BERKSHIRE VALLEY WMA (including the rail-trail)
Morris County, NJ


Directions:

Take I-80 west to the exist for Route 15 west; take Berskshire Valley Road for 2.3 miles; turn right onto Gordon Road; drive 0.3 of a mile just past the intersection of Country Road and find the small access road that leads to the small parking lot. 

There has been a great deal of damage here done by the off-road vehicles. It looks like a major happy area for the vehicle drivers. Sandy all over the area.

(For maps see: www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/wmaland.htm)


History:

1864  --  the Ogden Mine Railroad chartered by a group mainly from eastern Pennsylvania. 

1866  -- the 15.2 mile long Ogden Mine Railroad completed running from Nolan's Point on the eastern shore of Lake Hopatcong north to the mines at Edison, NJ. 

1882  -- the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) finishes the Lake Hopatcong Railroad (running from Nolan's Point to the main line running east to west just below today's I-80 highway. 

1887  -- the CNJ acquires the Ogden Mine Railroad. 

Hotel Breslin was established at Nolan's Point.  (See the write-up for Lake Hopatcong State Park.)

1935  --  CNJ abandons the upper end of the Ogden Mine Railroad.

1941  -- CNJ abandons the lower half of the railroad.

(Source: Della Penna, 1999:chapter 1) 

Morris Land Conservancy has helped purchase 23 forested acres from Robert and Kathleen Bird, in a bargain sale. Owned by the Bird family for a century, this acquisition and another soon to be announced will bring the Berkshire WMA to more than 2,000 acres. (Source: The Highlands Coalition’s quarterly newsletter "High Grounds" Winter 2003/2004 published by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC); http://www.highlandscoalition.org/highground.htm)


Trails:

Stopped along Bershire Valley Road by Minnisink Road. Walked east, turned southwest, then southeast and came to a red maple swamp by a fast-running creek (but it had just rained the night before).


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier sp. (shadbush)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) 5/09/97
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)
Prunus pensylvanica (pin cherry) 5/09/97
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Salix sp. (willow)

Shrubs:
Alnus sp. (alder)
Aronia sp. (chokeberry)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculatum (spotted wintergreen)
Cornus amomum (silky dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhus sp. (sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) 5/09/97
Viburnum acerifolium (maple leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium blackhaw viburnum

Vines:
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/09/97
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 5/09/97
Centaurea sp. (knapweed)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry) 5/09/97
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Nuphar sp. (water lily)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed) 5/09/97
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil) 5/09/97
Pyrola rotundifolia (round-leaf pyrola)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot) 5/09/97
Rumex obtusifolius (road-leaved dock)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Viola sp. (violet) 5/09/97

Sedges:
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) 5/09/97
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)

Others:
Cladonia cristatella (British soldiers)