Trail Guides
White Lake Natural Resource Area

County Road 521, Hardwick, NJ
Phone: (908) 475-6532

OWNER:  County of Warren; NJ Department of Environmental Protection

DIRECTIONS:  Turn Right onto CR 519/Dark Moon Road. After approximately 1.0 mile turn Right onto CR 661 North and proceed 1.4 miles turning Left onto Route 94 South. After 2.0 miles, turn Right onto CR 659/Spring Valley Road. At 0.3 miles, just after crossing the river, there is parking for the Paulinskill Valley Trail. Proceed approximately 0.4 miles and look on the Right for parking and the trailhead. This is a grassy pullover; look for Green Acres sign and gate. For parking at White Lake proceed 0.8 miles and turn Right onto CR 521 North/Stillwater Road. Proceed 0.5 miles and turn Right, by the white fence, into main parking area.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking is available. Only car-top boats are allowed on the lake; no motorized boats are permitted. Black bears are common. Ticks may be present, take appropriate precautions. Hunting is allowed at the Wildlife Management Area. Be aware of the rules and regulations of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection by visiting their website. To view a map of the area visit www.njfishandwildlife.org/pdf/wmamaps/ white_lake.pdf.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  The nature trail that meanders through the east end of White Lake starts in the small parking lot on CR 659/Spring Valley Road and runs behind the lake at the old marl works. It then goes to an old lime kiln, cuts across CR 521/Stillwater Road and continues for several miles into the limestone-based forest of the WMA. Interesting limestone outcroppings can be seen in several areas along the trail, as can several large patches of ferns.

SITE DESCRIPTION:  White Lake Natural Resource Area is adjacent to the White Lake Wildlife Management Area; together they comprise over 900 acres. White Lake is a deep spring-fed lake with a unique white bottom formed from a limey clay known as marl that is the residue of freshwater mollusk shells. A variety of habitats surround the lake including a fen at the eastern end, a limestone forest and a hemlock forest. Because of the diverse habitat, it is a great botanical site. Several rare sedges, rushes and ferns can be found here. There are other uncommon and showy wildflowers here in season. The flowers attract a diversity of butterflies. Ruins of a marl factory/ice house, used in the past to process lime, and later ice, can be found at the east end of the lake.

Winter:  Walk the trail from Primrose Lane. It passes through many different habitats, eventually winding its way through the east side of the preserve where there is a hemlock forest and an old lime kiln. Note the evergreen Christmas fern which grows along the trail. This is also a good time to look for Great Horned, Short-eared, Long-eared and Eastern Screech Owls. Listen for their calls at dusk or visit one of the field edges to watch Short-eared Owls seemingly float, ghost-like, over the grasses looking for prey.
Spring:  The bird life is quite active here in the early morning; look for migrating Nashville, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Pine and Prairie Warblers, to name a few. The lake may attract Osprey, Great Blue and Green Herons, Wood Duck and Pied-billed Grebe. Wildflowers will begin blooming and early butterfly species may be out in the field or along the grassy edges of CR 521/Stillwater Road.
Summer:  There are many different breeding birds at this time of the year. Look in the fields for nesting Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink, along the wooded edges for Indigo Bunting and Baltimore and Orchard Orioles and within the woodlands for Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Black- and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. The variety of butterfly species is good, especially in the large fields at the entrance on CR 521/Stillwater Road.
Fall:  White Lake is picturesque with autumn foliage and will attract migrating waterfowl like Common Loon, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Merganser. Besides waterfowl, raptors will be migrating; be alert for American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier and Red-shouldered Hawk.

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