BLACK RIVER W.M.A.
Morris County, NJ
3,071 acres


Directions:

Black River WMA has two entrances with parking lots on Route 513, between Ironia (Randolph) and Chester. (This should not be confused with the Morris County's Black River Park south of Chester, which does not allow bikes.)

For the rail trail: take Route 206 to County Road 513 to Main Street left turn (west) onto Oakdale Road; drive 0.2 of a mile and turn right onto Pleasant Hill Road; the beginning of the trail is on the left after the driveway of the Hermits of Bethlehem.  An orange marker is located across the trail to the right.

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


History:

1868  --  the ten mile long Chester Branch of the Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad built from just west of Dover to Wharton to Chester.  The rail trail here is 4.5 miles of this once 10 mile line (runs between Ironia Road and the site of the old Chester Depot, now Simmonds Precision on Oakdale Road).

The line served the local iron mining industry: the iron ore mines of the area, the Chester Furnace (just east of Route 206 between Furnace Road and the Black River), and the furnaces and foundries in Wharton and Dover.

1873  -- a competing railroad built to serve the area from Long Valley. 

1933  -- passenger service begins.

1934  -- the track was removed from Succasunna to Chester.

1965  --  the state acquires the section from Ironia to Chester (now part of the Black River WMA).

(Source: Della Penna, 1999:chapter 3)


Trails:

During the hunting season the WMA attracts people with orange hats and guns, but at other times the area is used by hikers and cyclists. There is no hunting on Sunday. A new section of Patriots' Path has opened that runs the length of the WMA, mostly on an old railroad bed. A power line with a dirt road also runs through the area, and other trails connect the railroad bed and the power line.

From the Skylands Visitor - "Mountain biking is allowed on existing trails and secondary roads on Wildlife Management Areas from March 1 to April 15 and June 1 to September 15, as well as all Sundays throughout the year. Bikes are permitted to use major designated trails, like the Highlands Trail that passes through Berkshire Valley and Wildcat Ridge WMAs, year round. They are prohibited, however, from riding over any dam, wildlife food area, cultivated fields, lawns, gardens and fire break plow-lines. Bikers are also prohibited from establishing any new trails through the destruction of existing vegetation."


PLANT LIST:
Karl Anderson, leader; 5/31/97


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) 5/31/97
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) 5/31/97
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Ostrya virginiana (eastern hop hornbeam)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus grandidentata (big-toothed aspen)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry) 5/31/97
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) in here somewhere
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix babylonica (weeping willow)
Salix sp. (willow) leaf silky beneath
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)

Shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Aronia arbutifolia (red chokeberry)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Cornus alternifolia (alternate-leaved dogwood)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood)
Corylus americana (American hazelnut)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) 5/31/97
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Ligustrum sp. (privet) 5/31/97
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle) 5/31/97
Lonicera tatarica (Tatarian honeysuckle) 5/31/97
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry) 5/13/97
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower) 5/31/97
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Ribes sp. (currant)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 5/31/97
Spiraea alba v. latifolia (meadowsweet)
Spiraea thunbergii (garden spiraea)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) 5/31/97
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry) 5/31/97
Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry) 5/31/97
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum) 5/31/97near
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum) 5/31/97

