Somerset County, NJ
574 acres


8.8 miles from Schermann-Hoffman Trail
2.3 miles Cooper Mill
left onto Parker Road; immediate left
Hacklebarney St., Park Rd.
4.9 entrance
5.2 park
Located approximately 3 miles southwest of Chester, along the banks of the Black River in a wild and lovely gorge.


Take exit 27A from I-80 onto US 206 south to the town of Chester. Turn NJ 24 west. Approximately 1 mile from the traffic light, pass the old Cooper gristmill, cross a bridge across the Black River, and turn left at the green sign. Immediately there is another sharp left turn onto a road through a pleasant residential area paralleling the Black River. After another 2 miles, the road splits where there is an apple orchard and farm store on the corner. Turn right onto paved State Park Road and travel for .75 mile until a brown, wood sign on the left indicate the entrance to the park. State Park Road (it's located between the river and Chester Township Municipal Building). Follow State Park Road to Hacklebarney Road and turn right. Park entrance is on left side of road.

The park is too commercial and there is a warning not to cross the river because of the hunters. A river goes right through the park and there are picnic benches on the southern side of the river. There is a huge parking lot and this place probably gets very busy on weekends.


The Lenni-Lenape Indians of the area called the Black River the Allamatunk River, meaning "black rock" or "black earth bottom."

The name Hacklebarney comes from Barney Hackle, ironmaster.

1739  --  the Weldon brothers, mining men from England, search for iron ore in the area along what was later Hacklebarney Pond.  They build a dam in the stream at Lower Hacklebarney to provide water power.  They then build two forges.

1740 – iron discovered on the Black River in the region of Lower Hacklebarney.

1760  -- first iron obtained from the Hacklebarney Mines.  James Heaton operated a forge probably at Four Bridges.

1760-1765  --  Newcastle Forge, later New Britain Forge, operates.

One story about the origins of the park's name states that a quick-tempered iron ore foreman named Barney Tracey in the vicinity was persistently heckled and soon "Heckle" Barney, as he was called, became Hacklebarney. Another theory is that the name is of Lenni-Lenape derivation.

1790 – the two forges built by the Weldons were discontinued.

1867 – While Theodore Perry Skellenger was digging behind his two Main Street houses in order to build an ice-house, he discovered iron ore. Soon six iron mines were operating around Main Street.

At least ten mines were operating at Hacklebarney below the present "Rockledge" driveway. The mines were located on both sides of the Black River at Upper Hacklebarney.

1867-68 – the Chester Railroad Company (an adjunct of the Morris & Essex Railroad) was built from Dover to Chester. (Influential Daniel Budd play a big role in this endeavor.)

1869 – first train ran on the Chester Railroad. Daniel Budd was probably the first president.

1869 – a spur was built to the important Dickerson Mine at Succasunna.

1884 – a "roaster" was developed to "roast" out the sulphur in the iron ore at Hacklebarney.

There were two Hacklebarney forges with the same name. The younger one was at Upper Hacklebarney (just below Forge Pond) about a mile downstream from the Cooper gristmill. The older was at Lower Hacklebarney farther down the river.

1885 - most of Chester’s smaller mines closed.

1893 – close of even the best mines; led to economic depression in the area.

1896 – Hacklebarney mines finally close.

1924 – Adolph Borie donated 190 acres to the State for a park in memory of his mother Susan Parke Borie and her granddaughter Susan Ryerson Patterson.

1930 – the CCC built the field house at Hacklebarney State Park.

Great Depression  --  the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps) removed the remains of miners' houses and used the materials to construct the field house in the park.

Hacklebarney or Budd's Forge

There is some confusion over the Hacklebarney Forge because the name was used for two different forges:

1)  Upper Hacklebarney (just below Forge or Hacklebarney Pond, a mile downstream from the Cooper gristmill at Milltown);

2) Lower Hacklebarney (further down the Black River on what became Alfred Kay property -- history of Black River County Park).  This is the earlier mine and the one known first as the location of the Hacklebarney Forge.

Located in Chester township near the Falls of Lamington (now Pottersville, formerly Potter's Mills), about 12 miles from Union Iron Works.

1763 -- forge built here.

1764 -- Property offered for sale by sheriff Samuel Tucker at the suit of Andrew Leake, Peter and Henry Schank, John Demund and others.

1771 -- John Wortman, Sr. buys the property from Peter Schank.

It was abandoned during the American Revolution. It came into the hands of Samuel Ross.

1786 -- Frederick Bartles buys the property.

1790 -- Randall & Stewart get a mortgage on the property.

