Frelinghuysen remains one of the few towns in New Jersey that is fortunate enough to closely resemble the rural community it has always been. The farms may be smaller and there are now more forests than may have existed 100 years ago, but never the less, we remain an agriculture and rural residential community. Through the foresight of prior Township Committees in addition to the preservation that has been championed by the current Township Committee and former Mayors Tom Charles and David Boynton, we now own a combined 281 acres which make up the Frelinghuysen Forest Preserve.
The first part of the Frelinghuysen Forest Preserve (FFP South) that we acquired was initially slated to be a housing development. The other section (FFP North) was proposed to be a larger and more intrusive camp. Both of these potential use changes were opposed by the vast majority of residents in this town. As such, when the properties became available for purchase, Frelinghuysen Township acquired the land. Each acquisition cost the taxpayers very little due to generous grants we received. Due to the value of both properties to the Paulinksill River Watershed as the headwaters of several feeder streams, springs and vernal pools, we believe the properties contribute considerably to Coldwater Fisheries conservation. In addition, they serve as important aquifer recharge areas as well as the home to various animal species. Folks have viewed Owls, Osprey, Bobcats, Coyotes and Bear using the Frelinghuysen Forest Preserve as habitat.
We envision the Frelinghuysen Forest Preserve South site as becoming one of the best places in the surrounding communities to enjoy a quiet hike, go on a trail run through a cool forest in the summer, or just meander and observe wildlife while taking pictures. Although you are not able to bring your dog to Rydell Park or the Bear Creek Greenway behind town hall for a walk, the FFP is certainly open to dogs of all types!
The Frelinghuysen Forest Preserve North site features easier access and a more open landscape. This setting will lend itself nicely to an archery range, a community garden, hiking trails and a two acre pond for Bass in the summer and stocked with Trout in the winter for ice fishing. Residents can also bring their kayaks over for a quick paddle. In addition there is a paved trail loop which will be excellent for senior citizens and even parents with strollers or toddlers with their bikes.
While the FFP South site is populated by middle age and older timber stands the FFP North site has more emergent forest vegetation. This makes it a prime location to work with various state and federal programs focused on young forest preservation to benefit species such as the Bob White Quail and the Ruffed Grouse.