Sussex Branch Railroad Trail
Section in Andover north, Sussex County, NJ


Directions:

US 80 west to the exit for Route 206 north; head through Andover; pass Limecrest Road, Route 609, and shortly after you will find a pull-off parking area for the trail on the right side of the road. 


Geology:

The 21 miles of the Sussex Branch Trail lies in both the highlands and the ridge and valley provinces in Sussex and Morris Counties.  The Sussex Branch and the Paulinskill Valley trails intersect at Warbasse Junction in Lafayette Township in Sussex County.


History:

1848  -- Abram S. Hewitt decides to build a rail line to connect the iron ore mine in Andover to the  Morris Canal at Waterloo. 

1849  -- the mule-powered Sussex Railroad hauled ore from the Andover Iron Mine to the Morris Canal at Waterloo Village.

1851  -- opening of the seven mile long Sussex Mine Railroad.

1853  --  the line extended to Newton.

1864  -- John I. Blair takes over the railroad and extends it to Branchville (with a spur line to the Iron Furnace at Franklin). 

1881  --  the Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad (DL&W) takes over the line. At that time it became the Sussex Branch Trail. The railroad transported iron ore, agricultural products, freight, and passengers.

the Great Depression -- the track section between Branchville and Franklin close.   

1960 -- merger of the Erie and Lackawanna led to the downgrade of the DL&W track, including the Sussex Branch.

1966 --  tracks pulled up from north of Andover Junction to Newton.

1969  -- end comes to the section from north of Sussex Junction to Stanhope.

1977  -- Sussex Branch line comes to an end. 

1979  --  the state of New Jersey DEP buys the southern section from Netcong to Andover Junction. 

1982  -- DEP buys the northern section from Andover Junction to Branchville. 

2003 (June 21)  -- fifty-five acres along Route 206 from Ross Corner northwest to the railroad tracks in Augusts, were added to the State's open space inventory, through the cooperative efforts of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Frankford Township, and the Green Acres Program. The former Tanis Estate property, located on Route 206 near Ross Corner, in Frankford Township, Sussex County, is a former dairy farm.  The property comprises primarily open fields with forested river corridor along the Paulins Kill. This acquistion preserves important habitat for a pair of New Jersey Endangered Species: Bog Turtles and Dwarf Wedge Mussels. The property, which will be managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife and Frankford Township, abuts the Division of Parks and Forestry's Sussex Branch Trail.  (Source: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/greenacres/feature.htm)

Trail now managed by the State Park Service within the Division of Parks and Forestry.

(Source: Della Penna 1999:chapter 21)


Trail:

The trail goes north from Waterloo Village past the west side of Jefferson Lake, to Cranberry Lake, to Andover, Newton, Warbasse and finally to Lafayette. Length: 21 miles.  


Contact:

Park Superintendent; Kittatinny Valley State Park; P.O. Box 621; Andover , NJ 07821-0621;

(201)786-6445


PLANT LIST:

Ralph Wilen/Dr. Patrick L. Cooney/Dr. William F. Standaert


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway Maple) some
Acer rubrum (Red Maple) common
Acer saccharum var. saccharum (Sugar Maple) common
Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven) some
Betula lenta (Black Birch) common
Betula populifolia (Gray Birch) some
Carpinus caroliniana var. virginiana (Musclewood) few
Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory) few
Carya glabra (Pignut Hickory) few
Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory) few
Carya tomentosa (Mockernut Hickory) 1
Fagus grandifolia var. ... (American Beech) few
Fraxinus nigra (Black Ash) 1
Fraxinus pensylvanica (Red Ash) common
Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip-tree) common
Morus alba (White Mulberry) 1
Ostrya virginiana (Eastern Hop-hornbeam) few
Populus deltoides var. deltoides (Cottonwood) few
Prunus serotina (Wild Black Cherry) few Pyrus malus (Appl)e 2
Quercus alba (White Oak) some
Quercus muhlenbergii (Yellow Oak) some
Quercus rubra (Red Oak) few
Quercus velutina (Black Oak) few
Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac) some
Sassafras albidum (Sassafras) some
Tilia americana var. americana (American Basswood) some
Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock) few
Ulmus americana (American Elm) some
Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm) 1

Shrubs and Sub-shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (Smooth Alder) some
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry) few
Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen) 1
Cornus alternifolia (Alternate-leaved Dogwood) few
Cornus amomum var. amomum (Swamp Dogwood) some
Cornus rugosa (Round-leaved Dogwood) few
Corylus americana (American Hazel) few
Corylus cornuta (Beaked Hazel) 1
Euonymus alatus (Winged Euonymus) some
Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel) some
Ilex verticillata var. ... (Winterberry) some 6/28/97
Lindera benzoin var. benzoin (Spicebush) common
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's Honeysuckle) common
Lonicera tatarica (Tatarian Honeysuckle) 1
Rosa carolina (Carolina Rose) some 6/28/97
Rosa multiflora (Multiflora Rose) common
Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry) some
Rubus odoratus (Flowering Raspberry) few
Rubus phoenicolasius (Wineberry) some
Sambucus canadensis var. ... (Common Elderberry) few 6/28/97
Sorbus aucuparia (European Mountain-ash) 2
Staphylea trifolia (Bladder-nut) some
Syringa vulgaris (Common Lilac) 1 clump
Toxicodendron vernix (Poison Sumac) few 6/28/97
Viburnum acerifolium (Maple-leaved Viburnum) few
Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum (Arrowwood Viburnum) some
Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw Viburnum) some
Zanthoxylum americanum (Prickly-ash) 1

