Dismal Harmony Natural Area
East Main Street, Brookside, Mendham Township, Morris County, NJ
146 acres


From the north heading south. Get off US 287 at exit 30B for Tempe Wick Road and Jockey Hollow. Follow Tempe Wick Road until it reaches Route 24. Turn right. At the light, turn left onto Cold Hill Road (you will pass signs for the Patriot's Path -- here known as the John T. Cunningham Trail -- on the right). Turn right onto West Main Street. Drive past the intersection with Woodland Road on the left and turn left into the parking area near the intersection with Tingley Road.

There are four access points (Patriots' Path connects to all of them):
Gordon Lane off East Main Street;
Tingle Road at intersection with Washington Valley Road;
at the end of Stoney Hill Road; and
at the bend on Woodland Terrace.


Harmony Brook flows outs of the Clyde Potts Reservoir and through parts of the natural area. In the middle of Dismal Harmony is Dismal Brook.


18th and 19th century -- the two brooks powered several mills in the downtown Brookside area. (Remains of stone walls from the farming era are evident throughout the property, as well as millponds and millraces.)

1716 -- Colonel John Evans purchased 1666 acres, including all of Brookside.

1727 -- Scotsman Henry Clark came to Brookside.

1750 -- Clark builds a dam and sawmill at the head of Dismal Glen.

1842 -- Stephen Earl Connet had a sawmill powered by Harmony Brook on Woodlane Road.

1850 -- village of Harmony settled (now covered by the Clyde Potts Reservoir built in the early 1930s).

The ground of the natural area was logged at least twice.

1937 -- Boy Scout Camp Swastika located south of Woodland Terrace. The cabin later burned down.

1960s -- cabin restored; later destroyed by fire and replaced by a log Adirondack shelter.

1967 -- the Badenhausen family sells 77 of its 300 acres in the heart of Brookside; it was the first natural area to be established in Mendham Township and the first open space parcel in New Jersey funded by the Green Acres program. The purchase was made possible through the generosity of residents and with the help of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

1994 (June 4) -- the park is dedicated.

1997 -- easement for the Patriots' Path.

A plaque on the park sign says "In memory of Muriel Evans Reisner: 1923-1997; her parkland vision blossomed into the Dismal Harmony Natural Area."

The name of the park comes from the two streams that flow through the property: Dismal Brook and Harmony Brook.


A section of Patriots' Path is part of the extensive trail system on this property. The Patriots' Path heads north along Dismal Brook and goes out at Washington Valley Road.  The Path passes through Brookside and Dismal Harmony Natural Area along the old roadbed of the "Rockabye Baby" Railroad.

Dismal Harmony Natural Area is bordered to the east by 198 acres of woods and streams donated to the Morris County Park Commission by the Badenhausen family. This beautiful natural area now comprises 344 acres which support an abundance of wildlife and offer impressive views from rock ledges and outcroppings.

In the north part of the park is Legend Rock where it is said the Clarks hid from the Indians in the cave within these rocks.

In the northwest corner is Blueberry Ridge where there is an overlook from which one can see Clyde Potts Reservoir.

Two ponds on the Salisbury Tract were once one large ice pond.

November 15, 21003. Brief stop only. The ice ponds appear completely dry.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Juglans cinerea (butternut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Tilia americana (American basswood)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black raspberry)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)

Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)

Lycopodium spp. (club moss)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal wood fern)
Polypodium sp. (rock cap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas fern)