Limestone Ridge and Marsh Preserve
Blairstown Township, Warren County, NJ
96.7 acres

not far from Beech Ridge Preserve on Belcher Road.


US 80 west to Exit 12 (Route 521 north --Hope-Blairstown Road); yield right onto Route 521; drive 4.0 of a mile and turn left onto Rt. 607 (Edgehill Road); drive 0.8 of a mile and turn left onto Cedar Lake Road (Route 616); in 0.4 of a mile you will pass a horse stables on the right that now also  belongs to the public; drive 0.3 of a mile more and turn left and park near a gate.  (You will see the public park signs.)


Cedar Lake was at first known as Buttermilk Pond (because a spring would erupt every seven years roiling up the waters and leaving a milky color).  Many township and local picnics were held at Buttermilk Pond.

1867  --  Cedar Lake House was built and attracted many boarders from Philadelphia. Cedar Lake became a popular resort.

1910  - the Lackawanna railroad dammed both ends of the lake and pumped water uphill to a water tower by the tracks.

1951  -- the end of Cedar Lake House.

The lake is now quite bucolic. 

(Source: Blairstown Bicentennial Committee, 1976, To the United States of America on its 300th Birthday and to the People of Blairstown.)

November 21, 2001  -- property acquired by the Green Acres Program along with the State Division of Parks and Forestry.


mossy limestone outcrops; deciduous hardwood forest; fern-lined former logging trails


There is a plan to develop a trail link to the adjacent Paulins Kill Valley Trail. The new Ridge and Valley Conservancy trail branch will be within easy walking distance of the Paulins Kill Valley Trailhead at Footbridge Park in Blairstown. Source:

4/24/04. We came at the preserve from the wrong way.  We parked along Heller Hill Road (near its intersection with Edgehill Road).  Walked along the ridge overlooking a lake.  We were walking partly on private property, but did reach lands belonging to the preserve.  There was a lot of red cedar and Japanese barberry on the ridge.  The property owner Kenneth Bertholf was very nice in telling us where the official entrance of the preserve was to be found.  He told us that he had sold some of his own property to the state for the sake of public enjoyment.  He is also the author of the photo book on Blairstown from Acadia Press, his efforts helped by the fact that his family has been in Blairstown for four generations. 

We drove to the official entrance, but did not walk the property as it was getting late and we wanted to find the entrance for nearby Beech Ridge Preserve. 

5/01/04.  This time we came to the actual official entry place.  The wide trail heads uphill going southeast, then south, then west through a big field being overtaken by autumn olive and then southwest and back to south.  Then all of a sudden the trail just dead ends in an area that contains a lot of building remains of (houses?). We turned around and headed northwest to Cedar Lake.  We then realized, because of the increasing number of private property signs, that we would have to return the way we came.  So we did.  It was a beautiful day (perhaps a little too warm) and we were very pleased with the many species found in bloom. 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = date plant found in bloom (5/01/04)

Acer platanoides (Norway maple) 5/01/04
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) 5/01/04
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus (deltoides)? (cottonwood)?
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus sp. (cherry) 5/01/04
Pyrus malus (apple) 5/01/04
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock) groves of it
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 5/01/04
Cornus alternifolia (alternate-leaved dogwood) ? small shrub
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) 5/01/04 lots of it
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Forsythia sp. (golden bells) 4/24/04 5/01/04
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/24/04 5/01/04
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) lots of it
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush)
Staphylea trifolia (bladdernut)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)  4/24/04

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Actaea sp. (baneberry)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/01/04
Allium tricoccum (wild leek)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone)  5/01/04
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Aquilegia canadensis (columbine) 5/01/04
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 5/01/04
Cardamine concatenata (cut-leaved toothwort) 5/01/04
Cardamine parviflora (dryland bittercress) 4/24/04
Cardamine pensylvanica (Pennsylvania bittercress) 5/01/04
Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 5/01/04
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) 4/24/04 5/01/04
Conium maculatum (poison hemlock) ? 5/01/04
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches) 5/01/04
Dipsacus sylvestris (teasel)
Erigeron sp. (fleabane)
Fragaria virginiana (strawberry) 5/01/04
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) 4/24/04 5/01/04
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hepatica americana (round-lobed hepatica)
Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia water leaf)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Mitella diphylla (two-leaved mitrewort)  5/01/04
Narcissus sp. (daffodil)
Podophyllum peltatum (may apple)
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth true Solomon's seal) 5/01/04soon
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil) 5/01/04
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 4/24/04
Prenanthes alba (tall white lettuce)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaf buttercup) 5/01/04
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Sanicula sp. (sanicle)
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solidago sp. (goldenrod)
Stellaria media (common chickweed) 4/24/04 5/01/04
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 5/01/04
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue) 5/01/04
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Trillium erectum (red trillium)
Urtica dioica v. procera (tall stinging nettle)
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore)
Viola cucullata (marsh blue violet) 5/01/04
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet) 4/24/04 5/01/04
Viola sororia f. (confederate violet) 5/01/04
Viola sororia (common blue violet)  4/24/04 5/01/04
Viola sp. (a white violet)  5/01/04

Luzula multiflora (wood rush) 5/01/04

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) 4/24/04 5/01/04
Carex stricta (tussock sedge) 5/01/04

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) 5/01/04
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Asplenium trichomanes (maidenhair spleenwort)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Cystopteris fragilis (fragile fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)