Fredon Township, Sussex County, NJ
412 acres


Sussex County, NJ. From New York City take I-80 west to exit 27, about 50 miles from the George Washington Bridge. Take U.S. 206 about 10 miles north to Springdale; go west (left) on Fredon Road (Route 618) (at Rt. 206 mile marker equivalent to 106.3). The preserve is directly across from the northern border of Whittingham WMA (a little west of the first dirt parking lot on Fredon Road). I parked at the intersection of Fredon Road and Springdale Garden Road. Then I walked a little ways east and ducked into the woods by a pile of logs blocking the pathway.


Revolutionary War  --  A large rock shelter on the southern edge of Muckshaw Ponds Preserve served as a hideout and headquarters for Revolutionary War Loyalist spy, Lt. James Moody. Many legends arose about Moody and his exploits during his stay in a Muckshaw cave.  A farmer from Knowlton Township, Sussex County, Moody claimed that he recruited about 500 men  from along the Delaware, in both New Jersey & Pennsylvania, for a possible British attack under Howe in the area (an attack that never happened).  He later tried unsuccessfully to kidnap the "Rebel" governor of New Jersey, William Livingston.  He then snuck back into Sussex County to capture Rebel officers. Moody was later captured by troops under General Anthony Wayne who were heading for an attack on the British in Bergen County (but later escaped to do more mischief to the Americans).  (source:

1988  --  established.

Purchase of 34 acres of this property from Bruce and Marie Lundberg.

1999  -- recent new additions to the land. A 52 acre tract was sold by Charles and Henrietta Smith who sold the property as an addition to this limestone wetland. 

Another addition was the 198-acre Valley View Farms, a working farm that abuts a sinkhole pond; it is home to many of the threatened species of the area.

2002  --  The Duke Foundation helped save the Valley View Farms and PMI projects in Sussex County, near Newton and Andover. The Valley View Farms was about to become the site of two major developments, totaling 420 new homes, several times the number of building permits issued in these towns in any given year.

The Nature Conservancy eventually bought both Valley View Farms and the PMI site, totaling 333 acres, for $4.25 million, of which $1.15 million came from The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

(Info from

According to ecologist Kathy Strakosch Walz:

"The soluble carbonate bedrock which underlies the ponds and the surrounding ridges dissolves slowly over geologic time, making the groundwater mineral rich and the soil highly alkaline," explained Kathy. She noted that this ongoing process forms sinking streams (sometimes disappearing underground and then reappearing yards, even miles, away), caves and sinkholes characteristic of this area's karst topography. The vernal ponds at Muckshaw exist in many of these sinkholes, filling with water in the winter and spring and then drying out in the summer and fall.

"The area is very rich botanically," she added. "The plants in both the forest and ponds have special adaptations for living in alkaline soils, and the plants in the ponds also have adapted to widely fluctuating water levels."


rock outcrops, steep wooded ridges, calcareous forest, several limestone sinkhole ponds

There is a high concentration of state-endangered plants and animals. Rare longtail salamanders (Eurycea longicauda longicauda) make their home in this habitat as well.

Aster borealis (rush aster)
Galium trifidum (small bedstraw)
Schoenoplectus torreyi (Torrey's bulrush)
Scutellaria leonardii (small skullcap)
Sagitartarua cuneata (arum-leaved arrowhead)
Carex lupuliformis (hop-like sedge)
Carex oligocarpa (few-fruited sedge)
Orysopsis asperifolia (white-grained mountain rice)

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) 5/10/00
Fagus grandifolia (beech)
Fraxinus sp. (red ash?) with fluted bottoms in the water
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Juglans nigra (black walnut) -- lots
Juglans nigra (black walnut) -- lots
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Ostrya virginiana (hop hornbeam)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) small plantation
Populus grandidentata (big tooth aspen)
Populus sp. (white poplar?)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus virginiana (choke cherry) 5/09/00
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock) -- dead one

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) 5/10/00
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle) 5/10/00 lots and lots
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush)
Vaccinium corymbosum (high bush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry) 5/10/00
Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry) 5/10/00
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowhead viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum) 5/10/00
Vinca minor (periwinkle)
Zanthoxylum americana (northern prickly ash)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yamroot)
Menispermum canadense (moonbeam)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Actaea alba (doll's eyes) 5/10/00
Ajuga reptans (ajuga) 5/10/00
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/10/00
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone) 5/10/00
Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaved pussytoes) 5/10/00
Aquilegia canadensis (columbine) 5/10/00
Arabis lyrata (lyrate-leaved rockcress)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Aster borealis (rush aster)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 5/10/00
Cardamine hirsuta (hoary bittercress)
Cerastium arvense (field chickweed) 5/10/00
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 5/10/00
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Conopholis americana (squawroot)
Cypripedium calceolus (yellow lady's slipper orchid) 5/10/00
Euphorbia cyparissias (cypress spurge) 5/10/00
Galium aparine (cleavers) 5/10/00
Galium sp. (wild licorice type)
Galium trifidum (small bedstraw)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 5/10/00
Geum sp. (avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill over the ground) 5/10/00
Hepatica americana (round-leaved hepatica)
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 5/10/00
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed)
Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow star grass) 5/10/00
Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)
Iris sp. (iris)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) 5/10/00
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely)
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)
Podophyllum peltatum (may apple)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal) 5/10/00
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil) 5/10/00
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaf crowfoot) 5/10/00
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 5/10/00
Ranunculus bulbosus (bulbous buttercup) 5/10/00
Ranunculus recurvatus (hooked crowfoot) 5/10/00
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)
Saxifraga virginiensis (early saxifrage) 5/10/00
Senecio obovatus (round-leaved ragwort) 5/10/00
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal) 5/10/00 soon
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 5/10/00
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cat tail)
Uvularia perfoliata (perfoliate bellwort)
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica arvense (corn speedwell) 5/10/00
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Viola cucullata (marsh blue violet) 5/10/00
Viola sororia (common blue violet) 5/10/00

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Luzula multiflora (wood rush) 5/10/00
Schoenoplectus torreyi (Torrey's bulrush)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium digitatum (arbor-vitae looking one)
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)
Athyrium filix-femina (northern lady fern)
Botrychium sp. (grape fern) lots and lots
Cystopteris fragilis (fragile fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)


The group stopped at the Trollius laxus station in Greendell Swamp, to find it in a profusion of bloom. While engaged in observing this local species, a wedge of Canada geese was seen and heard overhead. Golden club was in bloom and showy orchid in bud near Springdale. Ricciocarpus and the edible morel were located near Swartswood Lake. A stand of yellow water crowfoot (Ranunculus flabellaris) was found in a tiny pond near the Sunrise Mountain Road entrance to Stokes Forest and nearby the previously discovered station of Trillium erectum was noted to be increasing in size.

Attendance 27, leader David Fables.