River Road Park
Bedminster Township, Somerset County, NJ


US 80 west to US 287 south; take Exit 22; turn right onto Rt. 202/206; drive 0.1 of a miles and turn right for the “jug handle”;  at the signal light go straight through the intersection onto River Road heading west;  in a very short distance turn right into the active recreation area parking area; you can continue driving on the dirt road to an area nearer to the natural area. 

The Robert J. Stahl Natural Area parking area is reached by heading about another 0.15 of a mile west on River Road and making a right into the parking area. 

There are three main areas of the park:
1) the active recreation area;
2) the Robert J. Stahl Natural area;
3) the area found between River Road south to the North Branch of the Raritan River.


The Jacobus Vanderveer House is being preserved by the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.  Funding came from a grant from the Somerset County Historical Preservation Grant Program and a matching grant from the Garden State Historical Preservation Trust Fund.

June 14, 2003  -- dedication of the new Bike and Hike Trail.


4 Baseball Fields for different levels of play (when no soccer);
2 Soccer in Spring & 2/3 in Fall ( when no baseball in play);
Fishing—Access to North Branch Raritan River

Access to Hike & Bike Trail

Bird Watching—Robert Stahl Natural Area located off River Road ¼ mile from the intersection with Rt. 202/206.

The bike trail begins on Main Street at the old school, connecting the Bedminster Township Elementary School to Miller Lane Recreation Area, follows the Albert Winkler/Herbert Snyder Nature Trail, around “The Pond”, past AT&T’s Headquarters to River Road Park. Connection to Robertson Drive in The Hills is expected to be completed in late Spring 2003.

11/01/04.  I parked deep inside the active recreation area, behind one of the ball fields.  (I passed by the pedestrian/bike rider overpass that brings the hiker/biker on the Bedminster Hike and Bike Trail into the park from downtown Bedminster.)  I started walking north and passed an enclosed dog run area on the left and the Jacobus Vanderveer House on the right.  I found a wide lawn path headed into the woods.  Shortly the path turns to the left and then in a short distance a rectangular loop trail starts.  It is a red-blazed trail but one without directional marks right or left.  Even so, it would be hard to make a mistake and get lost.  There were many wet spots along the trail.  In one area the dominant shrub was the Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii).  There are also a couple of areas dominated by red cedars. 

My next stop was the Robert J. Stahl Natural Area.  There are a lot of large fields in this area with some woods in the background.  Near the parking area are two small, shallow ponds, one on the left and one on the right.  Walked past the remains of a silo (I guess) and then came to the really large fields.  One can make a short loop trail or larger ones depending on how far the person wants to walk.  I took a shorter loop trail with a side trip into the woods.  The red-blazed woods trail was wet/muddy and soon ended at a horse farm.  I turned around and went back to the fields; turned right and then left and left again to get back to the entrance path by the silo. 

 I crossed over River Road and went into to the woods in order to reach the North Branch of the Raritan River.  The entrance path was yellow blazed.  It was not such an easy walk because there is a ditch that I found a hard time getting over to the other side.  It was also a muddy area.  I had to walk one way then another until I found a way around the wet area.  I bushwhacked my way around the ditch and then came out to the trail.  Walked to the River, which now was shallow and only 15-20 yards wide.  After looking at the river vegetation, I turned around and then turned right (east) taking a blue-blazed trail along the river.  I lost track of the blue blazes but decided to walk all the way down to the highway bridge over the River and turn left.  The trail took me back to River Road opposite the entrance for the active recreation area of the park.  Turned left and walked along the road back (west) to the car. 

I think the area is worth visiting because there are a lot of different habitats: woods, lawn, fields, ponds, river, and a large waste area.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Source: Bedminister Township http://www.bedminster-nj.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={EAD66730-DC49-426A-BDD7-405A395885B}

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 11/01/04

Acer negundo (ash-leaf maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Betula populifolia (gray birch) 
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Celtis occidentalis (American hackberry)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce)
Picea sp. (spruce)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)  lots and lots of it; in some sections it is the dominant shrub
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (northern bayberry)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush)
Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

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

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster novae-angliae (New England aster) *
Aster spp. (aster) *
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Callitriche sp. (water starwort)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) *
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium vulgaris (bull thistle)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Erigeron sp. (fleabane)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Gnaphalium obtusifolium (sweet everlasting) *
Hieracium sp. (hawkweed)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) *
Ludwigia palustris (water purslane)
Myosotis sp. (forget-me-not)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)
Penstemon sp. (beardtongue) ?
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tear thumb)
Polygonum spp. (smartweed) *
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Pycnanthemum sp. (mountain mint)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Trifolium repens (white clover) *
Urtica dioica var. dioica (stinging nettle)
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena hastata (blue vervain)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Wolffia sp. (water meal)

Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Cyperus sp. (nut or umbrella sedge)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Andropogon virginicus (Virginia brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Digitaria sp. (crab grass)
Echinochloa sp. (barnyard grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panic grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Sorghastrum nutans (Indian nut grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)