ASH BROOK RESERVATION
Clark, Scotch Plains and Edison, Union County, NJ 
616.2 acres


Directions:

NJ Turnpike to US 78 (exit 14, the Newark Airport Exit). US 78 to Garden State Parkway, exit 135. Turn right, heading northwest on Central Avenue. Very soon turn left onto Raritan Road and take it to a right turn onto Martine Avenue. Turn left onto Route 611 Raritan Road. Half a mile down is the Union County Technical Institute and Vocational Center on the left. Enter here and go to the right and park by the police academy in the back.


Geology:

Rahway River goes through it on the property's southeastern side. 


Facilities:

The reservation includes a cross country ski course, pitch and putt-courses and 18-holegolf course.

Recently, plans have been drawn for the construction of Ash Brook Park possibly to be located at the section of the Ash Brook Reservation near Martine Avenue and Old Raritan Road. The park could feature two soccer fields, two softball/ baseball fields, proposed lighting for the fields, a .75-mile walking path, a concession stand and parking for 110 cars.  www.unioncountynj.org/svcsgov/parksrec/parkmap.htm


Trails:

There seems to be no real trails here. The time Patrick Cooney was there he followed a series of orange ribbons tied to small bushes supplemented by pink neon paint. The area was swampy with a lot of sweetgum trees.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

01/11/2005.  Wanted to check out the area again to see if anything had changed.  It did not look as if it had.  Cefe and I searched for a trail into the area but did not find one.  We checked behind the vocational school and on both sides of Martine Avenue with no luck.  Did not stay long.  Added several species to the plant list.  I guess the only way in is by bushwhacking.  I thought one way in would be to follow one of the stream ditches at the back of the vocational school.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 


Problems:

Plans have been drawn up to construct an Ash Brook Park (possibly to be located at the section of the Ash Brook Reservation near MartineAvenue and Old Raritan Road). The plans show  two soccer fields, two softball/baseball fields, a .75-mile walking path, a concession stand and parking for 110 cars.

The Recreation Commission saw this as pay back from the county for a tract of land the township gave Union County several decades ago. (In 1958 the Martine Avenue extension was being completed and the town of Scotch Plains sold for one dollar 54 acres to the county so that they could complete it.) 

(David B. Corwin; http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:nevsYDjVy-YJ:
www.goleader.com/99ot/44.pdf+%22Ash+Brook+Reservation%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8)

Responding to the plan, Bob Miska of the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission said Ash Brook Reservation was "too precious" to the environment for such development.
(Source: http://briantpark.home.att.net/trust_fund.htm)

Residents of the Winding Brook neighborhood sued Edison Township to stop the construction of youth football fields in the woodlands next to their homes, woodlands that are close to Ash Brook Reservation, a swampy area identified as home to the threatened wood turtle species.
Laurance Torok, an environmental specialist, said that development in the area has made life for the turtles very rough. But wood turtle specialist Blaine Rothauser of Thonet Associates of South Orange said that the football field construction would destroy the upstream wet lands that the wood turtles need.  He added that the turtles like the mix of vegetation along the brook.

(Source: Garden State Environews (www.gsenet.org); Joe Tyrrell, Star-Ledger Staff, October 30, 2002.)


Trails:

There seems to be no real trails here. The time I was there I followed a series of orange ribbons tied to small bushes supplemented by pink neon paint. The area was swampy with a lot of sweetgum trees.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


PLANT LIST
Dr. Joan Ehrenfeld, Rutgers University


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Fraxinus nigra (black ash)
Fraxinus pensylvanica (red ash)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus malus (apple)
Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Lindera benzoin (spice bush)
Ribes sativum (red garden currant)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa palustris (swamp rose)
Rubus alleghaniensis (common blackberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)

Vines:
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Cuscuta gronovii (common dodder)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yamroot)
Humulus japonicus (Japanese hops)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Rubus hispidus (dewberry)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
Alisma subcordatum (southern water plantain)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Arisaema atrorubens?
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster lanceolatus (panicled aster)
Bidens connata (swamp beggar ticks)
Bidens coronata (northern beggar ticks)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Chelone glabra (white turtlehead)
Cicuta maculata (common water hemlock)
Galium trifidum (northern three-lobed bedstraw)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Habenaria dilatata (tall white bog orchid)
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Iris versicolor (blue flag)
Laportea canadensis (wood nettle)
Lycopus uniflorus (northern water horehound)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum hydropiperoides (false water pepper)
Polygonum persicaria (lady's thumb knotweed)
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Ranunculus sp. (buttercup)
Sagittaria latifolia (broad-leaved arrowhead)
Scutellaria lateriflora (maddog skullcap)
Sium suave (water parsnip)
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod)
Solidago uliginosa (elm-leaved goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue)
Uvularia perfoliata (perfoliate-leaved bellwort)
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore)
Viola sp. (violet)

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex intumescens (sedge)
Carex lupulina (sedge)
Carex stipata (sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex tribuloides (sedge)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)

Grasses:
Cinna arundinacea (wood reedgrass)
Glyceria striata (meadow mannagrass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Dryopteris spinulosa (spinulose woodfern)
Lycopodium lucidulum (shining clubmoss)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)