|2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071|
Phone: (201) 460-8300
New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Environment Center: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm. Closed for Holidays. The Marsh Discovery Trail is closed when there is a threat of inclement weather. Catch and Release fishing is allowed.
Directions: From Route 3 East follow signs for 17 South Lyndhurst. After the traffic light cross Route 17 and proceed straight onto Polito Avenue; follow directions below.
From Route 3 West follow signs for 17 South Lyndhurst. Merge onto 17 South and follow it as it wraps around. At the traffic light make a Left onto Polito Avenue; follow the directions below.
At the end of Polito Avenue, turn Left onto Valley Brook Avenue. After 1.2 miles, cross the railroad tracks, bear Left and enter Richard W. DeKorte Park. Tell the guard at the gate you are there to view wildlife. Map
New Jersey Transit Bus Line No.192 Clifton/New York stops weekdays at Chubb Avenue and Valley Brook Avenue. Turn Left onto Valley Brook Avenue and walk to the end where you enter the park. Walking distance is within 1 mile.
Visit the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s Environment Center to increase your understanding of the various habitats within the Meadowlands. Inside you will find a Salt Marsh Diorama, Tideland Treasures gift shop, and the Interactive Learning Center, boasting a variety of hands-on exhibits for all ages. The exhibits present information about the NJ Meadowlands Commission, solid waste and wetlands; a super-sized marsh room displays
animals and plants you can find in a salt marsh; and the cedar forest gives a glimpse into the past. Continue through the Environment Center and into the Flyway Gallery to see the latest art collection on display. The end of the gallery opens up into a glass-enclosed hexagonal shaped room, drawing your attention to the full-sized glass walls that reveal an almost 360-degree view of the Meadowlands along with the New York City skyline.
|Great Egret over the Marsh||Scott Elowitz
||Located within the New Jersey Meadowlands, along the Atlantic Flyway, Richard W. DeKorte Park is a center of activity for wildlife and humans alike. It is home to the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC), which administers the park and is the zoning and regulatory agency for the Meadowlands District. Appreciating the need for environmental education for schools and the general public, along with a need to promote an awareness of the area’s natural resources, the NJMC partnered with the Ramapo College of New Jersey to create the onsite Environment Center. Try some of the many nature trails surrounding the park; maps can be picked up at the Environment Center. The Marsh Discovery Trail is a floating boardwalk that allows visitors to cross over the tidal marsh impoundment at the Environment Center. When finished there, trails such as Kingsland Overlook, Lyndhurst Nature Reserve, Shorewalk, Saw Mill Creek and Transco Trails are waiting for you. All trails are relatively low impact and range from 1/2 mile to 3 miles walking distance. Don’t forget to inquire about public programs, school programs, guided nature walks and more.
Don’t miss the off-site eco-tours aboard a fleet of pontoon boats conducted by the NJMC, originating at River Barge Park, Carlstadt, New Jersey (the future site of a new waterfront park and public marina). Reservations must be made in advance through the Environment Center. The Commission schedules trips from May through September. The captain and guide will share the history and ecology of the Meadowlands. In addition, you can pick up your Mill Creek Marsh and Saw Mill Creek canoe/kayak trail maps at the Environment Center. Also, call in advance to find out the dates for Meadowfest held in June and the NJ Meadowlands Festival of Birding held in September.
Be on the lookout for waterfowl, especially large flocks of Canvasback, Ruddy and American Black Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Common Pintail, Bufflehead, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall along with Common and Hooded Mergansers that gather in open water. Look in the skies or along the old abandoned landfills for raptors hunting: Red-tailed, Rough-legged and Cooper’s Hawks, and Northern Harriers roam the area. In the uplands you may see Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, various sparrows and winter finches. Also, be on the lookout either by site or tracks for red fox, common raccoon, eastern gray squirrel, striped skunk, eastern cottontail rabbit or woodchuck.
During the first few weeks of spring, Richard W. DeKorte Park is bursting with songs from the American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Red-winged Blackbird, Blue-headed Vireo, Tree Swallow and other neotropical species. Migrating shorebirds like Semipalmated Sandpiper and Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs can be observed feeding in the marshes at low tide. This site is the focal point for the NJMC’s Tree Swallow Nest Box Project. Tree Swallows are aerial insectivores that feed on flying insects caught “on the wing.” At this time of year, they may be hunting midges, tiny insects that hatch with the arrival of warm weather and cover nearly everything from mid-April through May. Good for swallows. Not so much fun for people.
At low tide, by mid-July, the mudflats are ideal habitat for foraging sandpipers, Semipalmated Plover, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and common wading birds such as Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron; and an increasing number of the rare Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, which are listed as threatened in the state of New Jersey. Black Skimmers hunt over shallow water or over channels. On the mud banks you may find Atlantic marsh fiddler crabs and their burrows as well as diamondback terrapin basking in the sun. On rocks and logs, look for milk, common garter and black rat snakes. If you are walking on the upland trail look for Indigo Bunting and nesting Orchard Oriole and remember to look skyward for Osprey or the Peregrine Falcon hunting in the area.
Look for migrating shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, raptors, warblers and monarch, tiger swallowtail and skipper butterflies. Sunsets are particularly spectacular as the days grow shorter. The spartina grass is golden brown and the seeds shine when the lowering sun casts its orange glow throughout the marsh. Egrets heading back to roosting sites can be seen lingering in the canopy of ailanthus trees.