Vines:
Amphicarpaea bracteata (Hog Peanut) common
Calystegia sepium (Hedge Bindweed) 1 6/28/97
Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet) some
Clematis virginiana (Virgin's Bower) few
Dioscorea villosa var. villosa (Wild Yamroot) common
Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) few 6/28/97
Menispermum canadense (Moonseed) 1
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper) some
Toxicodendron radicans var. radicans (Poison Ivy) abundant
Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis (Summer Grape) common 6/28/97
Vitis riparia (River-bank Grape) few 6/28/97

Herbs:
Actaea alba (Doll's-eyes, White Baneberry) few
Agrimonia sp. (Agrimony) few
Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard) common 6/28/97
Allium tricoccum var. tricoccum (Wild Leek) some 6/28/97 soon
Anemone virginiana (Thimbleweed) some 6/28/97
Apocynum androsaemifolium (Spreading Dogbane) few
Aquilegia canadensis (Canada Columbine) some
Arabis laevigata var. laevigata (Smooth Rockcress) few
Aralia nudicaulis (Wild Sarsaparilla) some
Arctium lappa (Great Burdock) 1
Arisaema triphyllum var. triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit) common 6/28/97
Artemisia vulgaris (Common Mugwort) some
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) few 6/28/97
Cardamine pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Bittercress) 1 patch
Caulophyllum thalictroides var. thalictroides (Blue Cohosh) some
Ceanothus americanus var. ... (New-Jersey-tea) 2 6/28/97
Centaurea maculosa (Spotted Knapweed) common
Cephalanthus occidentalis var. ... (Buttonbush) few
Cerastium vulgatum (Mouse-ear Chickweed) few 6/28/97
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Ox-eye-daisy) few 6/28/97
Cicuta bulbifera (Bulb-bearing Water-hemlock) 1
Cimicifuga racemosa (American Bugbane) 1
Circaea lutetiana var. canadensis (Enchanter's-nightshade) few 6/28/97
Collinsonia canadensis (Horsebalm) few
Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) few 6/28/97
Conopholis americana (Squawroot) few
Desmodium glutinosum (Dillen's Ticktrefoil) some 6/28/97 soon
Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) some 6/28/97
Epipactis helleborine (Helleborine Orchid) 1
Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane) some 6/28/97
Eupatorium rugosum var. rugosum (White Snakeroot) common
Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge) few
Fragaria virginiana (Wild Strawberry) some
Galium aparine var. ... (Cleavers) common
Galium circaezens var. hypomalacum (Wild-licorice) few 6/28/97
Galium mollugo var. ... (Wild Madder) some 6/28/97
Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium) some
Geum canadense (White Avens) few 6/28/97
Hepatica americana (Round-lobed Hepatica) some
Hesperis matronalis (Dame's Rocket) few 6/28/97
Heuchera americana (Alum-root) 1
Hieracium caespitosum (Yellow King-devil Hawkweed) few
Hieracium piloselloides (Glaucous King-devil Hawkweed) some 6/28/97
Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. Johnswort) 1 6/28/97 soon
Impatiens capensis (Orange Jewelweed) some
Iris versicolor (Blue Flag) few 6/28/97
Lactuca sp. (Wild Lettuce) some
Laportea canadensis (Wood-nettle) few
Lespedeza repens (Bush-clover) 1 patch
Lysimachia quadrifolia (Whorled Loosestrife) few 6/28/97
Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) some
Maianthemum canadense var. ... (Canada Mayflower) few
Medeola virginiana (Indian Cucumber-root) few
Medicago lupulina (Black Medick) some 6/28/97
Mitella diphylla (Two-leaved Mitrewort) some
Nuphar sp. (variegata?) (Spatterdock) (distant) few 6/28/97
Nymphaea odorata var. ... (Water-lily) abundant 6/28/97
Oenothera biennis (Common Evening-primrose) some
Oenothera tetragona (Sundrops) few, 1 site 6/28/97
Osmorhiza claytonii (Sweet Cicely) some
Osmorhiza longistylis (Long-styled Sweet Cicely) 2
Oxalis stricta (Yellow Wood-sorrel) some 6/28/97
Pastinaca sativa (Wild Parsnip) few
Peltandra virginica (Arrow-arum) some 6/28/97
Penstemon digitalis (Beard-tongue) common 6/28/97
Pilea pumila var. pumila (Clearweed) some
Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain) few 6/28/97
Plantago major (Common Plantain) some
Podophyllum peltatum (May-apple) some
Polygonatum pubescens (Hairy Solomon's Seal) some
Polygonum cespitosum var. longisetum (Cespitose Smartweed) common 6/28/97
Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed) few 6/28/97
Potentilla recta (Sulphur Cinquefoil) few 6/28/97
Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) some
Prenanthes sp. (Gall-of-the-earth) some
Pyrola elliptica (Shinleaf) 1 6/28/97
Ranunculus abortivus var. ... (Kidney-leaved Crowfoot) few
Ranunculus acris var. acris (Common Buttercup) few 6/28/97
Ranunculus hispidus var. nitidus (Hispid Buttercup) few
Ranunculus recurvatus (Hooked Buttercup) 2
Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) few 6/28/97
Sagina japonica (Pearlwort) common, few sites 6/28/97 soo
Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot) some
Sanicula canadensis (Black Snakeroot) some 6/28/97
Satureja vulgaris (Wild Basil) few 6/28/97
Sedum sarmentosum (Stonecrop) 1 patch 6/28/97
Senecio obovatus (Running Groundsel)l few patches
Silene vulgaris (Bladder-campion) some 6/28/97
Smilacina racemosa (False Solomon's Seal) some
Solidago arguta var. arguta (Goldenrod) few
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (Meadowsweet) some
Symplocarpus foetidus (Skunk-cabbage) common
Thalictrum pubescens (Tall Meadow-rue) few 6/28/97
Trifolium aureum (Hop Clover) few 6/28/97
Trifolium pratense (Red Clover) some 6/28/97
Trifolium repens (White Clover) common 6/28/97
Trillium cernuum var. ... (Nodding Trillium) common, several sites 6/28/97
Triodanis perfoliata (Round-leaved Triodanis) few
Typha latifolia (Broad-leaved Cattail) some
Uvularia perfoliata (Perfoliate Bellwort) few
Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein) few
Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell) some
Viola conspersa (American Dog Violet) 1 large patch
Viola palmata var. palmata (Wood Violet) some
Viola pubescens (Yellow Forest Violet) some
Viola sagittata (Arrowhead Violet) some
Viola sp. (cucullata?) (Blue Marsh Violet) common

