Archive for the ‘NJ State Parks’ Category
Filed Under (Birds, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, Brigantine Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, Climate Change, Destruction, Disaster, Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, Global Climate Change, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, Oceans, Weather, trails) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 24-01-2013
NJ WILD readers know that it is my practice, –even my life–, to drive to natural havens, especially in New Jersey and nearby Pennsylvania. There I restore soul and muse at nature’s fonts.
You may have wondered at my long visual silence here. I haven’t known how to write about the depredations of Sandy, about this anthropocentric chaos we humans are increasingly calling forth, with such heedlessness.
Today, a series of Sandy Damage Images literally flooded me, as I tried to eat lunch, in a place where business was happening all around me. Sandy, –as was his/her recent way with us–, intruded, dominated.
This could be termed a prose poem. Whatever it is, I am haunted, yes INUNDATED, by Sandy Souvenirs. And I’m not even addressing what it did to birds and bird habitat. This is Sandy’s impact upon a birder, this birder.
WHAT is its impact upon YOU?
“ENDURING ABSENCES” - SANDY SOUVENIRS
nests of yellow disaster tape, tangled at crossroads
tree roots dwarfing buildings
macadam bike trails cracked, sea-braided
heavy-duty doors ripped from industrial-strength hinges, –wildly flung
sand swirls like blizzard aftermaths
boardwalks to nowhere
red fire hydrant top only emerging from tall swathes of deep sand
cars where boats belong
boats where cars belong
refuge pick-up trucks upside-down in new water
red Xs on former birding sites on Audubon hot line lists — enduring absences
trees throughout Pleasant Valley more horizontal than vertical, — snow-exaggerated
ghost of a clam shack at old Leed’s Point
sea-grass from the wrack line high in Scott’s Landing woods
Brigantine’s dike road severed
salinities in freshwater-, in Brigantine’s brackish, impoundments equaling bay
palisades of orange cones
‘NO VEHICLES BEYOND THIS POINT”
trail sign flat across a Bowman’s path, — posts upended, concrete dislodged
trail itself a rushing stream that may never yet be staunched
echoes of ironic names:
where are the havens?
Filed Under (Activism, Adventure, Brigantine Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, Cumberland County, Farm Markets, Forests, Henry David Thoreau, KAYAKING, NJ, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans, Pine Barrens, Preservation, Revolutionary War, Solitude, The Seasons, Timelessness, Tranquillity, Trees, Wildflowers, habitat, protection, raptors, rivers, trails, wild, wildness) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 11-02-2012
Lake Oswego Peace — South of Chatsworth, Carolyn Foote Edelmann
Desperately seeking the wild, I’ve returned to my Edward Abbey collection, making my way through his work and others writing about this literary rebel, this self-proclaimed ‘desert rat’. It is essential right now that I live for awhile with ‘Cactus Ed’.
I need his crusty refusals of ‘growth and development’. I require his ecstasy in the face of cactus and rattlesnake. My healing leg ‘walks’ with Ed in these books — in his red rocks and among his cherished junipers, occasionally coming upon desert primrose, respecting the ever-present spider and viper.
But enough of this prickly Paradise. I have my own. And it’s in our state - in the spirit of Abbey, I defy myself to define Paradise, because mine is in New Jersey:
Lake Oswego Summer, South of Chatsworth, Pine Barrens (cfe)
shared with one attuned person or blessedly alone, sometimes with camera
there is sand, and/or marshland
Afloat, Lake Oswego — (cfe)
long silken grasses are kissed and rearranged by very varied tides
birds are ever present or possible: on the ground, in trees, ruffling the leaves, troubling the shrubs. Birds are overhead. They pierce tidal flats. Wings flat out, they harry and raptor. Some murmur, some croak. Everywhere I walk, there are whistlings, whisperings and rustlings. I am ever on the lookout for rails and bitterns, whether I ever find one or not. A bird is downing two snakes in the time it takes to type this (as did a great egret at ‘The Brigantine’ some years ago). A minuscule pied-billed grebe gulps a January frog, as happened a few weeks back.
Thistle Shimmer, Lake Batsto (cfe)
back roads get me to Paradise — hushed roads, where I am often the only car. Road edges are dusted with sugar sand. Forest understory (which must contain evergreen and the luminous black jack oak), switches from laurel to blueberry to fern to pine seedlings and oakthrusts, and back again.
New Jersey Paradise is especially defined by its people - who live by the seasons and the tides. The Abbey in me asserts, “not by the clock; and, by God, not by the Dow Jones Stock Index!”
the roads that lead to Carolyn’s Paradise must hold a beauty of their own, for at least 2/3 of the way. Pine Barrens and Salem and Cumberland County provide such aesthetic conduits, away from commerce, to wildest nature
Idyllic Batsto Lake, Pine Barrens (cfe)
roadways and destinations involve freshwater, saltwater, varying salinities, peatwater, whitewater, the stillness of the bays darkling streams wind alluringly back under the dark pines, tugging at the kayaker in me
the regions I am exploring involve bogs and fens, spongs, groves and copses
rare plants lurk right around the next bend — curly grass fern, swamp pink, carnivorous flowers who must lure insects for protein due to the strange ph of soils in Carolyn’s New Jersey Paradise — sundew, pitcher plant — those ravenous ones… when least expecting it, I am to be knocked over by wild fragrance, such as sweet pepperbush, along the peatwaters of Lake Oswego south of Chatsworth rare lilies bloom in ditches as I drive goldenclub erupts behind a dam I would otherwise despise with Abbey - but it did create this ideal habitat for a plant I’d only known in the splendid nature books of Howard Boyd
Among the Rare Lilies, Brigantine Wildlife Refuge (cfe)
often in my wanderings to and through Paradise, I must come on mosses and lichens and occasional fungi. Although I long to devour each mushroom, this foraging remains virtual, ignorance being quite the barrier where these savories are concerned
Leeds Point - Hard-Shell and Soft-Shell Crabs cfe
quaint names are essential — alongside the back roads and out in front of farms, beside the waters:
“Troublesome Acres” “Heaven’s Way Farm” “Farrier” Dividing Creek “Bears, Bucks and Ducks” Shellpile Bivalve Caviar Ong’s Hat — some of these names go back generations and centuries, and only the locals may know how to find them, by a crumbling foundation or some domestic plant run wild in another kind of wilderness Applejack Hill’s name has been changed, for the tourists, to Apple Pie Hill — Abbey, are you listening? Applejack, of course, — talk about terroir!– was/is New Jersey Lightnin’ — each Piney tending his own still with attention, experience and a shotgun.
