Delaware & Raritan Canal: Raritan River
Somerset, Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ


Directions:

NJ turnpike south to exit 10 for US 287 north; exit at exit 9 for River Road; turn left onto River Road and turn right and drive over the Landing Lane Bridge; turn right onto Easton Avenue; just before the intersection of Easton Avenue and Arlington Avenue.


This part of the park area takes you down to the Raritan River. You can see the towpath from the river. Most of the dominant plant species are foreign in origin.


History of the Canal:

1834  -- the 66 mile long, 14-lock D&R Canal dug by Irish immigrants.  It was 75 feet wide by 8 feet deep.  It was built by Ashbel Welsh of Lambertville, NJ. The route went from Frenchtown on the Delaware River south to Bull's Island, Prallsville Mill, Stockton, Lambertville, Washington Crossing, to Trenton.  The main canal passed the Port Mercer canal house, went through Griggstown to Blackwells Mills, and ended in New Brunswick.

1836  --  the Belvidere Delaware Railroad Company incorporated. It later ran iron ore from the mines of northwest NJ to the Hewitt & Cooper Iron Mill in Trenton, NJ.

1854  --  the railroad reaches north to Philipsburg. 

1857 --  a 12-mile long line reaches Ringoes (today it is the Black River & Western Railroad).

1878  -- the Pennsylvania Railroad operates the Belvidere Delaware Railroad.

1932  -- canal abandoned by its owner, the Pennsylvania Railroad.

1933  -- part of the D&R canal in the Trenton area partially filled by the WPA project.

1960  -- the Belvidere Delaware abandoned.

1974  --  start of the D&R Canal State Park. 


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) -- lots and lots of it
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) 5/02/00
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm?)

Shrubs:
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Lonicera tatarica (Tatarian honeysuckle) soon to bloom
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Vinca minor (periwinkle) 5/02/00

Vines:
Coronilla varia? (crown vetch?)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) -- lots and lots of it; carpets of it
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/02/00
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 5/02/00
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) 5/02/00
Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry) 5/02/00
Geum sp. (avens)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Ornithogalum nutans? (star of Bethlehem?)
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Rumex acetosella (field sorrel)
Sagittaria sp. (arrowhead)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 5/02/00

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex sp. (sedge)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass) 5/02/00
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)