Hunterdon County, NJ | Department of Planning and Land Use | Distance Learning and Information

RAMBLINGS OF A PARK NATURALIST
With Our Hunterdon County Park Naturalist Staff

Ramblings with our Hunterdon County Park Naturalist StaffIn March of 2020 when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit New Jersey and County Parks were closed by executive order of the Governor, our staff had to rethink quickly how we provide information and services to the public. We developed many new fun things for our residents and others interested in Hunterdon County Parks. Our first outreach was to assist schools and home-schoolers with environmental science programs and thus we developed our DISTANCE LEARNING PORTAL where staff created workshops, activities and recorded videos of interest for children and adults alike. 

We also started acting on a project we've been long wanted to do and that was to create a virtual video tour of our parkland, called RAMBLINGS OF A PARK NATURALIST. We had much fun with this, so please join us by taking a virtual video tour...

  • HUNTERDON COUNTY ARBORETUM with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    The Arboretum serves as the main headquarters for the Parks & Recreation Division and offers about 1.5 miles of easy trails through its 90 acres.  This walk occurred on the morning of May 5, 2020.

  • CHARLESTOWN RESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Charlestown Reserve is situated within the Highlands of Bethlehem Township.  Its trail system will take a hiker through a few different habitats from an abandon Christmas tree field to a 100-year-old forest stand.

  • CLOVER HILL PARK with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Clover Hill Park is located in Readington Township, not far from Three Bridges. It offers a nice diversion on an easy walkway for County Residents. This walk occurred on July 10, 2020.

  • COLD BROOK RESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Cold Brook Reserve is the County’s one major holding in Tewksbury Township, located on 517 just north of Oldwick.  Main of the trails are the perimeters of the fields, but the property still holds some unique pleasures for visitors to enjoy.

  • COLUMBIA TRAIL with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Columbia Trail spans from High Bridge Boro to Vernoy Road in Lebanon Township.  With a length approaching 7.5 miles many features and encounters can be had along the trail.  Here are some of the of those opportunities.

  • CRYSTAL SPRINGS PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Crystal Springs Preserve protects the headwaters of the Spruce Run and sits up along the county line with Morris.  Actually, one has to drive into Morris County on Califon Road to drive into the park.  Several ponds await fishermen and field trails await the other patrons.

  • CUSHETUNK MOUNTAIN PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Cushetunk is located on the north side of Round Valley Reservoir near Lebanon Boro on Old Mountain Road in Clinton Township.  This walked occurred on May 1, 2020 after a morning rainstorm and was active with birds calling from the spring migration.

  • DEER PATH PARK with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Deer Path Park is located on West Woodschurch Road just off Route 31 in Readington Township.  It is our active use park with pavilions, running course, and athletic fields.  Join us as we show off the features of this park.

  • ECHO HILL PARK with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Echo Hill Park is known by many.  It is a popular fishing hole, location for many programs, and a camping area for organized groups.  But if you are not familiar with it, here are many of its features.

  • HOFFMAN PARK with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Hoffman Park is one of the centerpieces of the County’s holdings.  It offers something for everyone.  A scenic panoramic, miles of trails to hike, plenty of location to try and view the local wildlife and flora.  It is even a winter destination for some.

  • JUGTOWN PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Jugtown Preserve is located on Mine Road within Bethlehem Township and on the Musconetcong Ridge.  This walk occurred on May 13, 2020 around 10am.  We would consider this hike a easy-moderate hike do to the slope and some minor rocks in the path.

  • LANDSDOWN TRAIL with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Landsdown Trail is the small sibling to the Columbia Trail ranging for the Town of Clinton to Lower Landsdown Road in Franklin Township.  Surrounded by farmland and other preserved ground it offers a chance to enjoy nature in the heart of Hunterdon County.

  • LAPORT RESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Laport Reserve was donated to the county by the Laport Family.   While one of the County’s smaller holdings, it offers an opportunity to view flora and fauna on the Sourland Ridge in East Amwell Township

  • MIQUIN WOODS with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Miquin Woods is located up in Lebanon Township and is a woodland habitat that straddles the Spruce Run.  The walk occurred on the morning of June 26, 2020.

  • MUSCONETCONG GORGE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    This hike occurred on the morning of May 19, 2020.  Musconetcong Gorge is in Bethlehem Township.  The trail system winds through the forest of this mountain ridge.  Trails are moderate to difficult and appropriate footwear is needed.

