After doing some research online, I decided to do the Hackensack Riverkeeper Meadowlands Discovery Eco-Cruise. It was worth it. The eco-cruise takes place on a pontoon boat and visits wetlands near Kingsland Creek, Berry’s Creek and a trip to what is known as the jewel of the Meadowlands, the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area which is home to birds and wildlife like Muskrats (the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area map below was taken from the NJ DEP website).
Most people see the Meadowlands as they pass by in a car and a train and think of it as a vast wasteland if they think about it at all. The eco-cruise takes on a different perspective and makes you realize that the Meadowlands is a true urban treasure filled with life.
Our captain was Bill Sheehan, the Riverkeeper himself. He was great, pointing out wildlife and the happenings of the Meadowlands including enhancement efforts such as replacing Common Reed with native species such as Smooth Cordgrass. The pictures below are a good example of the enhancement effort and shows an island which is virtually free of Common Reed.
The eco-cruise also made it past Laurel Hill (aka Snake Hill) which is said to have been infested with black water snakes during colonial times. Prudential Financial was inspired by the formation of the rocks which was said to be similar to the Rock of Gibraltar and is still used in Prudential advertising to this day.
Kudos to Hackensack Riverkeeper for providing this fun and educational experience of the Hackensack Meadowlands. Be sure to check out http://www.hackensackriverkeeper.org/ for more information.
Feel free to comment below with questions, memories or suggestions!