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GREAT PIECE MEADOWS/TROY MEADOWS – FAIRFIELD/PINEBROOK/PARSIPPANY, NEW JERSEY
This place is an untapped resource located within a ten minute drive of our hometown. Great Piece Meadows has some awesome walking/running trails that are very flat and gentle. The tricky part is gaining access to the park. Here are the list of access points:
East side, Fairfield— At the overpass of Route 80 at Two Bridges Road in Fairfield enter the office park, left at end to Marginal Road (parallel to Route 80), park at the Township leaf dump and enter on foot.
West side, Fairfield— At Horseneck Road enter Park Avenue to gate, enter on foot and do not block gate.
There is a fire lane along a ditch that crosses the entire Great Piece Meadow Preserve and many trails throughout the meadow.
North end in Lincoln Park and Montville— There are Trails from along Peace Valley Road, Pine Brook Road and Two Bridges Road.
The best part about Great Piece Meadows is it is one of the BEST locations in the state for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding!
Check out this YouTube video to see what I am talking about!
You can literally spend hours upon hours cruising up and down the Passaic River. Just be careful not to get lost! Both parks combined house over 10,000 acres of land to be explored. Be aware that both parks get extremely muddy/flooded after a heavy rain due to the close proximity to the Passaic River. Also, in the summer, BUGS, BUGS, BUGS!
Wildlife is a huge plus to this location! This is one of the premier bird watching locations in the entire state. Also, fishing is phenomenal too. The preserve supports 116 species of animals which include 82 species of birds! Here are a list of some of the protected species located inside the park:
bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii)
blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale)
red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus)
northern harrier (Circus cyaneus)
buttonbush dodder (Cuscuta cephalanthi)
Louisiana sedge (Carex louisianica)
wood turtle (Clemmys insculpta)
great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
long-eared owl (Asio otus)
barred owl (Strix varia)
red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)
bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorous)
All in all, this is a great location to explore on a cool, dry day with family, friends, and sport enthusiasts!
WEST ESSEX TRAIL – FAIRVIEW AVENUE, VERONA NEW JERSEY
I’ll start it off with one of my favorite places that is only a ten minute drive from Roseland! If anyone is familiar with the West Essex Trail you know it is a great spot to walk, run, bike, or take the family for a stroll through the woods!
The trail begins around 100 yards north of Verona High School on Fairview Avenue. Some history on the trail: This was the former rail line of the Caldwell Branch of the Erie Lackawana Railroad. The land was acquired by Essex County in 1985 and the rail bed was removed to create the perfect path for walking/biking. Some of the trail highlights include:
- 3 Miles in total length
- Cuts through the historic site of the old Essex County Hosptial
- Crosses the Peckman River on a land bridge
- View of Devil’s Hole (Seen in Weird New Jersey)
- Deer, deer, and more deer!
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