Sneak Boat Ready to Sneak - Leeds Point (cfe)
History must have happened in my Paradise — especially Native American and Revolutionary
Here a battle must have been fought and lost, such as the fiery Revolutionary fate of Chestnut Neck.
Here locals must have defied and overcome proud dazzlingly uniformed British, taking their ships and their stores inland from the coast, along the storied Mullica River - without which waters and watermen we would not have a nation today!
Clouds in the Water, Chatsworth Bogs (cfe)
Here salt hay must have been harvested by man and horse in the steamiest of seasons, and great whales tugged ashore and ‘tried’ for their various riches.
Here traitors must’ve conspired, smugglers rowed by night, bootleggers brought contraband ashore to sell and to imbibe.
Leed’s Point - Smugglers’ Haven - Living Fishing Port cfe
Here clammers still tug their rich provender onto deck and into seafood restaurants tethered to waterways, creaking boards hinting of sagas of old, as at Oyster Creek Inn at Leeds Point.
It helps that Leeds Point is the home of the Jersey Devil, whom I am still requesting to meet.
“Ready to Roll” cfe
Intriguing restaurants must be nearby. Farmers’ Markets must be open, and people must be selling the spring’s first asparagus, sliced from that meagre soil, at roadstands with a little box for the money for this treasure beyond price. Russo’s Market in Tabernacle must have its spicy applesauce apples outside in thick plastic bags, next to the honesty box, at the beginning of winter.
Only people who treasure timelessness and tranquillity need apply for such journeys.
A day in the Pines will require about 200 miles of driving, longer if we detour to Tuckerton, formerly Clamtown. Why Tuckerton? Because great and little blue and tri-colored herons may stud the grassy reaches, depending on the tide, as we tool along Seven Bridges Road. Because there’s a place along there, –out on a somewhat suspect roadway–, where one can stop for the freshest clams, unless one has wriggled them out personally, using one’s own toes. Because at the end of this road, (and HOW I LOVE Land’s Ends!), there used to be an island village, now sea-claimed. Here, in season, one can find the vivid oystercatchers in full breeding plumage, turning over the few rocks on the sandy approach to the bay.
Life of the Seasons and the Tides Leeds Point cfe
Because closer to town, one can happen to be there when evergreens are studded with black-crowned night herons, squawk-murmuring to one another as sun drops into autumnal waters.
Carolyn’s New Jersey Paradise has to include kayaking possibilities, for her physical therapist is promising ‘back in the craft’ by April. If so, there is above all the Wading River to paddle and many ‘liveries’ to make these delicate journeys possible. There is always the exquisite Barnegat Bay in Island Beach’s back reaches - those paddles used to be free, with naturalists leading us among the Sedge Islands. There a feast of shore birds includes black skimmers not only skimming, but doing their odd sand squiggle on their bellies, when it’s just too hot.
Black Skimmers in Flight, Brenda Jones
I deeply understand Cactus Ed’s passion for the sere landscape of Arches and Canyonlands. I relish, with him, the silence. I don’t have rock formations in my Paradise, nor the song of the canyon wren and the slither of sidewinder. His Paradise is red and pink and magenta and ochre and burnt sienna and irreplaceable.
Mine is mostly forest green, toasty oak, sometimes ruddy blueberry leaves, interspersed with limitless stretches of flooded cranberry bogs, throwing back the sunset. In the distance, there is salt tang. Close up, there is the sibilance of peatwater.
If Ed had known the Pine Barrens, –especially her crusty inhabitants–, I think he’d've approved. Maybe only if he found it before Arches and Canyonlands. He might’ve kayaked the Sedge Islands, and even boarded the restored oyster schooner down at Bivalve, and helped tug the sails into the sky while singing sea chanteys.
Revolutionary Massacre Site - Alloway Creek, Salem County — (cfe)
He’d probably hang out overnight, black flies and greenheads or no, on the sands of Reed’s Beach when it’s studded with courting, mating horseshoe crabs and whatever red knots and ruddy turnstones remain on our planet.
Bucolic Salem County, where Rebels Countered Redcoats and Prevailed cfe
Paradise — for Ed and for me — seems to require a dearth of humans. It need not be awash in critters, but there needs to be that ever-possibility. Even the new health of New Jersey oysters, “Cape May Salts.” Even the restoration of sturgeon to the Delaware River and elsewhere along this state of three coasts — once so enormous and plentiful that there is a mystery town still known as Caviar along the Delaware Bay.
An essential quality of Paradise, however, is that it cannot be explained.
So, inexplicably, I assert, New Jersey, especially South Jersey (and also Sandy Hook) holds varying versions of Paradise, all of them yours for the seeing. And none of them seasonally-dependent. Go for it!
Salem Preserved cfe
AND, ABOVE ALL, SEE THAT ALL VERSIONS OF NEW JERSEY PARADISE ARE PRESERVED!
Lest, like Thoreau, we find out we had not lived…
Henry David Thoreau re Walden Year(s):
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”
Autumn Shadows, Sandy Hook
NJ WILD readers will understand that I thought I drove through Monmouth County thoroughbreds to Sandy Hook in quest of birds in November of 2010. Mother Nature had other ideas.
