Tory Rocks Wildlife Sanctuary
305 acres

Located between Norvin Green State Forest and the Wanaque Wildlife Management Area.


Located off Burnt Meadow Road and just upstream of the Wanaque Reservoir and abuts a section of Norvin Green State Forest.

Rt 287 to exit 55. Ringwood Ave; go 3 miles north to make a left turn onto West Brook Road; drive 2.3 miles and turn right onto Magee Road;  in 0.2 of a mile turn left onto Burnt Meadow Road; drive1.4 miles. The property is on the right where the road turns to dirt; the Passaic River Coalition has placed signs on the trees along the dirt road.


Here are granite outcroppings and glacial till streams.

The tract contains a segment of Burnt Meadow Brook (a Wanaque Reservoir tributary) and two of the best scenic vistas on the Stonetown Circular Trail (Tory and Signal Rocks).  From atop the mount knob you can see the peak in Sterling Forest to the north.


According to legend, British Tories hid out in the caves here during the American Revolution.

1986 -- Tom Sergi, a former Planning Board member, talks with Jeff Tittel, a Ringwood resident and later director of the state chapter of the Sierra Club, about the threat to the area from a South Jersey development group.

1987 -- formation of Skylands CLEAN, a citizens group formed to save the Tory Tract, as well as other sites.

1992 -- Tory Rocks was one of 24 Highlands properties auctioned to developers by the federally-funded Resolution Trust Corp.  Poultry Investors LLC gains the property in a bankruptcy auction for $467,000 dollars.

There was a 15 year struggle to save this area. The Republican-dominated Ringwood Council opposed Green Acres projects throughout most of the 1990s and this one was no different. The  valuable open space was slated for more than 175 homes.

2001 -- Public and private funds were used to pay the $1.1 million dollars required. It was purchased by the Passaic River Coalition. Groups included in the coalition were the state Green Acre program, Passaic County’s open space trust fund, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, and the Victoria Foundation.

Source: Jan Barry; "A little slice of heaven." The Record, November 6, 2001, L-3.  And  The Highlands Coalition’s quarterly newsletter "High Grounds" Winter 2001; published by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC);


steep slopes, dense forest, wetlands, and trout streams


The Stonetown Circular, a 9.6-milepath long maintained by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, traverses the tract. 

5/10/2005.  On a beautiful day, I parked on the right, just before the last house on the left before the dirt road starts, in a little slot surrounded by Japanese knotweed.  Straight ahead is a small path.  It soon reaches the red triangle trail going right (south) and left (east).  I followed the trail to the left and it quickly turned right and went over the ridge to the other side.  The ridge is covered with the typical heath plants.  There is a great jumble of  rocks ahead that is quite picturesque (Tory Rocks).  It does not take long to climb up to the top of the rocks.  There are some good views here of the surrounding hills in the area.

Turned around and went back to the road.  I decided to walk up the dirt road.  I saw the Passaic River Coalition's wildlife sanctuary signs on the trees.  But I also saw the red triangle markers.  I walked up the road a ways.  There has been quite a lot of dumping in the area.  I took a right turn onto an old woods road following the trail.  There are signs of biking activity. The road keeps on going while the red triangle trail turns right to head south up the hill away from the old woods road which keeps going straight.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = 5/19/2005  plant found in bloom.

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) *
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway maple)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Shrubs and Sub-shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Forsythia sp. (golden bells) planted
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) *
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pink azalea)  *
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) *
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)  *
Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry)  *
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)  *

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Wisteria sp. (wisteria)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)  *
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)  *
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster spp. (aster)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 
Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern)
Daucus carota (Queen Ann's lace)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)  *
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)  *
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)  *
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot)  *
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Uvularia sessilifolia (bellwort)
Viola sagittata (arrow-leaved violet)  *
Viola sororia (common blue violet) *
Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell)  *

Luzula multiflora (wood rush)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex sp. (sedge)

Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Luzula multiflora (wood rush) *

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris sp. (woodfern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)

(rock tripe lichen)