Union/Lebanon Townships, Hunterdon County, NJ
95 acres


from the Flemington Area:
From the Flemington Circle, take Route 31 north 12.4 miles to Van Syckles Corner Road. Turn left and go 176 yards to Spruce Runís Fishing Access. Turn left into the parking lot and park.  The entrance to the Union Forge Nature Preserve is located on the opposite side of Van Syckles Corner Road from the parking lot for Spruce Run Reservoir.  

from I-78 Westbound:
Take exit 17 (Clinton-Washington Exit) to Route 31 north. Travel 6.6 miles to Van Syckles Corner Road. Proceed as above.


1742  --  a colonial ironworks flourished here.  William Allen and Joseph Turner, both of Philadelphia, converted the site into the Union Ironworks. They set up two separate enterprises: Union Forge in High Bridge and Union Furnace.

Revolutionary War  --  both facilities produced shoes for farm animals, farm implements, and military hardware. Allen and Turner were both Loyalists who fled during the war. The ironworks were taken over by Robert Taylor, founder of the Taylor-Wharton Foundry.

1781  --  while Taylor continued the operation at Union Forge, Union Furnace was acquired as part of the Union Farm.

1950's  --  when Spruce Reservoir was constructed the waters of the reservoir swamped the actual site of the furnace.

1980  -- Hunterdon County acquired the property with a partial donation by Dr. & Mrs. Heber Donohoe, college professors who used the land for teaching college students about biology.



A 1.5 mile trail system. The question-mark like trail is part of the Highlands Trail. It runs through the area starting at the parking lot. Part of the trail is the berm of the old mill raceway. The trail then goes up hill and emerges onto Serpentine Drive.

9/19/04.  Parked at the parking area for the Spruce Run Reservoir.  Crossed the street and went into the woods.  You shortly come onto a fork in the path.  Going via the right fork will take the hiker down along a fast running creek.  The path dead-ends near not far from Route 31.  Taking the left fork is to take the Highlands Trail marked with blue triangles.  Walked along the berms of the old mill raceway with some wet areas on the left and a big wet meadow on the right.  If one kept walking on the berm, it would dead-end as the trail got closer to Route 31.  There is a great deal of the autumn olive shrub, followed by multiflora rose and then Japanese barberry. 

My wife and I took the Highlands Trail.  Shortly the trail turns left off of the berm.  My wife waited there while I walked further along the berm path until it dead-ended.  There are the stone remains of a house or other similar structure on the right side of the berm.  Turned around and walked back to my wife and then we began following the Highland Trail again, this time uphill.  The trail bears left paralleling Route 31 but then starts a fairly steep climb.  My wife did not want to climb the mountain so she waited for me as I quickly climbed up to the top to see if I couldn't get a view looking over the reservoir.  When I got to the top there was no view and the trail started downhill.  So I turned around and walked back to my wife.  We then went back to the fork in the trail.  We saw a small box turtle.

We walked down the right fork to the creek.  There is a lot of Japanese knotweed along the creek.  Tried to get the Jack Russell Terrier Sonar to swim in the creek, but he is rather timid and preferred to walk out into the stream and then reach for the sticks thrown into the creek for retrieval.  Our previous Jack Russell terrier, Snuffy, was a real water dog and loved to swim, but Sonar is not a risk-taker we guess. 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = blooming on 6/19/04

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Gleditsia triacanthos ? (honey locust) ?
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)  -- lots of it
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)  -- very invasive here
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)  -- another invasive causing a problem
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Salix sp. (willow)
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed) *
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) *
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Actaea alba (doll's eyes)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anagallis arvensis (scarlet pimpernel) *
Arenaria serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved sandwort) *
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Cardamine impatiens (narrow-leaved bittercress)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) *
Chelidonium majus (celandine) *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade) *
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) *
Eupatorium  purpureum (sweet-scented Joe-Pye-weed)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium circaezens (wild licorice)
Geum canadense (white avens) *
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground)
Hepatica americana (round-lobed hepatica)
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) *
Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia water-leaf)
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) *
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) *I
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort)
Matricaria matricarioides (pineapple weed) *
Medicago lupulina (black medick) *
Melampyrum lineare (cowwheat)
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) *
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Myosotis scorpioides (larger forget-me-not) *
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 6/29/96
Penstemmon digitalis (foxglove beardtongue) *
Penstemmon hirsutus (hairy beardtongue) *
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Podophyllum peltatum (may apple)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed) *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)  -- lots of it
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb) Myosotis laxa (smaller forget-me-not) *
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup)
Ranunculus hispidus var. ? (swamp buttercup) ?
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) *
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue) *
Thlaspi arvense (field pennycress)
Trifolium repens (white clover) *
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Viola sp. (violet)

Rushes and Sedges:
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Carex ovales type (ovales type sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Athyrium thelypteroides (silvery glade fern)
Botrychium sp. (rattlesnake fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)