Winds were wild and birds were few. Actually, I saw more birders than birds. Some I questioned concerning two nearly motionless grey and white raptors late in the day had been ‘at it’, as I often have, since dawn. They hadn’t seen ‘my’ hawks, and my descriptions weren’t useful enough for Scott Barnes to assist. He did merrily remember the April day Tasha O’Neill and I had spent on their hawk watch platform when he and his deeply experienced sidekick could not keep UP with the sharp-shin count!
What high winds and higher sun did to autumn colors surpassed my life experiences, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and even in Vermont.
Autumn’s Fence, Ocean,Sandy Hook
Yet, when the day’s photographs were studied, my favorites turned out to have to do with shadows.
Woodbine Shadows, North Lookout
It was a day of whitecaps on the tidal river, drawing parasailers and windsurfers, what I first witnessed in Provence and learned of as ‘planche a voile’. Plank with sail. Winter may be in the wings, enough that I had my down ‘cardigan’ zipped to the chin. Yet hardy waterpersons were nearly stripping, then slipping into glossy wet suits, from first light til last.
It was a day of blessed solitude, every pore open to Mother Nature’s gifts.
It was a day of dazzlement.
And yet, and yet, this afternoon, re-living Sandy Hook, bright shadows carried the day.
TRIUMPH OF SHADOW, NORTH BEACH
Filed Under (Adventure, Birds, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, New Jersey, Preservation, Solitude, native species, raptors) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 07-11-2011
Dear NJ WILD Readers: In the weeks ahead, you’ll be re-seeing posts of the past, before my hip required the surgery I will undergo tomorrow. Our remarkable fine art photographer, Brenda Jones, chose this one to launch the Reminiscence Series.
ENJOY - and HIKE FOR ME
Cezanne-like Ruin at Sandy Hook
NJ WILD readers know the catalyst for most of my New Jersey expeditions — birds.
I thought I went to Sandy Hook for autumn migrants. The Muse had other ideas.
Looking back on my runaway-day, I see that I found more birders than birds. But that’s o.k. I cherish the company of birders. (seeing them as ‘real’ birders, as opposed to this eager amateur.) I treasure birders when not even they can identify the pale mystery hawks over the N.J. Audubon Center on the river side of Sandy Hook.
Up on the North Beach platform, there was more talk of birds than birds. Memories of other days, other seasons. Souvenirs of northbound flights when the experts couldn’t keep up with the sharp-shin count. The day Anne Zeman and I happened to be there for the scissor-tailed flycatcher. Memories of World Trade Center towers, once so visible from those boards, now no more than memory.
We had one desultory red-tail, but Scott Barnes had identified this one last April as resident, not migrant. A string of double-crested cormorants flew low over invisible water. I’m pretty sure we heard yellow-rumped warblers in shrubbery all around the platform. I had to soothe other ‘watchers’ in that they couldn’t see cormorant crests, not even one, let alone double. Bird books annoyingly inform us, concerning those defining field marks, that they are ‘visible only in breeding season.’ Which October definitely isn’t. Not for birds, anyway.
Sometimes, I don’t know what my adventure was about until I download the pictures. Which is how I found out that this journey was about light, not birds. Light and form. Declining light, which somehow magnified form. Even the bunkers were beautiful.
Bunker Bedecked with Woodbine
That day’s paling sun brought new gifts, highlighting structures to which I’ve evidently been oblivious until now. I’ve driven and walked that North Beach area more times than I can count, in all weathers. Most memorably in February, with Sandy Hook Rangers who bear magical keys to secret ‘gardens’ along reaches otherwise verboten. The wrack line is particularly glistening in winter; bunkers even more stark. I try to comfort my pacifist self with the fact that no shot hath been fired at Sandy Hook in anger.
What the sun revealed last weekend was a ruin right out of Cezanne!
I zoomed into a parking place, oblivious to any other drivers as though a peregrine was winging overhead. But this wasn’t about falcons.
It was about light. Light that would not only change, but (as NJ WILD readers know too well about me, this time of year), light that will LEAVE. Abandon us. Plunge us into the underworld for months on end and I will have to remember to stay very far from pomegranates or I’ll NEVER get back to the light.
The Beauty of Ruins
I was hopping all around that building, reaching here, crouching there. — The way my sister and I did that cold April at the Wetlands Institute, where the purple gallinule remained most effectively in hiding for all his vividness. That fauve bird had been seen by experts and amateurs all week, all morning, and would be seen again that evening, but not while Marilyn and I were there. And, I promise you, we left no leaf unturned. Neither of us had seen one in our lives, put together. And we still hadn’t. Crouching, rising, turning returning — that Cezanne Studio look-alike called forth my most assiduous birding behaviors.
Ruined Door, Autumn Hues, Cezanne Door, Sandy Hook Ruin
The color of the door to Cezanne’s studio in Aix is splashed into my soul — exactly the tone of the door above, taken, –yes, in New Jersey.
I’ve lingered at the door of Cezanne’s studio times beyond measure. With my husband on history-wine-and-art pilgrimages. With the Friends of the Art Museum (Princeton) in 1978, on our Romanesque France tour de Provence with legendary Hyatt Mayor, Curator of Drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1981, I’d walked those leafy grounds above A, staring at Cezanne’s own views, wishing they’d let me photograph that spill of dried fruit along a windowsill. I did this with my elder daughter, Diane, and our Princeton friends, Hope and Valerie in January. In pivotal 1984, I’d learned that this was the site to which Cher Maitre Paul had returned from painting his iconic Mte. Ste. Victoire, already breeding the cold that would kill this unparalleled artist. That trip involved Diane again, and her younger sister, Catherine. Both lived abroad that year of the strong dollar, one in Paris, one in Bergamo. That time, we shared our beloved South of France with Charlie and Rose Mary, whom I’d introduced that spring. They’d fallen in love, come with us on their ninth date. This year they took me to dinner at Eno Terra to celebrate that 26 years-ago meeting. They’re still glad I did it!
