WALKILL RIVER PRESERVE

Orange County, NY


Directions:

ROUTE 287 S.
0  Hastings-on-Hudson to US 87 north
26 US 287s
29 Campgaw Road
29.5 Park Entrance Road
33 Exit 59 Franklin Lakes/Rt. 208s.
35 Skyline Drive/Ringwood
35 Exit 58 Oakland/Rt. 202s. Ramapo Lake
35.7 Exit 57 Ringwood
37.3 Cannonball Trail
38.0 Exit 55 Wanaque
40.5 Exit 53 Pompton Lakes
40.8 Exit 52AB Riverdale/Wayne pick up Route 23
Route 23 N.
39.5 Exit 52 Route 23N off US 287
Butler Norvin Green
Bloomingdale
43 Kinnelon Road BK/A&P/Grand Union
43.8 Pequannock River
44.5 W. Milford
45.6 Smoke Rise
47 Echo Lake
48 DQ
48.6 Route 513 Newfoundland Pequanock/Farny State Park
49.0 Clinton Road West Milford
50.0 Paradise Road
51.0 Reservoir Road lake here -- looks more rural
52.5 Canistear Road
Sussex County
53.6 Route 515 Vernon-Stockholm Rd. Jorgensen's Inn
54.0 end of 4-lane highway
56.9 Mile 30 marker
57.0 Ogdensburg mines Hardyston
57.4 Hamburg Hamburg Mtn - big descent
58.5 Route 517 S. south to Sparta
Hardistonville
Route 517 N.
59.2 Dairy Queen (Hardyston)
Franklin AR/MD/BK/A&P
61.2 Route 517 N. it breaks off here
62.3/0 Route 94 Hamburg
64.2/1.9 Maxie's/Rolling Hills Motel
64.7 Sussex Motel
65.1/2.8 DQ
65.4/3.1 Route 565 to Vernon

A short distance north on Route 565, on the right is a pull-off for the Wood Duck Nature Trail of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.  No dogs allowed.


Location:

Located between Route 284 and Routes 565/667 in Sussex County, New Jersey and up into Orange County, NY.

Between Oxford and Bloomingburg (21 miles), you cross the Wallkill Valley, an unusually broad lowland carved by stream and glacier and almost entirely floored by dark Normanskill and Martinsburg groups shales, graywackes, and sandstones.  (Van Diver 1985:159)

Elizabeth Herland (Refuge Manager) has been the manager of the Wallkill River NWR since January 1995.  Prior to that, she coordinated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partner's for Wilflife Habitat Restoration program for the Northeastern United States.  The Bergen County Audubon Society  said that the refuge has been adopted as part of the National Audubon Society Audubon Refuge Keeper program.  It will highlight public use opportunities and some of the common refuge birds.


History

The Native Americans called the Wallkill River area "Twischsawkin," meaning the land where plums abound.  A total of 18 archaeological sites, including six rock shelters are thought to exist.  It was an important source of flint and chert for the aboriginal inhabitants.  

The Dutch settlers followed and dubbed the Wallkill River bottomland "The Drowned Lands" because the valley flooded extensively forming a huge lake in the spring.  Before it was effectively drained, settlers used the bottomland meadows as pasturage for cattle.

In 1826 a large canal lowered the water table of the river and this made the area more suitable to farm.  Mill owners, however, sought to keep the lands flooded, and a battle ensued between the millers and the farmers who wanted the lands drained.  These battles were known as the "Muskrat and Beaver" wars.  The millers were known as the "beavers" and the farmers "muskrats".  The disputes were finally settled in the farmers' favor in 1871.  

The park was established in 1990.  It is a nine-mile stretch of the Wallkill River in Sussex County and Orange County.  The refuge has the potential to encompass 7,500 acres.  As a major watershed and wetland complex, the Wallkill River provides migratory and nesting habitat for Atlantic Flyway black duck populations as well as wood duck, mallard, green-winged teal, common mergansers, and Canada geese.  


Geology:

The Wallkill River originates in Sussex County, New Jersey and empties into the Hudson River near Kingston, NY.

Van Diver (1992:122) writes that the Wallkill River Valley is a broad lowland about 20 miles wide that stretches for 65 miles in a northeasterly direction.  It is flanked on the east by the Hudson Highlands and Marlboro Mountain and on the west by the Shawangunk Ridge.    The Wallkill River is much too small to have carved out this large depression.  There was at one time a pre-Wisconsin-glacier divide near Walden-Montgomery, with the ancestral Wallkill flowing northward from it, and another drainage system flowing southward.  The glaciers gouged out the wide valley and removed the drainage divide.  

US 87, between mile 55 and Kingston, follows the Wallkill River Valley. It is 65 miles long and 20 miles wide. The bedrock consists of weak Ordovician shales and graywackes of the Normanskill and Martinsburg groups.


Habitats:

4,200 acres of freshwater wetlands, 800 acres of hardwood forest, and 2,500 acres of grasslands and adjacent upland.  An old railroad grade goes through the middle of the nature preserve.  


Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail crosses through the northern section of the refuge.  

