Beginning in 1996, the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) gradually acquired 53 acres of property in Harding Township. Known as the Conservation Management Area (CMA) the site contains critical wetlands, vernal pools, forested areas, and the Silver Brook (a feeder stream to the Passaic River), and is home to several state and federally designated threatened species, including wood turtle and barred owl.
The long term goal for the site is to restore the property to a diverse ecologically functioning state. Ecological restoration projects undertaken to date have included many acres of invasive plant species control, enhancement of vernal pool habitat, stream bank stabilization and replenishment, and improvement of habitat and access lost as a result of degradation by invasive species and by deer browsing.
There is a trail system (please call 973-538-3500 for a map) for use by all, especially community and schools who use it as an environmental teaching tool, and for passive recreation and nature study.
We invite you (and your dog!) to visit the CMA on Tiger Lily Lane (directions) between dawn and dusk. If you would like to plan a group hike and guided tour, please contact Hazel England, GSWA’s Director of Outreach and Education and Land Steward, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you plan to hike at the CMA, be aware that there is hunting on the property (hunting info). From September 11 to November 22, the trails are open but there may be bow hunting, so proceed with cauthion. November 22 to February 22 is shotgun season, and the trails are closed Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.
The CMA is used by many groups, including Geocachers! Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers. There are now six geocaches in the CMA. Here are links to the pages on the geocaching website where there are details for each cache:
Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta): threatened species
Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata): threatened species
Informational brochure (new brochure coming soon)
Trail Map (new map coming soon)
Partial list of plant and animal species seen in the CMA (pdf)
Natural Events happening at the CMA (pdfs):