Helen Woodman Natural Area
Far Hills, Somerset County NJ
20 acres

This property is adjacent to the North Branch of the Raritan River and the Far Hills Fairgrounds.


From I-287: Take exit 22 for Routes 202/206 North. Bear right onto Route 202 North. Drive 1.8 miles on Route 202 North to Peapack Road (second traffic light). Turn left onto Peapack Road. Drive 0.2 of a mile and turn left into the Far Hills Fairgrounds parking lot. Park at the far end, near the River. Follow the trail upstream to the preserve.


floodplain forest


The fair grounds has: basketball court, children's playground, two gall fields, and the fairgrounds themselves.


A trail runs parallel to the river and fishing is allowed in the trout-stocked waters.

04/05/2005.  Tuesday.  Dog Sonar and I walked along the stream that was still running fast from our weekend of flooding rains. There are a lot of pin oaks in the area.  The flood plains was a bit muddy and trying to cross a smaller stream flowing into the river was a real problem.  I found a place where I thought I could cross safely because of the small "sand bars," but quickly learned that the seemingly solid surface was more like liquid mud and. I got quite wet and muddy.  I kept going until I reached a private property sign and then turned back.  I found a fellow putting his shirt back into his pants and he told me he had taken quite a tumble into the mud while trying to cross the stream.  He felt better when I told him I had done the same thing.  I decided to walk farther upstream until I found a safe place, which I was able to do without too much looking.  It is a short walk back and forth.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant blooming on date of the field trip, 04/05/2005

Acer rubrum (red maple) *
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Alnus glutinosa (black alder)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)  lots
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) lots
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera sp. (honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

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

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine)

Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)

Source: Upper Raritan Watershed Association; http://www.urwa.org/land/farhills.htm