Rutgers Ecological Preserve (Kilmer Woods)
Road 3, Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey
370 acres

Located on the Piscataway Campus of Rutgers University, just north of Johnson Park along the Raritan River.


From NJ 27 in Highland Park; head northwest on River Road (County 514) to where it intersects with NJ 27 just north of the bridge over the Raritan River.  Drive 0.7 of  a mile and turn right on Cedar Lane; drive 0.5 of a mile and turn left onto Road 1; drive 0.4 of a mile and turn left onto Road 3; drive 0.1 mile and turn left just before the road bends to the right.


1914  --  poet and author, Joyce Kilmer (born 1886) published his now famous poem "Trees":  "Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree."

1917  --  the U.S. declared war on Germany; Joyce Kilmer enlisted as a private in the Seventh Regiment, New York National Guard. At his request and with the assistance of Father Duffy, he transferred into the 165th Infantry, the old Fighting 69th.

1918 (July 30) --  31 year old American poet Sgt. Joyce Kilmer was killed in action by a sniper at Seringes.  He served with the 42nd "Rainbow" Division during the Aisne-Marne offensive in France.  He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery. 

1941  (December 7)  -- the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

1942  (June)  --  Camp Kilmer was activated.  As an installation of the New York Port of Embarkation, It was the largest staging area in the United States and handled more than two and a half million troops (more than 20 divisions). Camp Kilmer had 1,573 acres and contained 1,230 numbered buildings and structures.  It was named for Joyce Kilmer, the soldier-poet of World War I whose home was in nearby New Brunswick. 

1949 (fall)  --  Camp Kilmer was placed in an inactive status and the Personnel Center activities transferred to Fort Dix.

1950 (fall)  -- with the start of the war in Korea, Camp Kilmer was reactivated.

1955 (June 30)  --  Camp Kilmer went back to an inactive status

1956 (November)  to 1957 (June)  --  Operation Mercy was initiated as a project designed to process the Hungarian refugees.

1958 (March)  --Headquarters II US Army Corps (Reserve) moved onto the post.

1995 (July)  --  the BRAC Commission recommended that facilities at Camp Kilmer be closed (except for facilities supportive of the Reserve Components.)

1997  --  Camp Kilmer closed.

The land was once part of the U.S. Army's Camp Kilmer complete with barracks, a mess hall and ammunition bunkers.  There even was a prisoner-of-war camp here. 

The Army left the area and now all that is left are some paved areas in the middle of the tract. 


woods and fields


several miles of trails

4/01/2005.  The parking lot was closed by order of the police (no reason given).  So Cefe Santana, dog Sonar and I parked our car at the intersection of Roads 3 and 1 in Lot 111, Street 1604 of the Livingston Campus of Rutgers University.  We walked back to the parking area of the Preserve.  Once in the parking lot we decided to take the trail that was the most traveled.  Saw the concrete remains of buildings; traveling southwest; we are walking parallel to Road 1; a path comes in on the left from Road 1 direction; cross over something like a causeway over a brook that goes under the causeway via a culvert.  Walking northwest away from Road 1; reach a stone and dirt road; pass through an old ruined wire gate and reach a T-intersection; head around the right side of a hill near the gate; go southwest through a wet, muddy area made from the red shale soil.  There is evidence of quite a bit of biking activity in the area; reach an open area; heading northwest then north; reach a part of the trail where there are fading orangish bands around the trees along the path.  Reach a yellow sign saying "22" with with a blue 2 painted on a tree.  Reach a big, wide T-intersection with a view of university buildings on the right.  We decided to head over to the buildings.  We reach Avenue E at Hospital Avenue.  Did not know which way to proceed so, after some false starts, we decided to return the way we came.  There are many paths heading in different directions and we would have to make a special study of them to figure out all the ins and outs of the trails.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant blooming on day of field trip, 4/01/2005

Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple) *
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Fagus grandifolia (Americana beech)
Fraxinus sp. (ash)
Ilex opaca (American holly) few
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar) quite a bit of it
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (pin oak) lots of it
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera sp. (honeysuckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Rhus sp. (sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (garlic field)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Pycnanthemum sp. (mountain mint)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass) ?