SWIMMING RIVER NATURAL AREA
Riverdale Avenue, Monmouth County, NJ

109 acres


Directions:

Garden State Parkway to Exit 109, take Newman Springs Rd (Rt 520) east 0.6 of a mile and turn right onto Hance Avenue; drive 1.0 mile and turn right onto Riverdale Avenue and drive 0.9 of a mile to near the end of the road where there is a small parking area on the right.


Habitats:

Freshwater and brackish marsh communities with surrounding young upland forest.


Trails:

From the parking area one can make a short semi-circular walk that takes the walker first to a pond, then parallel to the Phragmites marsh and then along the Swimming River tributary (Hockhockson Brook) back to the road (Riverdale Avenue). At times the path was clear but a lot of times the path disappeared and we had to bushwhack to points where we could pick up another part of a trail. But it is hard to get lost in this section because one is hemmed in by the Garden State Parkway, the pond, the marsh, the river and the road.

On the way back to the parking lot, my wife and I decided to turn left uphill onto a flat area on the left hand side of Riverdale Avenue. This area was wide open woods. There is a short trail that takes the walker to the white pine dominated edge of a cliff overlooking the Hockhockson Brook. Nice view. Heading left downhill from here takes one to the brook’s edge. Returned the way we came.

The area is rather small but interesting and we enjoyed our short visit.


PLANT LIST:

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

* = blooming on date of visit, April 3, 2004


Trees:

Acer rubrum (red maple) *

Carya sp. (hickory)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)

Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)

Picea abies (Norway spruce)

Pinus strobus (white pine)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Prunus serotina (black cherry)

Quercus alba (white oak)

Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)

Quercus rubra (red oak)

Quercus stellata? (post oak)?

Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Thuja occidentalis (arbor vitae)

 

Shrubs:

Alnus sp. (alder)

Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)

Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

Lindera benzoin (spice bush) *

Lonicera sp. (honeysuckle bush)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)

Rubus sp. (black berry)

Salix sp. (willow) *

Vaccinium sp. (low blueberry)

 

Vines:

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)

Hedera helix (English ivy)

Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)

Smilax sp. (greenbrier)

Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Vitis sp. (grape)

 

Herbs:

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)

Allium vineale (field garlic)

Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)

Callitriche sp. (water starwort)

Caltha palustris (marsh marigold) * a few

Cardamine hirsuta (hairy bittercress) *

Chelidonium majus (celandine)

Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s lace)

Fragaria virginiana (strawberry)

Galium sp. (bedstraw)

Glechoma hederacea (gill over the ground) *

Lemna sp. (duckweed)

Narcissus sp. (white daffodil) *

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)

Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)

Typha sp. (narrow-leaved cattail)

 

Rushes:

Juncus effusus (soft rush)

 

Sedges:

Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

 

Grasses:

Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

 

Ferns and fern allies:

Lycopodium sp. (club moss)

Polypodium sp. (rock cap fern) pretty cascades of it flowing from the top of the cliffs downward

 

Other:

reindeer lichen? Beautiful lime green color

 

TRIP REPORTS:

SWIMMING RIVER

Nov 20, 1950

V. L. Frazee