Hon. Daniel Budd and Frederick Bartles were in partnership. They were succeeded by Andrew Bartles and his father-in-law, John Plum.

1810 -- Nicholas Einams operated the plant.

1834 -- forge was still in existence.

The ore came from Hacklebarney Mine, located on the Black River about a mile and a half southeast of Chester Village (not far south of the Cooper Mill).

(Source: Greenidge, Frances. 1974. Chester, New Jersey: A Scrapbook of History, 1713-1971. Chester, NJ: The Chester Historical Society.)


This is a hemlock ravine in a glacial valley.

Colored with tannin, Black river chatters its way along. Deep gorge of the Black River.

Contains two feeder streams for the beautiful Black River in its glacial gorge. Indian Mill, a pothole in the Black River, is a noteworthy natural feature.

The lovely wooded hills rise from an elevation of 400 feet along the lower reaches of the Black River as it traverses the park to a peak elevation of 804 feet, and even walking to the choicest picnic spots can be arduous. The topography is rugged.

A feature worth noting is "Indian Mill" -- a pothole in the stream.


You can follow the trail from near the park office heading south and go in a circle clockwise. You pass the picnic area, then go over the bridge over the Black River, follow parallel to the Black River, cross over a bridge over the Rinehart Brook, and then cross over the Rinehart Brook, to the playground, past the restrooms, and back to the parking area.

Other Facilities:

Picnic areas located along Trout Brook and Black River.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
April 24, 1996

Acer rubrum (red maple) 4/24/96
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Dirca palustris (leatherwood) reported by John Medallis
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/24/96
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Vinca minor (periwinkle) 4/24/96

Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium tricoccum (wild leek)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone) 4/24/96
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemesia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) 4/24/96
Erythronium americanum (trout lily) 4/24/96
Geum sp. (avens)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia waterleaf)
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Panax trifolius (dwarf ginseng)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Uvularia sp. (bellwort)
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore)
Viola rotundifolia (round-leaved violet) 4/24/96
Viola sororia (common blue violet) 4/24/96

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium sp. (club moss)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Narrow-leaved bittercress (Cardamine impatiens) found here.

Source:  Guy Tudor.  Now You See It, Now You Don't: A selected list of New York and New Jersey wildflowers and flowerings shrubs not covered in the standard regional guides. The Linnaean News Letter. Volume 59, Number 3, May 2005. 

From the Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society


June 12, 1937, Chester, NJ.

Eight members and friends of the Torrey Club visited Hacklebarney State Park on the above date. The Park has been visited previously, April 10, 1932 under the leadership of Mrs. G. P. Anderson, and May 2, 1937 with the present leader. For most botanical purposes either of the above dates would be preferable to the present one, providing a more interesting display. We found the spring flowers and Azalea to be past while the mountain Laurel was not along far enough to be conspicuous. Probably the most interesting flowering plant observed was the Penstemon which was seen in abundance in a field just outside the park boundary. Many of the common ferns were seen, the Christmas Fern being present in greatest abundance. Sensitive, Hay-scented, New York, Marginal Shield, Long beech, Ebony spleenwort, Maidenhair, Polypody, Bracken, and some fine specimens of Rattlesnake fern were found.

The Park is located in a gorge of the Black River and crossed by Rhinestone Brook and Trout Brook. The water is too rough for aquatic plants but occasionally on the banks a limited amount of marsh vegetation may be seen. In the most precipitous part of the gorge there is a well developed Hemlock ravine flora. A small area of abandoned land illustrates the succession under such conditions. Red Cedar and Grey Birch may be seen. The greatest area of the park is an Oak-Hickory forest typical of the region in which the Park is located. It is In an advanced state of development with good reproduction and some invasion of the Beech-Maple association in parts of the Park. In earlier times there was an abundance of Chestnut, which succumbed to the blight disease and is now represented only by frequent dead trees, stumps, and sprout reproduction.

Among the most pleasing things at the park is the hospitality of the superintendent, Mr. C. E. Pollocks, and the way that he has developed the park by cutting narrow footpaths with a minimum of disturbance of the native plants. There is almost no introduction of foreign species nor is there any attempt to rearrange the native ones, a pleasant contrast to the situation at many parks. Leader John A. Small.

Hacklebarney State Park, NJ 5/3/1952 .

The dwarf ginseng was abundant here as at Tiorati but in addition a spectacular number of Orchis spectabilis was seen in three or four stands. The similarity of this terrain with that visited the previous week was noted. A few additional spring flowers were noted in bloom. One of the few locally known stands of the hepatic, Metzgeria furcata, was visited and found to be increasingly slowly in its extent. Leader, Lee A. Ellison, total attendance 9.