Park in the parking lot in the middle of the marshy area along Oil City Road. Head east about .3 of a mile west to the white gate on the left. The trail goes on a causeway paralleling an irrigation canal on the left. The path goes down close to the Wallkill River near a tree line where it bends left (east). At the southeast corner of the rectangular walk is a deep round pond, probably artificial. It looks as though there may be one of the Chara algae species in the pond. The path turns left and follows an old abandoned railroad about 1/3 of the way back to Oil City Road. It then turns right (east) heading toward Pochuck Mountain. This part of the trail is mostly boardwalk through a red maple swamp. The trail travels east to Liberty Corners Road across the street from a white house with two red chimneys (321 Liberty Corners Road).

The trail heads south for about 30 yards and then crosses the street and immediately climbs. I did not continue on this path very far.


PLANT LIST:

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, Dr. William F. Standaert


Trees:
Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer rubrum (Acer rubrum)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (American hop hornbeam)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Celtis occidentalis (American hackberry)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juglans nigra (black walnut) 5/24/98
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus grandidentata (big tooth aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus malus (apple tree) 4/28/98
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus bicolor ? (swamp white oak)?
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Salix spp. (willows)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (swamp dogwood)
Cornus sericea (red-osier dogwood)
Corylus americana (hazelnut)
Corylus cornuta (beaked hazel)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) 5/24/98
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhamnus cathartica (buckthorn)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 5/24/98
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus idaeus (red raspberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Staphylea trifolia (bladdernut)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum) 5/24/98
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Clematis virginiana (virgin's bower)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yam root)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy) 5/24/98
Vitis labrusca (fox grape) 5/24/98

Herbs:
Abutilon theophrasti (velvet leaf)
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Alisma sp. (water plantain)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 4/28/98 5/24/98
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Arabis glabra (tower mustard) 5/24/98
Arctium minus (common burdock)
Arenaria lateriflora (blunt-leaved sandwort) 5/24/98
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) 10/07/00
Aster racemosus (aster) 10/07/00
Aster lanceolatus var simplex (aster) 10/07/00
Aster pilosus var. pringlei (aster) 10/07/00
Aster novae-angliae (New England aster) 10/07/00
Baptisia tinctoria (wild indigo)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 4/28/98 5/24/98
Capsella bursa pastoris (shepherd's purse) 4/28/98
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed) 10/07/00
Centaurea x pratensis (meadow knapweed) 10/07/00
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 5/24/98
Chenopodium album (pigweed) 10/07/00
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 5/24/98
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 10/07/00
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium muticum (swamp thistle) 10/07/00
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Dipsacus sylvestris (wild teasel)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pilewort)
Erigeron annuus (annual fleabane) 10/07/00
Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia fleabane) 5/24/98
Eupatorium fistulosum (Joe Pye weed)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 10/07/00
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry) 4/28/98
Galium circaezens (wild licorice)
Gallium mollugo (wild madder) 5/24/98
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 5/24/98
Hackelia virginiana (Virginia stickseed)
Hieracium cespitosum (yellow king devil hawkweed) 5/24/98
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag iris) 5/24/98
Iris versicolor (blue flag)?
Lactuca biennis (tall blue lettuce)
Lamium purpureum (purple dead nettle) 4/28/98
Lapsana communis (nipplewort) 10/07/00
Lemna minor (duckweed)
Lemna trisulca (star duckweed)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) 10/07/00
Ludwigia palustris (purple loosestrife)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) 5/24/98
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 5/24/98
Nepeta cataria (catnip)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 10/07/00
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 5/24/98 10/07/00
Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip)
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Petroselinum crispum (parsley)
Physalis longifolia (ground cherry)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Podophyllum peltatum (may apple)
Polygonum arenastrum (common knotweed)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 10/07/00
Potentilla argentea (silvery cinquefoil) 10/07/00
Pycnanthemum virginianum (mountain mint)
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) 10/07/00
Rumex acetosella (field sorrel) 4/28/98
Rumex crispus (curled dock) 5/24/98
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Rumex verticillatus? (swamp dock)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) 10/07/00
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil) 10/07/00
Senecio aureus (golden ragwort) 5/24/98
Senecio obovatus (running groundsel)
Silene latifolia var. latifolia (white campion) 5/24/98
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal) 5/24/98
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Solidago canadensis var. canadensis (goldenrod)
Solidago gigantea (smooth goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (goldenrod) 10/07/00
Spirodela polyrhiza (water flaxseed)
Stellaria media (common chickweed) 10/07/00
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum laevigatum (red-seeded dandelion)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 4/28/98 5/24/98 10/07/00
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 10/07/00
Trifolium repens (white clover) 5/24/98
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Urtica dioica var. procera (stinging nettle) with the big leaves
Utricularia vulgaris (common bladderwort)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell) 5/24/98
Wolffia papulifera (water meal)
Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders) 5/24/98
a white mustard of some type 4/28/98
a violet species (the leaves look like Viola arvensis or V. tricolor)

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex bebbi (sedge)
Carex cephalophora var. cephalophora (sedge)
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (sedge)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) 5/24/98
Dactylis glomeratus (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)
Panicum clandestinum (deer tongue grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)
Athyrium filix-femina (northern lady fern)
Botrychium dissectum (dissected grapefern)
Dryopteris carthusiana (spinulose wood fern)
Dryopteris intermedia (evergreen wood fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal wood fern)
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern)
Lycopodium digitatum (southern running pine)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)