247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township, Morris County, New Jersey

40 acres


No Dogs.

The Great Swamp has two separate environmental centers: Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and The Environmental Education Center.


I-80 West to I-287 South. Take the Madison Avenue (exit 35).  Turn left onto Madison Avenue (Route 124);  continue past Drew University on the right and turn right shortly afterwards onto Green Village Road; drive 1.2 miles which will bring you to the intersection of Greenville Avenue and Shunpike Road (where there are at least two gas stations); continue straight through the intersection onto Southern Boulevard; drive 1.2 miles and turn right into the center.   


The Great Swamp was created around 15,000 years ago, when the melting waters of the Wisconsin Glacier poured into the natural basin known as the Passaic Valley.


1959 the Great Swamp Committee of the North American Wildlife Foundation mobilized many volunteers to preserve the area from the threat of a jetport.

1960 the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge established.

1963  --  opening of the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center.


teaching center for natural history, two classrooms, school programs, meeting rooms, a large auditorium, a natural history library, natural history displays


Two miles of self-guided trails.  There a quite a few boardwalks through the swampy areas.  

5/07/2005.  Sarah-David Rosenbaum, Ceferino Santana, Rosemary Cooney and I walked all the trails available at the center.  We started with the green trail that started at the parking lot and ended at the center's building.  This was more woods than swamp.  The red trail starts behind the center's building.  It goes through swamp and then comes out to a power cut and a huge field area.  The trail loops around until it also comes back to the center building.  We ate lunch.  After lunch we picked up the orange loop trail (off the the right side of the front of the center's building) that goes through a combination of woods and swamp.  Some good plants along the boardwalk here.  Half-way through the orange trail we took the small blue loop trail.  Here there are lots of mountain laurel along with some very small ponds. The loop trail brings one back to the orange trail and we resumed our loop walk around the orange trail.  The orange trail brings the walker back to the center.   It does not take very long to cover all the trails available.  We were especially pleased to find some plants not on Karl Anderson's excellent plant list for the Great Swamp.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


Karl Anderson, park staff, etc.

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Amelanchier arborea (common shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)  planted
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)  *
Fagus grandifolia (America beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus sp. (apple)  *
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Salix sp. (willow)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)  planted
Chimaphila maculata (wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Cornus amomum swamp dogwood
Cornus alternifolia (alternate-leaved dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)  *)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)  *
Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower)
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp honeysuckle)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Salix sp. (willow)
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet)
Toxicodendron vernix (poison sumac)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)  *
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum v. lucidum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)  *soon
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Dioscorea villosa (wild yam root)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp.(fox grape)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Agrimonia sp. (agrimony)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)  *
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Apocynum sp. (dogbane)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster sp. (aster)
Barbarea vulgaris (winter cress)  *
Caltha palustris (marsh marigold)  *
Cardamine pensylvanica (Pennsylvania bittercress)  *soon
Cardamine rhomboidea (spring cress)  *
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty)  *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)  *
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geranium sp. (geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground)  *
Hypericum sp. (St. Johnswort)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Iris sp. (iris)
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lycopus virginicus (Virginia bugleweed)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medeola virginiana (cucumber root)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Narcissus sp. (daffodil)
Nuphar advena (spatterdock)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)  *
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum sp. (knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil) 
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)  *
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot)  *
Ranunculus hispidus var. caricetorium (swamp buttercup)  *
Rudbeckia hirta v. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion)  *
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadow rue)
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore)
Viola cucullata (marsh blue violet)  *
Viola pallens (northern white violet)  *
Viola sororia (common blue violet)  *

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

Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass) 

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)

Sphagnum spp. (sphagnum mosses)