During 1987 and 88, I introduced my Provence (native French who wintered in Cannes) neighbors-of-the-villa, over and over to places in their own land that they did not know, especially Cezanne-territory. All American friends who braved Provence with me, although I’d only had those two years of meagre college French, made pilgrimage with me to Matisse’s chapel. And to Fondation Maeght. But always to Cezanne, and the Restaurant Deux Garcons which mattered so much to M.F.K. Fisher and her two daughters.
So I know the color of Cezanne’s door. It’s exactly the tone of the door above, taken one week ago.
Shadowed Ruin, North Beach, Sandy Hook
Just as on Cezanne’s studio — even the shadows on this building were arresting in beauty and sharpness.
Cezanne-Look-Alike with Woodbine
Finally I tore myself from the structure, and the cascade of Provence memories it had ignited.
I remembered, after all, you’re this Jersey Girl. You’re here to celebrate our own back yard. What else is calling out to you this day?
NORTH BEACH NATIVE SPECIES: Autumn, 2010
If Cezanne had seen what seems like NJ native wild asparagus, aglow, he’d've turned into a Fauve.
What Cezanne would never have seen, is this hot yellow fireplug. Now I ask you, why? But isn’t it merry?
Fire Safety, North Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey
Filed Under (Animals of the Wild, D&R Canal & Towpath, Delaware Bayshores, Destruction, Environment, Migratory Flocks, NJ, NJ State Parks, Native Americans, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pennsylvania, Preservation, habitat, native species, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 28-06-2011
THIS JUST IN: Steve Hiltner’s marvelous Sustainable Jazz Ensemble will be playing at Labyrinth Books every other Friday in July - July 1, 15, 29. Labyrinth is at 122 Nassau, and the music takes place downstairs. Steve’s inimitable humor assures us that “no virgin timbres are harvested for these performances.” Michael Redmond, Lifestyle and Time Off Editor of the Packet, urges, in his Packet Pick: “Be There or Be Square.” The time is 6:30, and BYO is o.k., says the Packet Pick.
On Another Note Altogether, Steve and I are in synch. I have his permission to use his Princeton Nature Notes posting on the beavers of Princeton:
Steve Hiltner, of Friends of Princeton Open Space, writes of a joyous beaver memory within a moonlit pond, hoping that such scenes “can serve as a bridge of kinship between people and nature.” Recently, that bridge was seriously shattered in our community.
I am fascinated to see results, when I Google, Princeton, Beavers, on electronic sites, showing that others are still disturbed that the lovely waters of Pettoranello Gardens proved fatal rather than life-sustaining to our Princeton beavers.
Steve maintains a charming blog, Princeton Nature Notes, which I have quoted here in the past. He officially linked to NJ WILD recently on the beaver tragedy.
Steve is also a superb musician - whose jazz last Friday graced Labyrinth Books, in their summer Friday jazz program. I so enjoyed it many Fridays last year - hearing jazz with friends surrounded by books — what could be better. Keep an eye on the Labyrinth web-site, to see when we can hear Steve’s jazz anew.
I was at the Brandywine Museum that night for Jamie Wyeth’s opening of his farm art. More to come on that after I download pictures from his father’s beloved Kuerner farm site, setting the tone for Jamie’s impeccably rendered farm creatures.
Here’s Steve’s wise reading of the beaver situation. Thanks for linking, Steve, to NJ WILD and to D&R Greenway, which shares your preservation mission in our region.
The killing of two beavers at Pettoranello Pond two weeks ago brought into the spotlight two sharply contrasting views of the animals. Beavers are adorable, and impressive in their craftsmanship. One of my most serene memories is watching a beaver swim peacefully across a moonlit pond. Their approach to living–find an auspicious spot, transform it to your needs, and make a living there–has parallels with ours, and so can serve as a bridge of kinship between people and nature.
Their inclination to change their surroundings, as in the sticks and mud they were using to obstruct water flow under this bridge, also triggers a distinctly negative view of beavers as nuisance animals. People get a pond just the way they want it, plant some pretty trees, and then a beaver comes along, changes the water level and starts eating the trees. That’s what was happening at Pettoranello Pond. Of course, if beavers are stigmatized for changing the environment, imagine what an animal community that could form and hold opinions would be thinking about us.
Beavers have been living in the canal and Lake Carnegie for a long time, and I had been wondering why they hadn’t made it up Mountain Brook to Mountain Lakes and Pettoranello Gardens. Now that they have, I’d expect more will come. My hope would be that some way could be found to accommodate the beavers while keeping the pond level stable and any valuable trees protected. There are devices that allow water through dams without the beavers being aware. In my opinion, the beavers would do Pettoranello Gardens at least one favor by thinning out its thick stands of alder along the water’s edge. If the beaver’s additions to the dam obstructed storm flow, then a spillway for heavy runoff could be dug somewhere along the bank. The pond already has a bypass upstream of it for storm surges.
Filed Under (Activism, Brenda Jones, D&R Canal & Towpath, Government, KAYAKING, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, New Jersey, Politicians, Tasha O'Neill, protection, trails, water quality) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 30-05-2011
REASON to REJOICE - D&R CANAL COMMISSION TO CONTINUE
NJ WILD readers know my passion for the D&R Canal and Towpath. For decades, as a poet, I referred to those sacred trails as “nurse, haven and muse.”
Eagle over Sculler on Lake Carnegie - D&R Canal Park - Brenda Jones
It’s never made any sense to me that we might do away with the D&R Canal Commission! That water is our drinking water. That historic landscape is beyond price. The Commission costs taxpayers nothing, which people more politically astute than I can and do explain easily. My friend and colleague at D&R Greenway, Jim Amon, is a person of the highest integrity and honor. He served as Director of the D&R Canal Commission for thirty years before coming to us as Director of Land Stewardship. It is to Jim’s vigilance, persistence, high aesthetic sense, and political savvy that we owe much of the beauty of that State Park. Even the handsome ‘new’ bridge over Route 1 at Lawrenceville, designed to echo canal bridges and wrought iron signs of yesterday, wouldn’t have happened without Jim. In all its years, the D&R Canal Commission has only missed decision deadlines ten times! Tell us what other government agency can match this record, these accomplishments.
