ECHO HILL ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AREA
Lilac Drive, Stanton Station, Clinton Township, Hunterdon County, NJ
76 acres


Directions:

US 80 to Exit 17 for Route 31 south; drive south and make a right turn onto Hibbler Road; drive 0.1 of a mile and turn left onto Country Hill Road; drive 0.5 of a mile and at the T-intersection turn left onto Lilac Drive; drive 0.2 of a mile and turn left into the entrance for Echo Hill EEA.

It is part of the South Branch Reservation, a linear park stretching from Clinton to Flemington.  

Facilities:  play area, picnic area, lodge, cabins, camping area, trails, pond, multi-purpose room.


History:

1836  -- a farm was established on the property, consisting of the stone house, a barn, chicken coops, and a peach orchard.

1936  --  the property was purchased by Robert and Hermia Lechner who established a summer camp for boys, called “Camp - Echo Hill”.

1937  --  girls were permitted in the camp.

1939  --  the Civilian Conservation Corps cut down the orchard and replaced it with 200,000 evergreens.

1942  --  the Stone Farm House (originally the camp infirmary) became the home of the Lechners.  (It is now used by The South Branch Watershed Association.)

1943  --  the Lechners acquired the Stanton Station Railroad Station from the Lehigh Valley Railroad for $75.00 and transported it to the property (it is now the South Activity Center).

1959  -- the Lechners retired from the camp, selling it to a local church.

1973  -- the county acquired the property.

Echo Hill still continues teaching local children about nature through their schedule of programs.

(Source: http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/depts/parks/guides/EchoHill.htm)


Habitats:

hardwood forests, pine stands, mowed fields, a two acre pond, and Prescott Brook.


Facilities/Uses:

 picnics, environmental study, group camping, receptions, hiking, X-country skiing, horseback riding, fishing, bird watching, meetings.


Trails:

There is a circular trail around the perimeter of the park (with an overview of Prescott Brook).

7/17/04.  Rosemary, dog Sonar and I visited the rail-trail along Lower Landsdown Road in the morning and came here in the early afternoon.  We decided to take a couple of small walks around the area.  We first walked from the first parking lot, past a huge lawn, around the visitor center and back to the area near the starting point.  There were a great number of planted trees, most of them white pine and Norway spruce.

We wanted to visit the pond but the available map for the place confused us.  We could not figure out which road/path would take us to the pond.  We found out later that the most direct path to the pond was to be found behind the visitor center.  But at the time we did not know this.  So we took a road/path that wound up taking us to the cabins area.  From here we walked to the bird blind and then "bushwhacked" down the small slope to the small pond. There is a hedge of larch trees along the pond on two? sides.  The pond looks as if it is too often visited by myriads of Canada geese. The water did not look the healthiest. 

From the pond we walked over to a wet/moist meadow.  Near the meadow we walked over to see Prescott Brook. There is a red trail with markers here that crosses the brook.  But on the day of our visit, the water was too high for the brook to be crossed.  We walked back to the Visitor Center and thence to the parking lot. 

One can take a longer walk by taking the path along the perimeter of the place. 

The South Branch of the Raritan River is located just across the railroad tracks (still active), which are across from the park entrance.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 7/17/04


Trees:
Acer negundo (ash leaf maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Larix decidua (European larch)  -- planted as a hedge by the pond
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Picea abies (Norway spruce) a lot of it was planted
Pinus strobus (white pine ) a lot of it was planted
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhamnus frangula (European buckthorn)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)

Vines:
Cuscuta gronovii (dodder)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis spp. (fox grape)

Herbs:
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Allium vineale (field garlic) *
Arisaema triphyllum (jack in the pulpit)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) *
Cirsium vulgaris (bull thistle) *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) *
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) *
Duchesnea indica (Indian strawberry) *
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed) *
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane ) *
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) *
Geum canadense (white avens) *
Glechoma hederacea (gill over the ground)
Hackelia virginiana (Virginia stickseed) *
Hieracium sp. (hawkweed) *
Hypericum sp. (spotted or common St. Johnswort) *
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) *
Lobelia puberula (downy lobelia) *
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) *
Lycopus virginicus (Virginia bugleweed)
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) *
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed) *
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed) *
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed knotweed) *
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil) *
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) *
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Satureja officinalis (wild basil) *
Scutellaria lateriflora (mad dog skullcap) *
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Teucrium canadense (American germander) *
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue) *
Trifolium repens (white clover) *
Urtica dioica var. dioica (stinging nettle) *
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) *

Rushes:
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus sp. (rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex crinita (fringed sedge)
Carex lurida (swallow sedge)
Cyperus sp. (nut or umbrella sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)

Grasses:
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle brush grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)  -- lots
Panicum clandestinum (deer tongue grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (canary reed grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)