Vines:
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Clematis virginiana (virgin's bower)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yamroot)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Rubus flagellaris? (dewberry) 5/31/97
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Actaea alba (white baneberry) 5/31/97
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium tricoccum (ramps)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone) 5/31/97
Angelica atropurpurea? (purple-stem angelica)?
Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla) 5/31/97 gone to seed
Arenaria lateriflora (blunt-leaved sandwort) 5/31/97
Arisaema triphyllum (jack in the pulpit)
Asclepias exaltata (poke milkweed)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)
Aster schreberi (Schreber's aster)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 5/31/97
Cardamine rhomboidea (springcress) 5/31/97
Cardamine pratensis (cuckoo flower)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 5/31/97
Chrysosplenium americanum (golden saxifrage) 5/31/97
Cicuta maculata (water hemlock)
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) 5/31/97
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm)
Comandra umbellata (bastard toadflax) 5/31/97
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper) 5/31/97
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Drosera rotundifolia (round-leaved sundew)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 5/31/97
Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia fleabane) 5/31/97
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry) 5/31/97
Galium aparine (cleavers) 5/31/97
Galium circaezens (wild licorice)
Galium triflorum (sweet-scented bedstraw)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 5/31/97
Geum canadense (white avens)
Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake plantain)
Helianthus sp. (woodland sunflower species)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny daylily)
Hieracium caespitosum (king devil hawkweed) 5/31/97
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag iris) 5/31/97
Krigia biflora (two-flowered Cynthia) 5/31/97
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lepidium campestre (field cress) 5/31/97
Lycopus virginicus (Virginia bugleweed)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) 5/31/97
Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumber root)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Myriophyllum pinnatum (pinnate water milfoil)
Nuphar variegata (spatterdock) 5/31/97
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Orchis spectabilis (showy orchis) 5/31/97
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)
Panax trifolius (dwarf ginseng)
Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip)
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 5/31/97
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygala paucifolia (fringed polygala) 5/31/97
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Polygonum sp. (knotweed)
Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed)
Potamogeton crispus (curly pondweed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 5/31/97
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Prenanthes sp. (white lettuce)
Pyrola elliptica (shinleaf)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaf buttercup) 5/31/97
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 5/31/97
Ranunculus recurvatus (hooked buttercup)
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel) 5/31/97
Rumex crispus (curled dock) 5/31/97
Sanguisorba canadensis (Canada burnet)
Sanicula sp. (sanicle)
Senecio aureus (golden alexanders)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 5/31/97
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Trientalis borealis (starflower) 5/31/97
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Trifolium repens (white clover) 5/31/97
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Uvularia sp. (bellwort)
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore) 5/31/97
Veronica officinalis (common cinquefoil)
Viola conspersa (dog violet) 5/31/97
Viola cucullata (marsh blue violet) 5/31/97
Viola macloskeyi (wild white violet) 5/31/97
Viola palmata (palmate violet) 5/31/97
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet)
Viola rotundifolia (round-leaved yellow violet)
Viola sp. (white violet) 5/31/97
Zizia aurea golden alexanders 5/31/97

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex crinita (sedge)
Carex gracillima? (graceful sedge)
Carex grisea? (sedge)
Carex laxiflora (woodland sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex polymorpha (sedge)
Carex stellata type sedge
Carex stipata (sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Dulichium arundinacea (three way sedge)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Luzula multiflora (woodrush)
Scirpus atrovirens (darkgreen bulrush)
Scirpus validus (softstem bulrush)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Brachyelytrum erectum (long-awned wood grass)
Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Festuca pratensis (meadow fescue grass)
Festuca subverticillata (nodding fescue grass)
Glyceria sp. (floating mannagrass)
Glyceria striata (fowl meadow manna-grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)
Athyrium filix-femina f. rubella (red-stiped lady fern)
Athyrium thelypteroides (silvery gladefern)
Botrychium dissectum (cut-leaved grape fern)
Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnake grape fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris carthusiana (toothed woodfern)
Dryopteris cristata (crested woodfern)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Lycopodium clavatum (staghorn clubmoss)
Lycopodium digitatum (southern ground cedar clubmoss)
Lycopodium lucidulum (shining clubmoss)
Lycopodium obscurum (tree clubmoss)
Lycopodium tristachyum (ground cedar clubmoss)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)


source: Morris County Planning Board. 2000. A Natural Resource Management Guide for the County of Morris.

Black River section species:
cuckoo flower
dry-spiked sedge
wild lupine

Chester railroad section species:
variable sedge

Ironia section species:
rhodora
Fraser's St. Johnswort
swamp pink
low rough aster
New England blackberry
three-leaved false Solomon's seal
variable sedge