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Conservation
Franklin Township, Somerset County
 

Thanks to the foresight of its citizens and community leaders, Franklin Township Somerset County is a true gem of Central New Jersey, claiming over 8700 acres of preserved open space within its borders (Franklin Township Somerset County Preserved Land Report, 2004). While preserving the rural character and traditional land uses of the township, the large blocks of open space protected from development also provide key habitat for unique species of plants and animals. 

   

In 2003, Franklin Township Somerset County and New Jersey Audubon Society entered into a unique partnership to develop both habitat and passive recreation plans for two of the largest open space tracts owned by the township, the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve, part of the Ten Mile Run Greenway, and the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve, part of the Middlebush Greenway.  More recently a third tract was included in the NJAS project, the Bunker Hill Natural Area, part of the Ten Mile Run Greenway.  The sites are in a region historically important for grassland birds, and of all projects submitted for federal funding of habitat creation in New Jersey in 2004, the Negri-Nepote Native Grasslands Preserve and the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve were ranked as second and third priority for grassland restoration by the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.   Visitors can read about the success of the restoration project in the December 2005 issue of New Jersey Municipalities.  The article is available in PDF format by clicking here. (2MB)  To learn more about grassland birds and their grassland habitat, click here.

 


Bunker Hill Natural Area Cliff Trail

Currently the three sites offer 11.92 miles of trails that meander through grassland, successional and mature forest habitat and along stream corridors.  Each site offers something unique to wildlife enthusiasts. Visitors can read about the history and importance of the land through educational signs placed along several hiking trails.  Visitors can view unique landscape features such as the Sourland Mountain range at Ten Mile Run, or observe the natural behaviors of wetland wildlife behind a wildlife viewing blind at Middlebush.  The Bunker Hill Natural Area's Cliff Trail (pictured left) was specifically selected in that it offers a spectacular stream-side view of the cliffs.  To get to the cliffs visitors traverse deciduous wooded wetlands.  Educational opportunities in this area focus on forested wetlands and geology.  Explore these new hiking and wildlife viewing trails in Franklin Township with New Jersey Audubon Staff.  We will soon be adding a Franklin Township Somerset County list serve that will send out e-mails regarding Franklin Township Somerset County open space community activities and annual nature walks.  If you are interested in seeing a list of currently scheduled nature walks, click here.  If you are interested in joining New Jersey Audubon as a volunteer surveyor, click here


For more information about Franklin Township Somerset County Parks please visit
www.franklintwpnj.org  or call 908-766-5787 Extension 21

LINKS

Township of Franklin, Somerset County http://www.franklintwpnj.org/ 

For quick directions from anywhere visit Mapquest.com at http://www.mapquest.com  For a map of the roads leading to the Griggstown and Bunker Hill sites, enter Griggstown, New Jersey as the place name.  For a map of the roads leading to the Negri site, enter Six Mile Run, New Jersey as the place name.  Then follow the written directions for each site as provided on the individual site pages.

Franklin Township's Open Space, Farmland
And Historic Preservation Web Site
  http://franklintwpnj.org/open_space.html

Bunker Hill Environmental Education Center http://www.franklinboe.org/bheec/index.html 

New Jersey Audubon Society Stewardship Program /Conservation/Stewardship.html

For a list of endangered or threatened species in New Jersey visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Endangered and Nongame Species Program http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/tandespp.htm

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP PROGRAMS - 2013

Explore wilderness right in the heart of Franklin Township!

When asked what recreational opportunities are most wanted, many survey respondents state that "places to walk" is their #1 response.  As a way to be responsive to this need, the Township's Open Space Advisory Committee  is sponsoring the Third Annual Series "Exploring Franklin Township's Wilderness." 

While Franklin Township is located in one of the most densely populated regions of the country, it claims over 9,000 acres of preserved land (1/3 of the township's land mass) and this area provides key habitat for unique species of plants and animals.

The following programs in Franklin Township will be led by NJ Audubon staff or associate naturalists, and are funded by the Franklin Township Open Space Advisory Committee.  These sites are the first grassland restoration projects NJ Audubon has implemented for Franklin Township, and are now in their ninth successful year.  Bring binoculars if you have them; we will have some loaner binoculars available.  Wear sturdy waterproof boots and bring water.  These programs are free to the public.

SPRING DANCE OF THE WOODCOCK AT THE NEGRI-NEPOTE GRASSLAND PRESERVE
Friday, March 1
 
5:45pm to 6:45pm 
This is the first of two woodcock field trips.  The American Woodcock, a long-billed woodland bird, probes in soft wet soil of wetlands and eats its weight in worms each day.  Woodcock return to Franklin Township in late winter or early spring to mate and nest.  Males of the species begin calling and performing an aerial courtship-display-flight when the afternoon shadows are almost gone.  We'll hear more than we see.  After the woodcock finish we may look for Spring Peepers.  Led by Chris and Paula Williams. 

Location:  Meet at the parking lot located at 260 Skillmans Lane

SPRING DANCE OF THE WOODCOCK AT THE NEGRI-NEPOTE GRASSLAND PRESERVE
Friday, March 15

7pm to 8pm
Led by Chris and Paula Williams. 

Location:  Meet at the parking lot located at 260 Skillmans Lane

EXPLORING THE NEGRI-NEPOTE GRASSLAND PRESERVE FOR BREEDING BIRDS AND MIGRANTS
Sunday, May 5

9am. to 11am.
We'll be looking for migrants and resident nesting birds of the grasslands, including Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, and Field and Grasshopper Sparrows.

Location:  Meet at the parking lot located at 260 Skillmans Lane.

EXPLORING THE GRIGGSTOWN NATIVE GRASSLAND PRESERVE FOR NESTING BIRDS
Sunday, June 9

9am to 11am
We'll walk the field loops and spend a little time on the forest trails.

Location:  Meet at the parking lot located up the hill of the driveway entrance located at 1091 Canal Road--just west of the Griggstown Causeway.

BUTTERFLIES AND BIRDS AT NEGRI-NAPOTE NATIVE GRASSLAND PRESERVE
Sunday, July 21

9am to 11am
This program will be led by NJ Audubon associate naturalists Chris and Paula Williams

Location:  Meet at the parking lot located at 260 Skillmans Lane.

BUTTERFLIES AT GRIGGSTOWN NATIVE GRASSLAND PRESERVE
Saturday, August 10 

9am to 11am
This program will be led by NJ Audubon associate naturalists Chris and Paula Williams

Location:  Meet at the parking lot located up the hill of the driveway entrance located at 1091 Canal Road--just west of the Griggstown Causeway.


No pre-registration is necessary.  Be sure to dress appropriately for current weather conditions and have sturdy footwear.  For detailed directions to the parks, information, and updates please visit http://www.franklintwpnj.org/open_space.html

Questions?  Call Fran Varacalli at 732 690-7750 or the New Jersey Audubon Society at 908-766-5787.