Saddle River County Park
Ridgewood, Bergen County, New Jersey
596 acres


This park consists of five recreation areas linked by a bicycle-pedestrian path. The five recreation centers include:

Wild Duck Pond Area, Ridgewood; from Route 17 take East Ridgewood Avenue west.

Glen Rock Area, Glen Rock; from East Ridgewood Avenue take Prospect Street south to Alan Avenue.

Dunkerhook Area, Paramus; from Route 208 turn east on Fairlawn Avenue to Dunkerhook Road.   Directions from the east:  take US 287/87 west to the exit 14A for the Garden State Parkway (at green mile marker 23); head south for about 10 miles and get off at exit 165; turn right onto East Ridgewood Avenue; drive 1.4 miles and turn left onto Paramus Road; drive 1.7 miles and turn right onto Dunkerhood Road, and shortly turn right into the park.

Otto Pehle Area (parking located off Saddle River Road, on the eastern side of the road just south of the intersection of Saddle River Road with Louis Road.  There is an entrance road called Brook Street by the sign for the Otto Pehle Area.  It is 1.4 miles north of the intersection of Saddle River Road and Railroad Avenue.).    

Rochelle Park Area.  From the Dunkerhook Area head south on Paramus Road; it turns into Passaic Road; turn right onto Rochelle Avenue; turn right onto Railroad Avenue; and turn right very soon into the park entrance, just before the bridge over Saddle River.  This area is the southern end of Saddle Brook Park.  (There is another parking area; from Dunkerhook head south of Paramaus Road that turns into Passiac Street; turn right onto Harvey Avenue; head down Howard Avenue; the entrance is on the right soon after the intersection with Howard Avenue and Meakin Avenue, adjacent to #152 Howard Avenue.)


History:

Jacob J. Zabriskie House, circa 1826.  (Located on Paramus Road, left side when heading south, just a little ways south of the intersection of Paramus Road and East Ridgewood Avenue.)  The house is a combination of the Federal Style and the earlier Dutch Colonial style.  The house was erected by Jacob J. Zabriskie on the site of an earlier home. The farmhouse remained in the Zabriskie family for 132 years. 

Dunkerhook Road.  (sign by the entrance to the Dunkerhook area.) This old colonial lane was named Dunkerhook, meaning Dark Corner, by the Dutch who settled the area in the early 18th century. Along this road, the Zabriskie family, who bought the land from the Indians in 1702, built houses and a school for the use of their slaves.

Naugle House (on the remnant of Dunkerhook Road on the west side of Saddle River).  The Naugle House is an 18th century colonial home built by a Naugle, a paymaster in Lafayette's Light Division.  It was a landmark on many Revolutionary War maps. It is believed Lafayette visited here in 1824. 


5/15/03  Good news.  They don't advertise it, but there are woods and flood plain in this park.  Snuffy and I went to the Dunkerhook Area of the park and walked around without too much interference from the many people on the bike path.

Parked in Parking Area C and walked over to the river to take the footworn path north along the river.  The Ho-Ho-Kus Brook comes in from the northwest while the Saddle River heads northeast.  The bike path also splits here to follow the brook and the stream.  I walked along the Saddle River on the side opposite the bike path.  Went off the bike path in the Ho-Ho-Kus branch of the path into the woods.  There are two bridges and a small waterfall in the area.

6/10/03 Short walk because Snuffy, my dog, is dying from skin and lung cancer and doesn't have that much energy anymore.  Parked in Parking Area C again, but this time turned left and went south along the river instead of north.  Come to a bridge on the remnant of the Dunkerhook Road over Saddle River; turn left; signs gives the direction "Saddle Brook/Rochelle Park"; turn right and go over the bridge over the river; come to a parking lot (accessible via the remnant of Dunkerhook Road on the west side of Saddle River; signs say "Century Road" to the right; I turn left heading for Rochelle Park; pass the tennis courts on the right; lots of multiflora rose in bloom and lots of Japanese knotweed along the river; go under the underpass with a wire fence on the left; path narrows; come to a fork in the path and go right (it takes you back to the parking lot on the west side of Dunkerhook Road; trail bears right; now parallel with the road (on the opposite side to where I was); paths comes to the west end of Dunker Hook Road (while the path keeps going straight); come to the Naugle House (see the history section); come to the west side of the closed bridge; back to that second parking lot; and then turn left and head back over the bridge and back to the parking area.

