New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s Kittatinny Ridge project area, about 60 miles west of New York City, can be found in the Appalachian Ridge and Valley region of New Jersey, an extension of the larger Shenandoah Valley area extending from Alabama to New York.
The Kittatinny Ridge and Wallkill Valley appeared hundreds of millions of years ago when soft limestone and shale eroded from large mountains, leaving the hard quartz of the Kittatinny Ridge above fertile valleys. The largely undeveloped mountains, forest, meadows and wetlands range from New York’s Shawangunk Mountains to the Delaware River. Stretching across the state’s northwest border, the Kittatinny Ridge includes the highest elevation in New Jersey at High Point State Park. At 1803 feet above sea level, this spectacular view to the southeast overlooks the rolling hills and fertile farmland of the Wallkill Valley.
A study in contrasts, the Kittatinny’s forested ridges provide critical wildlife and plant habitat and fertile limestone soils support productive farms. Limestone valleys, sandstone ridges and shale hills have been created over the years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized the region for its unusually diverse plant communities, rich biodiversity and its role as an important migratory corridor for bald eagles, peregrine falcons, bobcat, hummingbirds, osprey, wood ducks, kingfishers and all owls, hawks and swallows.
Our work in the region has included the preservation of an 850-acre property which had been under intense development pressure for 15 years. The project helped to expand the Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area. Other preservation projects have preserved 55 acres of land along the Paulinskill River, enhanced public trails and a protected greenway, and created a 272-acre nature preserve in Hardwick Township.
In addition to valuable natural resource treasures, the region offers spectacular views and unparalleled opportunities for hiking, camping, swimming, hunting, fishing, skiing and more. Just a few of the areas in the region worth exploring are the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Stokes State Forest and numerous New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife wildlife management areas. To learn more about our preservation efforts in the Kittatinny Ridge, please contact Ingrid Vandegaer, Regional Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).
By Michele S. Byers,