Buck Mountain State Park
Kinnelon, Morris County, NJ
Article in the paper The Record, January 14, 1997, by Timothy D. May. (Thanks to Eleanor Standaert for the article.)
A thousand acre swath of Highlands forest and wetlands -- once slated for golf course and high-density housing development -- will be permanently preserved under the state's Green Acres program.
The land, known as the Buck Mountain tract, is south of Kinnelon's gated Smoke Rise community. Most of the parcel, which is about 1,200 acres, was sold to the state Thursday by owner Michael Felkay for more than $4.4 million.
Threatened or endangered species in the Buck Mountain area include bald eagle, barred owl, red-shouldered hawk, northern goshawk, wood and bog turtle, bobcat, rattlesnake, Indiana bat, osprey, and lateral bluet.
The 1,203 foot high peak is the highest in eastern Morris County and one of the Highlands' few documented nesting sites of the bald eagle.
Forest holds hemlock, oak, hickory, maple, pitch pine, scrub oak, extensive hardwood and conifer swamps, dwarf mistletoe, mountain holly, and meadow grass.
The Buck Mountain acquisition links open spaces including Farny State Park in Rockaway Township and Rock Pear Mountain and Pyramid Mountain in Kinnelon.
The State of New Jersey acquired 879 full fee acres and accepted a conservation easement on 98 acres in the Borough of Kinnelon, Morris County. The State paid Buck Mountains landowner Miklos Felkay $3,972,674, and a local organization, the Upper Rockaway Watershed Association, received a Green Acres grant of $429,793, which it paid to Felkay then deeded over its portion to the State. The USDA Forest Service supplied the State with a Forest Legacy grant of $200,000 to complete the purchase on January 9, 1997. This purchase, hailed by local residents, State officials, and conservationists, completes a greenway 30 miles from Manhattan. (http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:r_bg-Tt2TwEJ:www.fs.fed.us/na/durham/legacy/text/legacy_places/nj/pdfs/nj_01_1997p.pdf+%22Buck+Mountain%22+%22New+Jersey%22&hl=en)
The owner of the land once dreamed of cutting a championship golf course into the land and surrounding it with homes. Green Acres Assistant Director Dennis Davidson made Mr. Felkay aware of the value of the natural resource and he agreed to a bargain sale."
Buck Mountain contains habitat for five of New Jersey’s threatened and endangered species (barred owl, red-shouldered hawk, northern goshawk, wood turtle, and bobcat). And The mountain peak called Eagle’s Nest is the last documented nesting site of the bald eagle in the Highlands.
Buck Mountain links a series of protected areas, including Farney State Park in Rockaway Township, Rock Pear Mountain and Pyramid Mountain in Kinnelon.
The Farny Highlands Trails Network runs southwest from Route 23 to a left turn heading east to Charlottesburg Reservoir; it then turns/bears right heading south to go along the western side of Splitrock Reservoir; it extends farther south.
To be build is a trail that runs along the eastern side of Splitrock Reservoir. From the southeastern edge of the Reservoir a trail will head southeast to Pyramid Mountain (and passing through Buck Mountain State Park).
You MUST obtain a permit from the Newark Watershed Conservation and
Development Corporation (NWCDC) located at
223 Echo Lake Road, West Milford, NJ; Monday - Friday 8 am - 4 pm and Saturday 8 am - 1 pm (seasonal.) Or write NWCDC at POB 319,
Newfoundland, NJ 07435. Phone: 201-697-2850.
There are three access points for the Farny Highlands Trail Network.
* Take the Hibernia/Rockaway exit (#37) from Interstate 80 West. Turn north on Route 513. Proceed 2.75 miles to Sunnyside Road. Turn right and look for the white trail blazes on the left about 150 feet from Route 513.
* Exit off I-80 as described above and proceed north on Route 513 for 10.1 miles. Park in a gravel turn-out on the left. Look for the white blazed trail 100 feet south of the parking area. (Parking permit required from NWCDC.)
* Travel 11.5 miles north from I-80 on Route 513. Just before crossing the railroad tracks, turn left. Park in the ball field parking lot on
the left. Walk a quarter mile to the road's end. The trail begins about 100 feet up the dirt road extension. (Parking permit from NWCDC
From Garden State Environews http://www.gsenet.org/library/19rec/farnytrl.php