Joseph G. Lurker Park
Ridgedale Avenue, East Hanover Township, Morris County, NJ


Directions:

From George Washington Bridge: take Route 80 West to Route 287 South; get off at Exit 39A for  Route 10 East; proceed on Route 10 East for 2.8 miles.  When you see Novartis on the right side of the corner of Ridgedale Ave, go another mile to a U-Turn at jug handle (just before the next light at the Sony Movie Theater). Make U-Turn to Route 10 West. Proceed to a right turn onto Littel Road and shortly a right onto Ridgedale Avenue; drive around 2.6 miles to just before Eagle Rock Avenue (Sunoco on left) and make a right into the park.

There is another parking area: go all the way to a right turn onto Eagle Rock Avenue; drive a hundred yards of so and turn right onto Lurker Road; park in the big parking lot by the Tom Rinaldi Recreation Center.


History:

Morris Land Conservancy assisted East Hanover Township in the purchase of a small, 1.61-acre, property on Ridgedale Avenue owned by Mt. Echo Corporation. The purchase is identified by the Open Space and Recreation Plan, developed with Morris Land Conservancy, and is part of a larger project that will add 5.02 acres to the Township's Lurker Park. (http://www.morrislandconservancy.org/page14.html)

The park is named for long-time volunteer, Joe Lurker.


Facilities:

Lurker Park is a popular recreation area  with swimming pool, five ball fields, tennis courts, playground, horseshoe pits and Uncle Bill's picnic grove.


Trails:

A portion of Patriot's Path is in the park, the portion that connects with Essex County.

11/11/04.  Picked up the white-blazed Patriot's path in the woods at the south end of the park heading east.  The park is on the left and a power cut and houses on the right.  There is a lot of arrowwood viburnum here.  And quite a bit of woods.  The area is quite swampy in places.  Cross over a ditch; turn left and over another ditch; sweetgum trees; the path is wet in parts; cross an old road that is now becoming over grown with vegetation.  The trail comes out to River Road near its intersection with Eagle Rock Road.  Cross over the very busy road; walk down to the Passaic River which is rather shallow here; river birch; cross over the 1952 bridge spanning the river still heading east; jump over the highway railing and into the woods again; the path here is overgrown with wineberry primarily and multiflora rose secondarily.  I did some trail maintenance by swinging my walking stick back and forth breaking the stems of the wineberry and multiflora rose shrubs.  Head over a small board walk (next to a long board walk associated with the interpretive trail of the Essex County Park Commission).  The Patriots Path ends at the parking area of the Essex County Park Commission.  One can still keeping walking, however, by starting the yellow-blazed Lenni Lenape Trail on the other side of the parking area.  I did not continue, but rather turned around and went back to Lurker Park.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 11/11/04


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Betula populifolia (gray birch) 
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Picea sp. (spruce) planted
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus calleryana (callery pear) planted
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor-vitae) planted
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhamnus frangula (European buckthorn)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (smooth arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Euonymus fortunii (Fortune's euonymus)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod) *
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Trifolium repens (white clover) *

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Grasses:
Echinochloa sp. (barnyard grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)