The Meadows
Valentine Street at South Fifth Avenue, Highland Park Borough, Middlesex County, New Jersey


From Route 27 in Highland Park Borough heading south, turn left onto South Adelaide Avenue; turn left onto Sky view Terrace and turn/bear right onto Valentine Avenue.  Park in the area of Valentine Avenue at South Fifth Avenue near the Public Works Department Building at Donaldson Park. The bike path is here.  The informal blue ribbon trail is also here in the woods near the right side of the bike path. 

The other parking area is Donaldson Street at South 7th Avenue.

A small stream separates the lawns of Donaldson Park from a tidal wetlands downstream. Here Donaldson Park meets the borough's riverside conservation area identified in old photos as "The Meadows."

A marshy river edge extends from Donaldson Park downstream to the Highland Park/Edison boundary at the foot of the US 1 bridge.

The ground of The Meadows rises from the river edge up to Donaldson Street, where a high plateau of dirt covers the old municipal dump. There is a hill above Crowells Road in the wooded upland portion of The Meadows. Below the hilltop is a small gorge cut by a stream descending from the end of Crowells Road. In winter one can see the bridges far down river, where it widens into Raritan Bay.


marsh, woods, and meadow.


There will be a loop trail that will allow viewing the wetlands without damaging them.

3/30/2005.  Wednesday.  Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I toured the area after finishing viewing Donaldson Park.  There is a bike path just behind the Public Works building at the northeastern area of Donaldson Park.  The bike path is at Valentine Street and South 5th Avenue.  The path goes two block or so over to Donaldson Street (at South 7tgh Avenue).  We parked along Donaldson Street and approached the bike path from the eastern end.  Approaching the Public Works building we noticed a path marked with blue ribbons hung on tree and shrub branches.  Following the rough path we had to get wet a little bit as there were still a lot of water puddles along the trail as it rained heavily on Monday. The trail took us to the Raritan River.  There is a lot of dump material visible around the area.  Continuing on the path finally dropped us at the Valley Manor Apartments located by the River.  We had to walk along the side of the apartments and then walk up the curvey road to another set of apartments.  We turned left and went along the apartment complex property edge and quickly came to Donaldson Street at it intersection with Crowells Road.  There is a stream that heads downhill at the end of Crowells Road.  We walked the two blocks to where our car was parked on Donaldson Street.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 

Source: Highland Park, New Jersey Environmental Commission;

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant blooming on date of the field trip, 3/30/2005

Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple) *)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)

Lonicera sp. (honeysuckle)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa sp. (eglanteria) ? (sweetbrier rose) ? big rose hips, curved small thorns
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Taxus sp. (yew)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Hibiscus moscheutos (swamp rose mallow)
Lamium purpureum (purple dead nettle) *
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Stellaria media (common chickweed) *
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) *
Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica persica (Persian speedwell) *

Panicum virgatum (switch grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)