Alexander Road Bridge, D&R Canal and Towpath, Full Summer cfe
But Governor Christie said the Commission had to go. The Commission was going to be folded into NJ DEP, that same sterling bureaucracy that just brought us the inexplicable shooting of the beavers of Mountain Lakes so-called Preserve… “And Governor Christie is an honorable man….” (please feel full irony straight from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the above quote, one of my favorite speeches in all theatre…)
Approaching Storm, Griggstown, D&R Canal and Towpath, Martha Weintraub
Many of us protested the evisceration of the D&R Canal Commission in various ways, –in person and through letters and in the hot links I am always urging NJ WILD readers to use. Thank heaven especially for Jeff Tittel, head of NJ Sierra Club, for leading the charge. Here is the result of courage and persistence.
Great Blue Heron with Fish, Lake Carnegie, D&R Canal State Park, Brenda Jones
Never cease to be vigilant in terms of saving New Jersey beauty and history.
D&R Canal State Park, Mapleton Aqueduct, cfe
On Thursday, the Senate Environment Committee unanimously released SR117 (Smith/Bateman), a resolution supporting the continued existence of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission (DRCC) and calling on the governor to authorize the commission to hire a new executive director and full-time staff.
The Assembly Environment Committee passed a similar resolution on Monday. The commission helps operate the Canal Park, which is a state and national historic district visited by 1 million people a year, and oversees land decisions that impact the state park and the water supply for 1.5 million people.
Not Only Drinking Water - Kayaker, Tasha O’Neill
“In order for the D&R Canal Commission to be an independent, professional board, the Legislature needs to support it. The DRCC brings a planning and regional perspective to development applications along the Canal that DEP does not have when it comes to land use planning,” said Jeff Tittel, director of NJ Sierra Club. “The Governor is trying to take over the DRCC and merge it with the DEP. We believe that what the administration wants to do is wrong and we applaud the Legislature for moving this resolution forward.”
The DRCC has been under attack since December when DEP Commissioner Martin recommended the board be abolished under Governor Christie’s Executive Order 15.
The Sierra Club challenged the statutory authority of the governor to eliminate the DRCC and that of the DEP to dictate who the DRCC hires. On Thursday the DRCC held a special meeting where the governor’s representative on the board outlined the administration’s plan to maintain the commission but move staff into the DEP to share resources, despite DEP staffing being at historical lows. The representative also presents two resumes from within the DEP to fulfill the executive director position, which will be vacant on June 1, leaving the DRCC with no staff to review or process permit applications.
In response, The DRCC passed a resolution stating it will decide who it will hire for their Executive Director position. The resolution also asked the Attorney General’s office to appoint legal representation to the Commission if the DEP and Department of Treasury did not place the new staff members on the payroll.
Having an independent regulatory land use program and board is critical not only for water quality but also for properly dealing with land use issues that affect the canal and the 400-square mile watershed. Diminishing staff at the DEP is ill-equipped to handle the additional workload eliminating the commission would result in and would not review localized and cumulative impacts to the park as thoroughly as the commission.
The commission has established their own standards and review procedures for projects to consider natural, historic, and recreational resources of the park, and the DEP only considers regulated program areas in issuing permits.
Less than 10 percent of projects considered by the DRCC would require DEP Land Use approval and the State Historic Preservation Office only has authority over projects in the Park that receive state or federal funding and cannot protect the scenic and recreational qualities of the Park.
Re-Creation: Come Sit a Spell, North from Mapleton Aqueduct, cfe
The commission also holds and monitors conservation easements for stream corridors prohibiting any future development, a land preservation technique that involves no expense to the state.
The 70-mile canal spans 22 municipalities in Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties. Fifteen of these municipalities and Mercer County have adopted resolutions opposing the elimination of the DRCC.
Filed Under (Adventure, Environment, Farmland, Fishing, Food, Forests, Government, Hamilton Trenton Bordentown Marsh, Indians, KAYAKING, NJ, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pine Barrens, Preservation, habitat) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 10-04-2011
Spring Tiptoes Through the Pines
Lake Oswego Invites, Pine Barrens, New Jersey, April 2011 (cfe)
Desperate for spring, yesterday, I took a friend –who’d never been in the Pinelands– to this pristine region of our beleaguered, overpopulated state.
Both of us were absolutely enchanted all the day long.
On empty roads, which I term “My Secret Roads”, into Pinelands, I have been taught and taught, “The Journey is the Destination.” My friend experienced this reality. You can, too!
True Pine Barrens Welcome, (cfe)
How to undertake this miraculous Journey: Route 563 South from Chatsworth (Heart of the Pines). First stop into Buzby’s General Store, at the corner of 563 and 532, just south of the firehouse. Go into Buzby’s for Pine Barrens books and products - local, sustainable, traditional and real.
Marilyn Schmidt at Buzby’s with her Easter Tree, by Sharon Olson
Especially buy its splendid, thorough and revelatory Pine Barrens Map, while they last. It was designed by the lady at the desk, my friend Marilyn Schmidt. This powerhouse of a woman saved Buzby’s from oblivion and worse, doing whatever it took to have it named to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. She also wrote and published many of the books on Pine Barrens history, lingo, graveyards and foods.
Blueberry Bread, Cranberry Bread, Cornbread Mixes from Buzby’s (cfe)
To Find Lake Oswego: South of Chatsworth, on the left, be on lookout for small thin sign, reading “Oswego”, VERY high in a tree. (Locals hammered the lake’s name to a tree so it would grow up up and away. Pineys are famous for wanting to keep their beautiful region for themselves.)