6/23/03  --  Parked in the Rochelle Park Area off Railroad Avenue.  Headed north, pass the swimming pool area, go over a bridge,  go over another bridge to two ball fields, turn right, go under a highway overpass, the path splits going completely around a lake.  At the far side of the lake is the parking area for the Otto Pehle Area. 


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, 5/15/2003; 6/10/03; 6/23/03
date(s)  = date plant found in bloom


Trees:
Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut)?
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven) 6/23/03
Albizia julibrissin (silk tree)
Alnus glutinosa (black alder)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa) 6/23/03
Cercis canadensis (redbud)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Crataegus sp. ? (hawthorn)? 5/15/2003 soon
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree) 6/10/03
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus sp. (cottonwood probably?)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus sp. (crabapple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix spp. (willows)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock) planted
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood) 6/23/03
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) 5/15/2003
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Hibiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle) 5/15/2003
Philadelphus sp. (mock orange)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pink azalea) 5/15/2003
Rhodotypos scandens (jetbead)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 6/10/03
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 6/10/03 6/23/03
Salix sp. (willow) 5/15/2003
Sambucus canadensis (elderberry) 6/23/03
Staphylea americana (bladdernut) 5/15/2003
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum) 6/10/03 soon
Viburnum dentatum (hairy arrowwood viburnum) 6/10/03
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum) 5/15/2003

Vines:
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed) 6/23/03
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Humulus japonicus? (Japanese hops)?
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Sicyos angulatus (one-seeded cucumber)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) 6/23/03
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
(mustard) 5/15/2003 narrow ellip lvs, sl. clasping
(mustard) 6/23/03 a yellow mustard with alternate toothed leaves and stalked thin pods
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Ajuga repens (bugleweed) 5/15/2003
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/15/2003 6/10/03 6/23/03
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Apocynum cannabinum (dogbane)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemesia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) 6/23/03
Aster spp. (aster)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 6/10/03
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 5/15/2003 6/10/03
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle) 6/10/03 soon; 6/23/03
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) 5/15/2003
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)
Coronilla varia (crown vetch)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 6/23/03
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Eupatorium sp. (Joe-Pye weed)
Galinsoga sp. (galinsoga) 6/23/03
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) 5/15/2003
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily) 6/23/03 soon
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 5/15/2003 6/10/03 6/23/03
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Laportea canadensis (wood nettle)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper) 6/23/03
Linaria vulgaris (butter-and-eggs)
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) 6/23/03
Ludwigia palustris (water purslane)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Matricaria matricarioides (pineapple weed chamomile) 6/23/03
Narcissus sp. (daffodil)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Oxalis sp. (wood sorrel) 6/10/03 6/23/03
Phytolacca americana (pokeberry)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 6/23/03
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum biflorum (true Solomon's seal) 5/15/2003 soon
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 6/10/03 6/23/03
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla argentea (silvery cinquefoil) 6/10/03 6/23/03
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil) 5/15/2003
Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil) 6/23/03
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot) 5/15/2003
Ranunculus ficaria? (lesser celandine)? It's all over the flood plain.
Rumex crispus (curled dock) 6/10/03
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Sagina sp. (pearlwort) ? 6/10/03 soon
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal) 5/15/2003 soon
Stellaria media (common chickweed) 5/15/2003
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 5/15/2003 6/10/03 6/23/03
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Thlaspi arvense (field pennycress)
Tradescantia sp. (spiderwort) 6/23/03
Trifolium repens (white clover) 6/10/03 6/23/03
Urtica dioica var. dioica (stinging nettle) 6/10/03 soon; 6/23/03
Urtica dioica var. procera (tall stinging nettle)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) 6/23/03
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell) 6/10/03
Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell) 5/15/2003
Viola sororia (common blue violet) 5/15/2003

