Over Thanksgiving break I was visiting family near Summit New Jersey. After braving the Black Friday mobs for a few hours I took the opportunity to visit Watchung Reservation, a two-thousand acre park managed by Union County. Part of the park is crossed by Interstate 78.
The park has a mixture of hiking trails, horse riding trails, playgrounds, and other resources. In the late afternoon I hiked around Lake Surprise, a man-made narrow lake, about a mile long. Here are pictures of the lake, including the dam:
Follow this link
for a tourist map of the park and other sources of information. I also made a map on Flickr
of the lake site I visited.
From a natural resources management point of view it was fascinating to see some of the issues in this park. It gets very heavy use as it is completely surrounded by residential and commercial areas. I saw quite a few people enjoying the lake, even though it was a cold, cloudy day. There are a lot of wildlife resources. I saw swans, ducks, and canada geese in the lake. I know the area is full of deer, too.
I noticed that there are three wildlife crossings on Interstate 78 leading into the park. One of the sources I found mentioned the completion of 78 had been held up for a long time by the park until the State of New Jersey built these bridges. Apparently they haven’t been successful. It does look odd seeing a forested bridge across the highway.
I wondered, too how the park could be maintained in these difficult economic times. New Jersey is having more financial difficulties than other states. How can the county government find the resources to maintain the park. I hope they find a way to keep this important resource going.
Yesterday the Outdoor Recreation class (WILDL207), taught by Dr. Jim Hamilton, visited the site of the new YMCA Camp Bivens near St. Thomas. The students walked around the site discussing ideas to develop the site as a youth camp for YMCA members. The emphasis was on sustainable, low-cost measures. Part of the camp’s mission will be to provide environmental education opportunities.
Here is a slide show of pictures from the visit:
This is aGoogle Map of the visit with sites visited marked. If you click at the bottom of the map it will go to a larger version. Some of the icons have picture links. Just click on them.
Lewiston Maine’s Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary is located on the highest elevation of the city. The over 300 acre site contains many types of habitat, from wetlands to hemlock forests, for birds and other wildlife. Thorncrag has long been a popular site for outdoor recreation. Boy Scouts and other youth groups have found it to be a convenient opportunity to get to the outdoors without leaving town. More years ago than I like to think about, this is where I had my first experiences hiking and learning outdoor cooking and survival skills. The sanctuary is owned and managed by the Stanton Bird Club, a private organization. A new visitor center is currently under construction on the Montello St. side. It’s great to see that in spite of development in this part of Lewiston, a small piece of wilderness will survive.