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex sp. (laxiflora?) (sedge) some
Carex swanii (sedge) 1
Carex vulpinoidea var. vulpinoidea (sedge) few
Juncus tenuis var. tenuis (path rush) common
Luzula multiflora (wood rush) few

Grasses:
Arhenatherum latius var. elatius (tall oatgrass) few
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) common
Bromus pubescens (brome grass) few
Danthonia spicata (poverty oat grass) few
Festuca pratensis (meadow fescue grass) some
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese Stilt Grass) common
Muhlenbergia sp. (dropseed) few
Panicum depauperatum (Panic-grass) few
Panicum lanuginosum var. fasciculatum (Panic-grass) common
Panicum latifolium (Panic-grass) few
Phleum pratense (Timothy Grass) few
Phragmites australis (Giant Reed Grass) few
Poa annua (Annual Bluegrass) few
Poa compressa (Canada Bluegrass) some
Poa trivialis (Rough-stemmed Bluegrass) some
Sphenopholis obtusata var. major (Wedge-gras) few

Ferns & Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail) Common H. some
Lycopodium lucidulum (shining clubmoss) 1 patch
Lycopodium obscurum (flat-branched tree clubmoss) 2 small patches
Lycopodium tristachyum (blue groundcedar) 1 small patch
Adiantum pedatum ssp. pedatum (northern maidenhair) some
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort) common
Asplenium rhizophyllum (walking fern) some
Asplenium trichomanes (maidenhair spleenwort) common on ledges
Athyrium filix-femina var. michauxii (Northern Lady Fern) some
Athyrium thelypterioides Silvery Spleenwort (silvery glade fern) some
Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnake fern) few
Cystopteris bulbifera Bulblet Bladder Fern common on ledges
Dennstaedtia punctilobula Hay-scented Fern some
Dryopteris carthusiana Spinulose Wood Fern some
Dryopteris clintoniana Clinton's Wood Fern few
Dryopteris cristata Crested Wood Fern some
Dryopteris goldiana Goldie's Wood Fern some
Dryopteris intermedia Evergreen Wood Fern some
Dryopteris marginalis Marginal Wood Fern some
Dryopteris x boottii [D. cristata x intermedia] Boot's Wood Fern (hybrid) few, 1 site
Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich Fern few
Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern common
Osmunda claytoniana var. ... Interrupted Fern few
Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis Royal Fern few
Polypodium virginianum Rock Polypody few
Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas Fern some
Thelypteris hexagonoptera Broad Beech Fern few patches
Thelypteris noveboracensis New York Fern some
Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens Marsh Fern some
Woodsia obtusa Blunt-lobed Cliff Fern few, 1 site