Gerard Woods
Beaver Lake, Hardyston Township, Sussex County, NJ
1,200 acres

The woods are located around Lake Gerard; the property will link Sparta Mountain and Hamburg Mountain State Wildlife Management Areas. The woods are adjacent to the Newark Pequannock Watershed.


US 287 to the exit for Route 23; drive northwest on Route 23; you will pass the Newark Pequannock Watershed (around Route 515) in Sussex County; there is a road on the south side of Route 23 that circles Lake Gerard. It is located between Newark Pequannonck Watershed and Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area, northeast of Beaver Lake Road and not far southeast of Silver Grove Road. 

7/01/04.  I don't really know if I found this area or not. 


The Brady Ice Company owned both Lake Gerard and Summit Lake.  Lake Gerard had 14 icehouses.  Lake Gerard visitors and residents often ate and drank beer at the Shady Rest located along Route 23 just east of the Beaver Lake Bridge.  The building burned down..   (Truran 2004). 

1999  -- the Trust for Public Land works to save Gerard Woods in Sparta.

2004 (March 22)  --  the Trust for Public Land announced the conservation of Gerard Woods in Sparta. New Jersey Reps. Frelinghuysen and Garrett and Senator Corzine helped obtain $3 million in Forest Legacy funding for the project. Other funds came from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program ($319,000) and a $250,000 nonprofit grant to the Trust for Public Land; and a donation to TPL from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ($450,000).  The final purchase price was $4 million.

The land is to be managed by the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife.


forested mountain terrain, streams, lake


There is a hiking trail to the lake ?

7/01/04.  Heading south on Route 23, I pulled off the road at a gap in the guard rail just west of the parking area for the Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area and just before the bridge over a stream.

Parked alongside the stream.  Headed uphill from the stream and came upon the Beaver Lake Rail Trail.  I did not want to walk on this trail so I continued uphill and came to the railroad track.  Crossed over the railway tracks.  There is another un-blazed trail that parallels the railway tracks and the Beaver Lake Rail Trail.  Kept going straight past a couple of paths going off to the right, but just dead-ended at a private road saying "No Trespassing."  So returned to take one of the trails heading west.  Walked a ways along the trail until I got tired of the sameness of the plants and  turned around to return to the car.   There is evidence of ATVs on this trail with quite a few ponds in the middle of the trail. 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = blooming on the date of the field trip, 7/01/04

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya spp. (hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus Americana (white ash)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhamnus sp. (buckthorn)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Sambucus pubescens (red elderberry) lots; with red berries
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Actaea alba (white baneberry)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) *
Cichorium intybus (chicory) *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade) *
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Desmodium glutinosum (pointed leaved tick trefoil)
Dianthus armeria (wild pink) *
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) *
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium mollugo (wild madder) 6/27/01
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens) *
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort) *
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Laportea canadensis (wood nettle) *soon
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) *
Medicago lupulina (black medick) *
Melampyrum lineare (cowwheat)
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) *
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) *
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel )
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum arifolium (arrowhead tearthumb)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed ) *
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil) *
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) *
Solidago sp. (goldenrod)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) *
Trifolium repens (white clover) *
Triodanis perfoliata (Venus looking glass)
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)
Urtica dioica var. dioica (stinging nettle)
Uvularia perfoliata (perfoliate-leaved bellwort)
Veratrum viride (false hellebore)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Viola sp. (violet)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)

Cinna arundinacea (wood reedgrass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)