  • MUSCONETCONG MOUNTAIN PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Musconetcong Mountain Preserve is on the southern side of the ridge and offers a relatively easy hike through the woodlands of the preserve.  Parking is off of Ellis Road in Holland Township and the trail system does connect with the trails of Riegel Ridge.

  • POINT MOUNTAIN with Laura Kroon Bush, Senior County Park Naturalist
    Point Mountain is in Lebanon Township, and this hike began at the Point Mountain Road parking lot.  It occurred on May 27, 2020.  From the parking lot, we took the blue trail up to the orange trail to the overlook, hiked along the ridge trail, skirted the edge of two fields, and walked along the river on the way back.  This is a challenging but rewarding hike. 

  • ROUND MOUNTAIN SECTION with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Round Mountain is part of our Deer Path Park in Readington Township.  But, this section offer patrons a moderate hiking opportunities through hardwoods atop the mountain.  Along with this opportunity addition routes can be created since the trail system is linked with the Readington trail systems of the Bowman-Stickney and Dobozynski Farms.

  • SCHICK RESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Schick Reserve is out in Alexandria Township and one can park either on 631 by the fire house or at the corner of Schick Road and Hickory Corner Road.  While the trail system was established by a horse riding association, hikers may use the trails as well to explore the rolling landscape of the park.

  • SOURLANDS MOUNTAIN PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Sourlands Mountain Preserve is located in East Amwell Township on Rileyville Road (aka: CR-607).  It sits atop the Sourlands Ridge and is a deciduous forest with rock fields and wet areas scattered about.  This walk occurred in the middle of the day on April 20, 2020 before the heart of spring migration.

  • SOUTH BRANCH - CENTRAL AREAS with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    These sites are mostly riparian forest located within Raritan, Clinton and Franklin Townships.  All these locations offer easy trail access and hikes close to the Route 31 corridor.  Keep in mind that some areas may be muddy soon after a rainfall.  These walks occurred on the morning of June 10, 2020. 

  • SOUTH BRANCH - NORTH AREAS with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    These sites represent are the northern access points to the river from High Bridge down to Franklin Township.  All these locations offer easy  access and/or hikes within the center of the county.  Please keep in mind that some areas will be muddy after a rainfall.  These walks occurred on the afternoon of June 17, 2020. 

  • SOUTH BRANCH - SOUTH AREAS with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    These properties are along the southern leg of the South Branch of the Raritan River as it flows through Hunterdon.  The walk occurred on the morning of June 2, 2020.

  • TEETERTOWN PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Tettertown Preserve is found on Pleasant Grove Road in Lebanon Township.  It offers many opportunities to visitors from camping to hiking to fishing.  View these videos to sample some of the offerings that Teetertown can off the citizens of the County.

  • TOWER HILL PARK with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Tower Hill Park is out in Bethlehem Township on Mountain View Road.  It offers perimeter walks around old farm fields as successional forces try to reclaim them. Sightings can be very rewarding since a variety of edge habitat can offer different opportunities.

  • UNION FURNACE PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Union Furnace Preserve is adjacent to the Spruce Run on Van Syckles Road in Union Township.  Its trail is part of the Highlands Trail but offers a good climb for anyone looking for more than an easy hike.

  • UPLANDS RESERVE - BLUE BELLS HIKE with Laura Kroon Bush, Senior County Park Naturalist
    Uplands Reserve is accessed through Bernadette Morales Nature Preserve on Capner Street in Flemington.  The property was once the home of Judge George Large, part of the prosecution with the Lindberg Trial in 1935.  This walk occurred on April 28, 2020 when the Virginia Bluebells were at their peak.
  • WESCOTT PRESERVE with Tom Sheppard, Chief County Park Naturalist
    Wescott is in Delaware Township on Raven Rock Road.  The park is bisected by the Lockatong Creek.  The property as a preserve predates the formation of the County Parks Division by five years.  This walk occurred on April 23, 2020.

 

PHYSICAL ADDRESS: Hunterdon County Arboretum, 1020 Highway 31, Lebanon, NJ 08833       MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2900, Flemington, NJ 08822
PHONE: 908-782-1158       EMAIL: parks@co.hunterdon.nj.us       OFFICE HOURS: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday to Friday

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