Turn left and wander along that long not winding lane, between bogs. This time of year, they are flooded lest vital vines be frozen during still chilly nights. You’ll pass a state institute of research on the Pines’ most famous crops, cranberries and blueberries. Bogs are also flooded, to assist with wet harvest.
Cranberry Harvest, Alongside 563, near Chatsworth, Autumn, 2010 (cfe)
Yesterday, I fretted, with state finances in such disarray, will berry research still be funded next time I drive to Oswego?
The first time I took the Oswego road, a minuscule forest fire was running right along both edges. between road and sand, not yet into woods.
Fire is the friend of the Pine Barrens - clearing out pine duff and too many oaks, allowing fire-resistant pitch pines to burgeon anew (newly fertilized by ash), serotinous cones only burst by heat, seeds scattered by firewinds. Without pine duff and oak seedlings, and only without them, the Pines can thrive.
“Sure, a Little Bit of Heaven Fell…” (cfe)
On my forest fire drive, it was deep winter. Flames danced like tiny red snakes, temptation dancers – Firebird, Sheherezade. To continue to watch such a dance, would I give the dancers anything, even John the Baptist’s head?
Beyond whirling tongues of orange and copper and scarlet and gold, snow and ice ruled. Beneath white glaze were waiting Pine Barrens rarities, –carnivorous plants, spring-raucous Pine Barrens tree frogs, spotted turtles, rare corn snakes and special rattlesnakes, curly grass fern, elusive swamp pink…
Firelings writhed merrily along. Pavement ended. Auslanders are not supposed to drive on sugar sand roads. But I was drawn on and on, over the tiny bridge, to that scintillation of lake –absolutely irresistible:
“In Just Spring”, Even Though April, (cfe)
I am forever magnetized by Lake Oswego. Partly because, there, I still feel Indians to whom it used to be sacred.
Sacred Pine Barrens Peat Water of Lake Oswego on Fourth of July (cfe)
Partly because blueberries grow on all sides there, on host shrubs taller than I. The fruit of each bush holds a different flavor, texture, size and juiciness. No wonder New Jersey makes blueberry wine. Sampling those berries in June is like walking through a wine tasting. Except that these ‘grapes’ are blue and high and warm in sun.
Alongside that little bridge that I first met in fire and ice, spring will bring white bells that turn into blueberries.
A little later, air beside the bridge will be perfumed by the white cascades of sweet pepper bush. Everywhere is water, and somewheres kayakers. And sometimes happy swimmers and dabblers. Always appreciators.
Hikers Discuss Lake Oswego Trails (cfe)
This magic enclave is more than 50 and less than 75 miles from where I used to live at Canal Pointe. This magic awaits in all seasons.
Is Bright Moss Spring? (cfe)
However, yesterday, I would say that we found beauty yes but spring, no.
Small State Forest Sign, Not Identifying Lake- Will Sign Be There Next Time? (cfe)
Lake Oswego is a State Park, although the large state sign at entry has been removed. [Not sure whether this is Piney Keep-Out attitude, or State parsimony.
Such absences are ever ominous to a preservationist, but not troubling to the hikers and fishermen of yesterday. Fishermen and -woman grinned from ear to ear, even though they were reluctantly turning their backs on the lake. “What are you catching here?”, I asked, having just finished Richard Louv’s “Fly Fishing for Sharks”, therefore feeling every inch a virtual fisherman. “Pickerel,” they said, glowing. Ah, ha! I’d always wanted to hear of pickerel, this near to the sea.
I remembered that nomadic New Jersey Indians once moved from their hunting (inland) lives to their gathering lives at the Shore, after gathering at our (Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh), creating the sand trails that became the 20th Century’s 195 over to Brielle and the sea. I remembered that they knew to move to the ocean when the leaves of pickerel weed (which grows and provides sanctuary for fish in (fake) Lake Carnegie, not only thrust to full height, but opened to full light.
I really wanted to meet a pickerel. But they had no catch - all catch and release, as is the way of fishing in American waters now.
This pine-ringed lake could be the finest Old Pawn jewelry, venerable turquoise set in the richly carved bezel of stately green-black pines.
At Lake Oswego, in all seasons, all is the silence and peace I seek.
Visitors know and respect its soothing, inspiring aura, even when spring won’t arrive.
Our Earliest Flower - the Swamp Maple — Oswego’s Only April 9 Bloom (cfe)
Filed Under (Activism, Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, Brenda Jones, Cumberland County, Delaware Bayshores, Delaware River, Henry David Thoreau, NJ, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans, Pine Barrens, Preservation, Restoration, Tasha O'Neill, protection, rivers, wild, wildness) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 27-03-2011
“The Practice of the Wild” by Gary Snyder delights me right from the preface - fairly unique, in my experience. The poet writes (in prose) of “appreciating the ferocious orderliness of the wild.” He speaks of his own path as “connected to animist and shamanist roots.” Snyder praises the arts as “the wilderness areas of the imagination, surviving like national parks.” I had not seen that arts connection, although I spend my life at D&R Greenway Land Trust weaving the arts into preservation of New Jersey lands. Snyder sums up his preface musings: “the wild… is actually, relentlessly, beautifully formal and free.”
As I step out along the Gary Snyder trail, I learn that to him, the words “wild” and “free” are inseparable. How tragic that freedoms are becoming more and more imperiled in our once abundant land, along with our once abundant land. Gary, thank you for articulating what I know, but could not put into words. Thank you for showing this Sagittarian (whose motto is “Don’t fence me in!”) why the wild is essential in my life. Because wild is free and free is wild.
I thought I was hoping to go to Bowman’s in search of spring. I now see, I am seeking the wild and the free. What are you seeking?
Coursing Waters: DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
A recurrent bout of flu deleted all my weekend excursions, including, especially, my first (!) trip this year to Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, just across our Delaware River, just below New Hope, to see if anything normal, natural and native had sprouted.
