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Charlestown Reservation


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County Road 635/Charlestown Road, Bethlehem Township, NJ
Phone: (908) 782-1158
www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/depts/parks/ParkAreas/Charlestown/info.htm

OWNER:  Hunterdon County

DIRECTIONS:  Turn Left out of the parking area and turn Right at the stop sign onto Main Street. After 0.6 miles turn Right onto CR 635 South/New Street and proceed 0.3 miles. Turn Left at the stop sign onto CR 635/Charlestown Road. Continue 0.6 miles turning Right into parking area.   Map
 
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking is available for 8 to 10 vehicles. Hunting is permitted; contact the county parks department or visit www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/hunting/instruct.htm for hunting seasons and regulations. No hunting is allowed on Sundays. The main trail access is a solid, highly visible trail, but it is not handicapped-accessible.

Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green WarblerLloyd Spitalnik
 
SITE DESCRIPTION:  This 269-acre preserve was operated as a tree farm, apple orchard and multiple-crop farm before being deeded over to Hunterdon County. Follow the trail from the right corner of the parking lot, up the hillside where it intersects with an old field road. The road traverses the area past two old meadows, through varying degrees of reforestation, before doubling back on itself. Only wide enough for one person, this trail imparts a remoteness that offers a welcome respite from the hubbub of daily life.

DON'T MISS:  the grove of pine trees at the top of the trail. Entering these hushed woods feels like entering the forest primeval.

THROUGH THE SEASONS:  
Winter:  After a snowfall the pine forest has the feeling of a secluded shelter. When passing through the woods look for Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pine Siskin and Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets. Search the snow for fresh rodent tracks. The woodland jumping mouse, an uncommon resident of New Jersey, exists in these woods. The adaptations of this tri-colored mouse include large back feet and a long tail, which enable it to jump as high as two feet and as long as six feet. This ability allows the small creature to cover ground quickly, useful when evading predators such as fox and owl.
Spring:  Migrants are attracted to those green havens they spot as they pass over. Early in the season look for Pine, Palm, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe and Hermit Thrush. The pine forest may attract Magnolia, Blackburnian, Black-throated Green or Blackpoll Warblers. Old rock walls along the trail attest to previous farm use on the property. These rock piles are now in use by various snake species, chipmunks and ground-dwelling creatures.
Summer:  The meadows can be a good spot to see Black and Tiger Swallowtails, Red Admiral and Monarch butterflies along with the Common Green Darner dragonfly. Ripening wild blackberry provides a great source of food for Gray Catbird, and the thickets provide shelter from predators for birds and small mammals. Baby birds abound during the summer months; quietly observe adult bird activity as they search for food and return to the nest to feed their young. More easily viewed species include Baltimore Oriole, American Robin and Northern Cardinal. Look in the pine forest for Blue-headed Vireo and Pine or Black-throated Green Warblers.
Fall:  The variety of trees lend an outstanding array of colors to the fall foliage. Hawk migration begins in the late summer and continues ‘til late November. Broad-winged, Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks will all be passing through, along with a variety of duller-plumaged warblers.


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