, if left undisturbed, can last hundreds of years and are a way to determine if a forest is old growth. A forest that lacks these pillows was most likely farmed within the past hundred years or so.
Another way of reading the forested landscape is looking at bizarre tree formations. This American Beech tree in the picture below (found on the White Trail) was tipped by the wind and eventually was able to righten itself.
Grove Park provides much needed habitat for the fauna that inhabit this densely developed area of north jersey. Just like with the deer prints, I found evidence of raccoon prints (which look like little hands) in the mud.
Plus I’ve have seen these other characters during my travels in this urban woodland:
Grove Park features quite a diversity of flora. Flora I’ve found include:
- American Beech
- Black Birch
- Red Maple
- Northern Red Oak (NJ’s State Tree!)
- Tulip Poplar
- White Ash
- White Wood Aster
- Skunk Cabbage
- Virginia Creeper
- False Hellebore
- Dwarf Ginseng
The entrance to this park is available from Grove Street or off of the nearby Saddle River pathway. Parking is available on Berkshire Road which is located to the west of the park and is a quick walk away from the entrance. Click here for directions.
Feel free to e-mail NJUrbanForest at NJUrbanForest@gmail.com with any comments, memories or suggestion! Thank you and have fun exploring!