WILD DELAWARE, Brenda Jones
I knew, of course, skunk cabbage would be up. But what about bloodroot, twinflower, those fragile early heralds? Who knows? When will I know?
SKUNK CABBAGE, FIRST GLIMPSE, (Last Spring - March cfe)
First Ferns, which might be up now, for all I know! (cfe last spring - March)
Confined to quarters as I am, and despite lifelong scorn for television, this weekend I came to rejoice that NJN is spending this month on WILDERNESS. I became a couch potato watching WILD.
ISLAND BEACH FISHERMAN DAY AFTER WILD NOR’EASTER (cfe)
NJ WILD readers may remember my meanderings (mental) about the meaning of WILD, especially in this century, particularly in this, our most populous state.
TRUE WILDNESS, Fox at Twilight, Brenda Jones - I think Griggstown Grasslands
I’ve spent intervening years defining and redefining WILDERNESS (Henry David would have us say, WILDNESS, which is in even shorter supply).
CARNEGIE LAKE WILD - Cormorant/Gull/Fish Battle: Brenda Jones
National photospectaculars define wilderness in word and image. With some of which I agree. Some I seriously disagree. For example, every scene so far has been in the WEST.
KEN LOCKWOOD GORGE, NJ, WILD - Weighty Trout, Tasha O’Neill
NJN itself is great about celebrating New Jersey. Night after night, I see images NJ WILD has brought to you - the Pine Barrens, Salem and Cumberland Counties, the Delaware Bayshore, wild geese on the Delaware, a practiced fly fisherman in our very own Ken Lockwood Gorge, which could be the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for unrelieved wildness and the fight in those trout! (WHILE WE’RE AT IT, LET’S SAVE NJN!)
What makes me cross, couch potatoing in quest of wilderness, is that national filmmakers don’t know WE have a corner, in New Jersey, on Wildness.
STORM SURGE, LAVALETTE, Day After Nor’easter cfe
In the Western Wilderness series, listening to boys and girls, mostly inner city, taken to WILDERNESS the first time, their first reaction is nearly universal:
“It’s so peaceful here.” Wild = Peace.
What could be more important, essential? Especially now that we are engaged in three wars nobody wants and nobody seems to be able to stop. I remember when wars had to be run past Congress, something termed “the consent of the governed”, a.k.a. “the advise and consent” of our elected representatives. I am terrified by the voicelessness of the people in our land now.
All that heals me is the WILD.
However, for boys and girls who’ve never spent a night outdoors, the WILD can be terrifying in concept. To their amazement, over and over again, peace was the gift of the WILD.
WILD PEACE — RESTING TREE — Deep in D&R Greenway’s Cedar Ridge Preserve, cfe
What do my wild havens have in common?
Someone’s PRESERVED them!
What are you doing to keep New Jersey Wild and Scenic, as my Bucks County Congressman Peter Kostmayer once insisted our river be designated for so much of its beleaguered length such blessed terms still apply?
NJ WILD readers know my contenders for havens of WILD PEACE:
The Pine Barrens
Ken Lockwood Gorge, up near Clinton
Island Beach, especially in and after storm
Sandy Hook, especially in winter
Our D&R Canal and Towpath
Anywhere in the Delaware River Basin
Anywhere in Winter:
WILD WINTER SKIES, Sandy Hook Light, cfe
WHAT ARE YOURS?
WRITE YOUR FAVORITES in the COMMENTS
TEACH ME YOUR Favorites!
Filed Under (Adventure, Local Food, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ State Parks, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pine Barrens, Preservation, The Seasons, books, native species, protection) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 13-10-2010
Howard Boyd, who has written books on the plants and animals of the Pinelands, makes his way up an observation deck overlooking old cranberry bogs.
Howard Boyd doesn’t hear well these days, but that doesn’t stop the naturalist from asking questions.
He wants to know exactly how many acres are in the newest tract of the sacred Pine Barrens land. He wants to know how the old cranberry bogs are being returned to their natural state. After collecting information and cataloging species in the Pine Barrens for half a century, he wants to know more.
Boyd was standing on an elevated platform with Louis Cantafio of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, overlooking the bogs and a reservoir at the new 9,700 acre Franklin Parker Preserve, the former DeMarco cranberry farm. He was getting a tour and a key to the gates of the preserve, so he could come and go as he pleased.
“If it weren’t for Howard, there would be no Pine Barrens,” said Cantafio, a Ph.D. conservationist. This may be true. If the body of ecological science Boyd and people like him discovered was never publicized, the Pine Barrens might well have been sprawled upon and the federal Pinelands National Reserve wouldn’t exist.
“There is a uniqueness to this place. The acidity of the soil, and lack of nutrients in the sand, force vegetation that you don’t see in other places,” Boyd said. And that attracts weird bugs, all of which Boyd has cataloged.
As Cantafio answered his questions, they watched a bald eagle perched on a distant stump, its regal white hood almost luminescent against a backdrop of gray water and green scrub pines. Another eagle flapped by, not 20 feet over the water. This one all brown.
“That’s an immature one,” Boyd said. “It takes about five years before they go white.”
Howard Boyd turns 96 this week, He doesn’t get into the woods much these days, not that he’s incapable. He still drives the flat Pine Barrens roads like he did at 60, doing 60.
Howard Boyd talks with Louis Cantafio of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation at the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pinelands.
“I better watch my speed,” he said, riding through the village of Tabernacle on Route 532 in Burlington County, where he lives.
He still knows exactly which sandy dirt road leads where, slowing down his old forest green Honda enough to lessen the bounce of ruts and point out some not-so-obvious plant species. And he still dresses the part: layered plaid-on-plaid woolen shirts — the quilted one on top — work pants and heavy black shoes. The top shirt, and his green field cap, are as weathered as their owner.
