Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hackensack’s Borg’s Woods and Wawayanda Swamp Natural Area

The improving weather makes many of us more enthusiastic about getting out for a walk or hike. Looking through the many options at NJ Urban Forest, I came upon two north Jersey possibilities for this weekend.

Both of these rambles go through areas that were once commercially owned and that were obtained for preservation and recreation.

First up is Hackensack’s Borg’s Woods. About 14 acres of Borg’s Woods were originally owned by Macromedia, Inc. which planned to build a condominium development in the mid-1980’s. After years of legal battles, Bergen County purchased the parcel in 1994 and an additional acre of the Summit Hill Ridge was purchased from two homeowners by the County in 1995.

Of course, these urban forests - as the name suggests - have pretty mild and shorter "hikes" that serious hikers would consider more of a walk.

The second trek goes through a section of Wawayanda State Park. The park was one of the first major acquisitions by the New Jersey Green Acres program made in 1963 from the New Jersey Zinc Company.

“Wawayanda” is like many NJ locations, of Lenape Indian origin. The word is said to mean "water on the mountain" although in modern parlance some say it means “way way yonder” since the park is rather remotely located in northwestern Passaic and southeastern Sussex counties.

The hike offered takes you to a rare inland Atlantic White Cedar swamp in the 2,167 acre park. The Wawayanda Swamp Natural Area is the largest natural area present in the park.

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