Fairway Oaks Park, located off of Paramus Road in Paramus, NJ was a pleasant surprise the day I discovered it. I explored it on bike during a trip to nearby Saddle River Park. Fairway Oaks Park, located to the west of the Fairway Oaks housing development contains a playground, Flowering Dogwood Grove and a walking path around a detention basin.
The grasses and wildflowers of a detention basin serve a two fold purpose. They help to soak up urban runoff and provide a home for birds and small mammals such as groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits. Urban runoff is held in the detention basin and released in a regulated fashion into drainage systems. The grass and wildflowers of a detention basin are cut annually to help ensure next year’s growth. While exploring the path around the detention basin I saw quite a few groundhogs, rabbits and many birds of different species.
Bergen County’s Saddle River County Park is a wonderful 577 acre linear greenway which parallels the Saddle River. There are six park areas and a historic site which are all linked by a paved path which may be used by bicycles, pedestrians and roller skating. The total length of the trail is six miles. Mileage signs appear every tenth of a mile on the path to help see how far you have progressed.
Fishing is allowed throughout the park with a license at the trout stocked Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook as well as the three ponds found throughout the park. (The Ho-Ho-Kus Brook is trout stocked from Whites Pond in Waldwick until its confluence with the Saddle River).
The Ho-Ho-Kus Brook flows to the east of this section of the park. The brook has no mow zones to help clean the water and provide habitat for wildlife.
Heading south from the Glen Rock Area will go to the Dunkerhook Area of the park in Paramus and the Fair Lawn Area which features soccer and a section for hangers/gliders.
Saddle River County Park Dunkerhook Area
Dunkerhook (which means “Dark Corner”) was named by the Dutch who first settled in this area in the early 18th Century. This section of the park features a beautiful waterfall at the confluence of the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook with the Saddle River in addition to a picnic area and playground.
Waterfall at confluence of Ho-Ho-Kus Brook and Saddle River
Continuing south past Dunkerhook is the Fair Lawn area of Saddle River County Park. Near the end of the Fair Lawn area the trail passes underneath Route 4 and approaches the Easton Tower.
The Easton Tower was initially built in 1900 to pump water for the estate of Edward Easton who made his fortune as a founder in the recording industry and was president of the Columbia Phonograph Company. Water from the tower was pumped to several fountains. Construction of nearby Route 208 divided the estate and isolated the tower. The tower was acquired by Bergen County in 1956 and restored a few years later. An earlier red mill tower which stood in its place sometimes leads to the present tower being mistakenly called the “Red Mill”.
Otto C. Pehle Area
Once pass the Easton Tower, the trail leads to the Otto C. Pehle Area in Saddle Brook. This section features a pond, model boating (permit required), ball fields, playground and picnic areas.
Pond at Otto C. Pehle Area
Canada Geese approaching the pond at Otto C. Pehle Area
Paramus Wetlands (location of Reid Park Nature Trail)
Welcome to the Paramus Reid Park Interpretive Nature Trail!
The nature trail, created in 2004 by Boswell Engineering, meanders about .20 of a mile through part of an estimated 59 + acres of forested wetlands. The trail stretches from the Reid Park fields and playground area to Soldier Hill Road.
Most of the forest is under threat of development. As of this writing there was a partial clear cut in November 2009 which the borough of Paramus has since halted.
Two footbridges and 3 boardwalks were placed over the more saturated soil on the trail. The boardwalks actually rise with the water level and were installed without heavy machinery.
Forested Wetlands Interpretive Signage
Interpretive signage describing the flora & fauna found in Reid Park has been placed throughout the entire length of the trail. Most of the signs are intentionally placed next to the items they describe.
Lichen and Moss Interpretive Signage
Eastern Skunk Cabbage with interpretive signage
Others are more of a chance encounter. For example, moments after reading the below Red-Tailed Hawk sign on my last visit, there was a screech from a Red-Tailed Hawk soaring above.
Red-Tailed Hawk Interpretive Signage
Red Tail Hawk (a bit on the blurry side)
Flora found along the Reid Park Nature Trail includes:
Reid Park is located at the end of Spencer Place in Paramus, New Jersey and is definitely worth checking out.
Route 17 to the exit for Ridgewood Avenue heading towards River Edge/Oradell (eastbound). Proceed straight and go over the Garden State Parkway (GSP). Continue past the 1st light (Pascack Rd.) and turn left into Terrace Dr (Landmark: Savnio’s Pizza). Bear right at the fork in the road, then turn left on to Spencer Pl. (1st street). The field is at the end of the street.