Sedges:
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass) 5/15/2003
bamboo (planted by the Naugle house)

Ferns:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)


Ramblers at Spring of Dunkerhook

The members and friends of the Rambling Club, about thirty in all, held their fifth ramble on Saturday afternoon, October 15, 1904. The members met at the City Hall, at 2 o'clock, and walked thence to Broadway, where they boarded the Hudson River trolley car and rode to Swamp Road, near Arcola. There alighting, the party proceeded along the road which skirts the western bank, of the Saddle River in the direction of Paramus. The day was delightfully fine; coo, invigorating breezes, blue October skies and brilliant sunshine, making a perfect autumnal day.

The picturesque lake at Arcola and the clear little river were among the fine objects to win attention. The recent gales had stripped many trees of their leaves, but the golden maples were in full glow; bright scarlet wreaths of the Virginia creeper climbed the trunks of trees and intertwined among the wayside shrubbery, giving a borrowed charm to the woods that Nature had deprive of their own particular foliage. Even the wayside weeds became attractive. The pods of the milkweed were unfolding, and the white fleecy sails were carrying the brown seeds like little vegetable ships to unknown harbors. The walnut trees were completely bare, but in the grass underneath, the young Ramblers found a rich harvest of walnuts, and these were added to the store of chestnuts and acorns and served as a festive souvenir of the day's excursion. Pretty cottages and quaint old homesteads were passed, in the gardens of which still bloomed such autumnal flowers as the chrysanthemum, the china aster and the blue campanula.

After passing the end of Berdan Avenue (in Fairfield), the Ramblers came to the monster chestnut tree, the largest tree for 20 miles around Paterson. Its girth was measured and found to be 21 feet in circumference. Here the Ramblers were grouped while Harry Shelby produce his camera and took a photograph of the excursionists with the fine old monarch of the forest in the background.

The party then went on, with the exception of Michael Butz and his bright little son. Mr. Butz was so struck with his admiration of the gigantic tree that he could not overcome the temptation to remain behind and sketch it.

A little further on the Ramblers came to the crossroads, and taking the eastern road, they were soon reveling in the beautiful groves which skirt the enchanting Saddle River on both sides. Leaves of oak, hickory and chestnut thickly covered the ground, and the searchers were again rewarded by a further addition to the store of nuts already garnered.

The neat little cottages of colored people at Dunkerhook were much admired, flagstones and doorsteps faultlessly clean, and windows that shone like polished mirrors, while well trained vines and pleasant little gardens added a natural tribute to domestic art and care.

The party rested by the famous Dunkerhook spring, known to travelers for 20 miles around. The old buttonwood tree with its long brass dippers never looked more beautiful; the bright verdure like an emerald carpet, and the clear water of the spring all combined to make the spot exquisitely attractive. Here the members were again arranged in a group, and Mr. Shelby, assisted by former Judge Kerr, again photographed them.

Mr. Rydings then read a letter which he had received from Philmer Eves, the respected president of the club. Mr. Eves regretted his inability to be present, but said he would be with the party in spirit, and would often think of the Dunkerhook ramble and his friends, even amid the glorious autumnal attractions of Mount Pocono during his short visit in the latter place.

...

The members then sang the Club's "Ode of Welcome " and found an appreciative auditor in a gentleman named Steward, a resident of the place. Mr. Stewart kindly gave some interesting information about Dunkerhook and about its old Colonial founder, who built the mansion close by.

The Ramblers then took leave of the beautiful village, and in the twilight of a magnificent sunset continued their way back to the car along a road shaded by tall pines and hemlocks and adorned with beautiful dwellings. The last rays of the setting sun had departed when the Ramblers reached the trolley car at the Swamp Road and continued the journey back to Paterson.

Rydings, Joseph. 1934. Country Walks in Many Fields. Being Certain Choice Annals of the Paterson Rambling Club. Paterson, NJ: The Call Printing and Publishing Company.