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Round Valley Recreation Area


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1220 Lebanon-Stanton Rd., Lebanon, NJ
Phone: (908) 236-6355
www.njparksandforests.org/parks/round.html

OWNER:  NJ Department of Environmental Protection

DIRECTIONS:  From I-78 West take Exit 20A toward Lebanon/Round Valley Recreation Area. Bear to the Right and merge onto CR 639 South/Cokesbury Road. After 0.3 miles turn Right onto U.S. Route 22 West and continue for 0.7 miles, bearing to the Right to take the Round Valley Access Road/Stanton Lebanon Road jughandle exit. Continue another 1.6 miles to the entrance of the park on the Left. From I-78 East take exit 18 and merge onto U.S. Route 22 East toward Annandale/Lebanon. After 1.6 miles turn Right onto Round Valley Access Road/Stanton Lebanon Road and proceed 1.6 miles to the entrance of the park on the Left.   Map
 
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day. Hours are reduced the rest f the year; call the park office or visit their website for details. Entry fees apply from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day: $5.00 weekdays, $10.00 weekends and holidays, Walk-in/Bicycle $2.00. Call the park office or visit their website for camping fees. Hunting is allowed in certain areas of the park during certain times of the year; check with the office or visit their website. Also be aware of the rules and regulations by visiting www.njfishandwildlife.org. No alcoholic beverages, no motorized vehicles on trails. Powered boats are limited to a maximum of 9.9-hp motors. Pets permitted but must be leashed. Black bears are present year-round; admire from a distance and report sightings to park police or office staff.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  The excellent trail system at Round Valley is noteworthy. In addition to the Cushetunk Trail (red blazes), there are also the shorter Campground Trail (yellow), Pine Tree Trail (green), Hike and Bike Trail (white) and Water Trail (blue). Trail maps are available at several information kiosks and at the park office.

A CLOSER LOOK:  Round Valley Reservoir is an excellent site to view wildlife and scenery by canoe, kayak, sail, rowboat or motor boat up to 10 hp. Exploring by water allows access to shoreline and wooded sites otherwise reached only by a long walk. Some birds and mammals will allow a closer approach by boat than by humans on foot. There are two boat launches at the northern end of the reservoir. Scuba and skin diving are allowed in this deepest of all N.J. lakes. Check at office for launching fees/permits, rules and regulations.

Great-crested Flycatcher
Great-crested FlycatcherScott Elowitz
 
SITE DESCRIPTION:  The large reservoir, diversity of habitats, scenic overlooks at boat launch areas and excellent trail system make Round Valley Recreation Area one of the region’s prime wildlife watching areas. Bald Eagles, which have nested on the reservoir since the mid-1990s, can be seen daily, and the deep reservoir is a magnet for geese, ducks, loons, grebes, rare gulls and shorebirds throughout much of the year. Parking lots in open areas are good vantage points to observe migrant and resident raptors such as Red-tailed, Cooper’s and Broad-winged Hawks as well as Black and Turkey Vultures. Pine plantings, masses of flowering trees, wetlands, fields, oak woodlands and forest ecotones make this a highly productive place for migrant and breeding passerine species in spring, summer and fall.

DON'T MISS:  the nine-mile Cushetunk Trail, which runs along the southern edge of the reservoir, passes through or near almost all the major habitats of the Skylands region, including diabase rock outcroppings and a wide variety of native plants. As a result, mammals, raptors, Neotropical and other passerine birds, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies abound.

THROUGH THE SEASONS:  
Winter:  Bald Eagle is usually seen daily during winter. Loons, grebes, ducks and geese begin to arrive on the reservoir in mid-November, and many remain throughout the season if there is not a hard freeze. Look for rare gulls such as Lesser Black-backed, Iceland and Glaucous in February. Red-tailed, Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks are common, and Rough-legged Hawk and Northern Harrier can be observed periodically in surrounding fields, along with a good variety of sparrows and the occasional Eastern Meadowlark.
Spring:  Waterfowl continue to migrate in March and early April. Tree Swallow, blackbirds, Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Bluebird arrive in March, and Pine Warblers can be found in pines and spruces by mid-April. Neotropical warblers, orioles, vireos, flycatchers, tanagers, grosbeaks and others pass through during migration from late April through May; some remain to breed. There are plenty of amphibians to look for, especially early in the season when they are busy laying egg masses. The possibilities are green, bull, pickerel, northern chorus and wood frogs, spring peeper, northern gray treefrog, American toad, Fowler’s toad (rare) and red-backed, two-lined, slimy, spotted, and northern red salamanders and red eft/red-spotted newt.
Summer:  Eastern Bluebird, several species of swallows, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles and American Goldfinch are easily observed along wood edges, as are thrushes and some warblers and vireos in wooded areas. This recreation area can be crowded and noisy around the beach and boat launch areas in summer. For solitude and quiet, the numerous trails here are a good alternative. July is the height of butterfly season; look for Monarch, Mourning Cloak, Spring and Summer Azures, Eastern-tailed Blue, Compton Tortoiseshell (rare) and Spicebush, Tiger, Pipevine (rare) and Black Swallowtails, sulphurs and whites and Great Spangled and Meadow Fritillaries, Pearl Crescent, Question Mark, American Copper, Wood Nymph, Appalachian Brown, Little Wood Satyr, several hairstreaks and many skipper species.
Fall:  Fields and forest edges are an excellent location to search for migrant warblers and other Neotropicals in September; migrant sparrows arrive in early October. The main boat launch area at the northern end of the reservoir is a rewarding place to see migrant Broad-winged Hawk in early to mid-September, and many other raptor species, including Bald Eagle, can be observed from there throughout the season.


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