Troy Meadow Road, Morris County, NJ
3,100 acres


I-80 west; exit 47 for Route 46; turn left onto South Beverwyck Road; drive .8 of a mile to Troy Meadow Road and turn left onto it; drive .8 of a mile to the end of the road where there is a parking area.

The two largest remaining wetland complexes in the Passaic River Basin are the 4275 acre Great Piece Meadow owned by various private parties and the 3100 acre Troy Meadows owned by Wildlife Preserves Inc. The latter has indicated the need to sell soon. (The Impact of Federal Programs on Wetlands - Vol. II;


This place is a remnant of the last glacier, a part of ancient Lake Passaic. A huge mass of ice broke off the glacier and rested here, enclosed in a thick layer of glacial debris. As the ice melted and settled, a depression formed, lined with the sediments deposited by the glacier. At one time the meadows were part of a vast lake of glacial meltwater that drained through the Great Falls of Paterson. Gradually, the water level dropped and marsh plants invaded the area.

late 1930's --  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Troy Meadows as a national wildlife refuge to serve the greater New York metropolitan region, but the designation was never granted.

since the early 1950's --  Troy Meadows has been reduced to half it's original size. Troy Meadows continues to be endangered by development all around it.

1954  --  the U.S. Dept of Interior rated Troy Meadows as the "only high quality inland wetland in the state of NJ" (a rating even higher than that of the Great Swamp).

1961  --  even though in this year the state of NJ announced Troy Meadows as one of its first Green Acres Projects, the state today owns only about 20 per cent of the land (with the major portion still in private hands).

spring/summer 1999  --  A piece of land has been recently added (spring/summer 1999) to Troy Meadows. Four acres of forested wetlands and several vernal ponds in suburban Parsippany-Troy Hills Township were donated by the Renfield-Miller family to the Nature Conservancy.


This is New Jersey's largest freshwater marsh, a vast plain of cattail freshwater marsh, swamp and floodplain communities. It is an example of cattail marsh along with the Hatfield Swamp, Black Meadows and the Great Swamp Refuge.

While some parts of Troy Meadows have progressed to swamp forest through the process of succession, the cattail community is extensive. A close look can be had from Edwards Road which has been rerouted nearer to the east side of the marsh to accommodate the construction of Highway 280. Where the newly routed portion of Edwards Road crosses Smiths Ditch River just north of the Hanover Airport, the cattail marsh lies close to the west side of the road. May be endangered by silting. (Bourchard and Anderson)

This National Natural Landmark is the largest remaining cattail marsh in NJ. Here is a golden prairie ringed with flaming maples and sour gum in the autumn.

Troy Meadows is one of the few places in NJ where bog turtles can be found. Bog turtles have probably never been abundant because of their unusual requirement of swampy or boggy land combined with a slow-moving stream passing through.

The swamp woodlands are a favorite habitat for wood ducks.

At the southern end of the boardwalk, a small river wanders through the marsh. Sediment washed down by the river has collected along the shores in low levees, slightly higher than the level of the marsh.


The Patriot's Path and Liberty Trail will eventually reach into Troy Meadows.

From the pond area one can look out east over a large marsh. There is a small pond area with Canada geese. There is a strange landfill here -- broken up plastic of various sorts. There is a truck path that heads southeast away from the pond area. The path soon turns into a small causeway covered with tussock sedge. (I had to turn back shortly because our recent rains caused the marshes to overflow the causeway.)

Also there is a truck path that appears on the right as one drives up to the parking area.

A dirt road parallels Route 280 (the meadow's eastern boundary) provides access to a boardwalk in the heart of the marsh. The boardwalk runs for more than two miles along a power line that crosses the marsh. A "wall" of giant reed grass (Phragmites australis) is advancing into the marsh from the route 280 side, most likely due to deteriorating water quality due to Rt. 280 runoff and lowering water levels. (Sierra Activist Photo Gallery;

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
dates = dates when plants found in bloom

Acer negundo (boxelder maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Catalpa speciosa (catalpa)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) 4/27/00
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Fraxinus pensylvanica (red ash)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus malus (apple) 4/27/00
Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak) 4/27/00
Salix nigra (black willow)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 4/27/00 lots
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/27/00
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa palustris (swamp rose)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) 4/27/00 lots of it
Viburnum dentatum (smooth arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Cuscuta sp. (dodder) 9/04/01
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Mikania scandens (climbing false buckwheat) 9/04/01
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Agalinis purpurea (purple gerardia) 9/04/01
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 4/27/00
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Allium tricoccum (ramps)? lots and lots and lots
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed) 9/04/01
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort) 9/04/01
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster sp. (another damn little white aster) 9/04/01
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 4/27/00
Bidens cernua (nodding bur marigold) 9/04/01
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 9/04/01
Cicuta maculata (water hemlock)
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium vulgare (thistle) 9/04/01
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) 4/27/00
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 9/04/01
Desmodium paniculatum (panicled tick trefoil) 9/04/01waning
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed) 9/04/01
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 9/04/01
Euphorbia nutans (upright spurge) 9/04/01
Geum sp. (avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) 4/27/00
Heteranthera sp. (mud plantain)
Hypericum mutilum (dwarf St. Johnswort) 9/04/01
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 9/04/01
Iris sp. (yellow iris probably)
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lespedeza cuneata (Chinese bush clover) 9/04/01
Lindernia dubia (false pimpernel) 9/04/01
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) 9/04/01
Ludwigia palustris (water purslane)
Lycopus sp. (water horehound) 9/04/01
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) 9/04/01
Matricaria matricarioides (pineapple weed) 9/04/01
Mentha arvensis (wild mint) 9/04/01
Mollugo verticillata (carpetweed) 9/04/01
Myosotis sp. (forget-me-not)
Nymphaea odorata (fragrant white water lily)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 9/04/01
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Penstemon sp. (beard tongue)
Penthorum sedoides (ditch stonecrop)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 9/04/01
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb) 9/04/01
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 9/04/01
Polygonum hydropiper (water pepper) 9/04/01
Polygonum hydropiperoides (mild water pepper) 9/04/01
Polygonum pensylvanicum (pink smartweed) 9/04/01
Polygonum sagittatum (arrowhead tearthumb) 9/04/01
Polygonum virginianum (Virginia knotweed) 9/04/01
Pontederia cordata (pickerel weed) 9/04/01
Portulaca oleracea (common purslane) 9/04/01
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain mint)
Ranunculus (creeping butter cup)? lots of it in the marshy ditches
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) 9/04/01
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Sagittaria sp. (arrowhead)
Scutellaria lateriflora (maddog skullcap) 9/04/01
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle) 9/04/01
Stellaria media (common chickweed) 4/27/00
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 4/27/00 9/04/01
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Trifolium repens (white clover) 9/04/01
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Urtica dioica v. dioica (stinging nettle) 9/04/01
Urtica dioica v. procera (tall stinging nettle) 9/04/01
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena hastata (blue vervain) 9/04/01
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain) 9/04/01
Viola sororia (common blue violet) 4/27/00

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

Carex crinita (sedge)
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) 4/27/00
Carex spp. (sedges)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge) 4/27/00
Cyperus esculentus or strigosus (nut or umbrella sedge)?
Cyperus sp. (flat sedge)
Eleocharis sp. (spike rush)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Cinna arundinacea (wood reed grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyard grass)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass with somewhat hidden inflorescence at base)
Eragrostis pectinacea (Carolina love grass)
Leersia oryzoides (rice cut grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass) lots and lots
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Panicum dichotomiflorum (panic grass)
Phleum pratense (timothy grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa bulbosa (bulbous bluegrass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)