“I’ve probably been on 80, 90 percent of the trails in here,” he says. “Look hard enough, you always discover something. There’s always something new to see.”
After decades of discovering and exploring and collecting and studying, Boyd wrote the naturalists’ bible of the Pines. “A Field Guide to the Barrens of New Jersey” (Plexus) was published 20 years ago. It is an illustrated catalog of most everything that flourishes there. There are thousands of entries, beginning with algae and fungi and liverworts, and working up the ecological food chain to fox and deer and eagles. Man’s history, and industry, from Colonial bog iron to modern cranberry production, is also documented.
His latest, “The Ecological Pine Barrens,” came out in 2008 when Boyd was 93. That one was subtitled “An Ecosystem Threatened by Fragmentation.” It is dry science, but necessary to keep the place 100,000 tourists will find unspoiled when they descend on Chatsworth next weekend for the annual October Pinelands cranberry fest.
“I stay away from that. Too crazy,” Boyd said.
At the Buzby’s Chatsworth General Store, which is a Pine Barrens gift shop and book store, owner R. Marilyn Schmidt keeps Boyd’s books in stock for the serious ecological tourist. It is surrounded by Pine Barrens folk tales and ghost stories, and picture books and casual memoirs. But the heavy stuff, the bibles? They’re Boyd’s.
“He is a remarkable man,” said Schmidt, an author herself. “No one has accumulated his knowledge.”
A bald eagle sits on an exposed stump in a reservoir at the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pinelands.
There will be no more Boyd books.
“Oh, hell, no,” Boyd said. “It’s too much work. I’m cleaning house now.”
Boyd’s wife, Doris, died last spring, after 71 years of marriage. Some things you can’t catalog, like a lifetime spent together. Other things, you have to find a home for.
“I’ve been a naturalist my whole life,” said Boyd, who grew up on a farm in Billerica, Mass., and got every nature merit badge as a Boy Scout. In 1938, he got a biology degree from Boston University, with a concentration in botany; 41 years later came a master’s in entomology from the University of Delaware. He has a university-worthy library.
His rare entomology books are going to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. His personal papers will be archived in the academy’s department of entomology.
In this, his lifetime of knowledge is preserved, like the land he explored and studied, and loves.
And there will be one more piece of the Boyd legacy.
A new generation of entomologists studying Pinelands insect life have discovered a new variation of the Crane fly. It will be named after Howard Boyd.
Filed Under (Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Oceans, South Jersey, The Seasons, native species, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 28-08-2010
||FROM WILD NEW JERSEY - RE THE ISLAND BEACH I TREASURE - NJ WILD READERS KNOW ABOUT I.B., BUT NOT ABOUT THE FREE BIRD WALKS. IN THE PAST, THEY ‘RAN’ FREE BIRDING KAYAK TOURS — THERE’S MORE TO BEACHES THAN SUNBATHING…
ENJOY Brenda’s Black Skimmers, who are about to migrate south, toward oil and ?????
Brenda Jones captures Black Skimmers in Flight
AUTUMN BEGINS EARLIER FOR OUR MIGRATING SHORE BIRDS.
AND NJ WILD READERS KNOW I AM DEEPLY CONCERNED BECAUSE MOST WILL HEAD STRAIGHT FOR THE GULF AND ITS OILED MARSHLANDS TO PUT ON FAT STORES FOR THEIR INCREDIBLE JOURNEYS. C
Ospreys are Everywhere Now at Island Beach — but bedeviled by Fish Crows
Brenda Jones Captures Enraged Osprey
||WILDNEWJERSEY.TV published a new entry entitled “WNJ Exclusive: Pelicans, ospreys, and marbled godwit on free birding walks at Island Beach” on 8/11/2010 6:00:00 AM, written by WILDNEWJERSEY.
WNJ Exclusive: Pelicans, ospreys, and marbled godwit on free birding walks at Island Beach
Marbled Godwit (not the bird mentioned below)
Photo credit: bird-friends.com
By David Wheeler
Looking for a free summer event where you can spend some time on the beach, surrounded by nature and the guidance of expert birders? Island Beach State Park is hosting free morning bird walks every other Thursday along this 10-mile stretch of unbroken barrier beach. This unique coastal refuge offers over 3,000 acres of dunes, maritime forest, and tidal marsh, providing habitat for over 400 plants and the New Jersey’s largest osprey colony.
Skyler Streich of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is the Barnegat Bay Birder-in-Resident, and she leads the Island Beach State Park birding walks. Recent birding trips have seen common eiders, Forsters terns, ruddy turnstones, willets, brown pelicans, American oystercatchers, and ospreys.
Other likely sightings on the bird walks include tricolored heron, glossy ilbis, black-bellied plover, little blue heron, seaside sparrow, and boat-tailed grackle. Island Beach also hosts other public wildlife events, such as clamming events and “Birding by Kayak” tours. Red knots, sandwich terns, black-crowned night-heron, and clapper rails highlighted the bird sightings on a recent clamming event.
A recent Birding by Kayak tour proved even more productive for birders, according to Streich.
“There was a Marbled Godwit on the sandbar right in front of the A-21 kayak launch site! It was amongst a good variety of shorebirds which have steadily increasing in numbers since the last kayak tour two weeks ago. The other highlight was a flock of 12 Whimbrels flying overhead! We also had a very cooperative single Brant near the mouth of Spizzle Creek. All in all, it was an excellent day with excellent birds and excellent participants.”
The Friends of Island Beach State Park offer an excellent source of additional information at www.friendsofislandbeach.com.
Upcoming bird walks include Thursday, August 19, and September 2. Participants should meet at the Forked River Interpretive Center in Island Beach State Park for a roughly 3 mile walk. All birders are encouraged to bring plenty of water, sunblock, a hat for shade, and binoculars - though spare binoculars are available for those who need them.
For more information, questions, or in case of inclement weather, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-984-0621.
Other stories about Island Beach State Park include: