Delaware River Bluffs
Delaware River Bluffs
New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s Delaware River Bluffs project area is located along the wild and scenic Delaware River in Hunterdon County. It is comprised of the high ridge that runs along the river. Whether on the river looking to the ridge, or hiking the ridge overlooking the river – this area offers spectacular, unspoiled views. The many rocky ravines host a bevy of healthy streams that are protected by the surrounding intact forest. The contiguous forest provides significant undisturbed habitat for many interesting species, including unusual ferns, endangered salamanders and a variety of grasses found at the Milford Grasslands. The Devils Tea Table, a noted geological feature, is also located on the bluffs.
Saving the Delaware River Bluffs
The Delaware & Raritan Canal was made a state park in the 1970s and 80s. Since that time, many non-profit and state agencies have been working to preserve the surrounding bluffs to provide a buffer for the river and canal park, as well as to protect its viewshed, water and natural resources. In 2010, New Jersey Conservation Foundation and partners preserved 73 acres along Horseshoe Bend Road in Kingwood Township, a property with a panoramic view of the bluffs.
Preserving the land surrounding the river and canal helps to ensure a stable and healthy water supply for the 1.2 million New Jersey residents who rely on the river for drinking water. If this land had been developed, the accompanying impervious surface would have swelled storm water run-off into the river, and increased flooding in a region that already endures excessive flooding.
The D&R Canal State Park runs between the river and the bluffs, providing a publicly accessible trail from Trenton to Frenchtown. There are numerous parking areas and river access points along the trail. The public is welcome to explore a diversity of parks in the area, including Washington’s Crossing State Park, Baldpate Mountain on Jacobs Mill Road in Hopewell, Bulls Island State Park in Stockton and the Milford bluffs. The region can also be enjoyed by traveling along NJ’s first scenic byway, Route 29.
With the help of non-profits like New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance, the State Green Acres program has acquired some very significant acreage in the Delaware River Bluffs Greenway in recent years. The Stockton School remains New Jersey’s oldest and smallest school thanks to the Green Acres 2004 acquisition of My Ben. The 72-acre My Ben property in Stockton was slated for a large condominium development that would have inundated the tiny school with new residents while ruining scenic views from the river and creating a surge in stormwater runoff into the canal. Other recent Green Acres acquisitions include the Schuck property, a 200-acre addition to Bull’s Island State Park in Stockton, and the 170-acre Trap Rock property in Kingwood. The state and non-profits continue to work together to preserve the remaining land in this unique region.
To learn more about New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s preservation work in the Delaware River Bluffs region, please contact Alix Bacon, NJCF Western Piedmont Regional Manager, at 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Michele S. Byers,