Warren Preservation Day at White Lake Set for May 17
The County of Warren is pleased to announce “Warren Preservation Day” will be held at the White Lake Natural Resource Area on Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Located at 97 Stillwater Road (County Route 521) in Hardwick Township, just across from the historic Vass Farmstead, the event offers visitors the opportunity to explore the area and learn more about the numerous open space, historic, and farmland preservation efforts that are being pursued throughout the Warren County.
“Nestled in the quiet hills of the Ridge and Valley Region, White Lake offers residents a chance to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you kayak across the clear blue water of the lake, or hike the meandering trails through the meadows and into the woods, be sure to stop, breathe the fresh air, and take it all in. There is a lot to enjoy here,” said Allen Barlow, the White Lake Land Steward with The Nature Conservancy.
The 394-acre preserve surrounds the 69-acre, spring-fed White Lake, so named for its chalky white marl bottom. Kayaks will be available to borrow for free and visitors are invited to explore the variety of habitats that surround the lake, including fertile meadows, karst limestone exposures, sinkhole ponds and stands of mature hemlock and hardwood forests – all of which are teaming with wildlife. In addition, the preserve is dotted with several historic points of interest, including a lime kiln and the stone wall remnants of the ice-house/marl-works facility. Guided tours will be offered on site throughout the day and free brochure maps are available for those who prefer to explore on their own.
“At The Nature Conservancy, our mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth and we do that by protecting the land and water critical to species survival. We first partnered with the county over some six years ago with the goal of protecting the rare shoreline fen communities, the globally imperiled Metalmark Butterfly, and removing invasive species from this unique landscape,” Barlow explained.
“We’ve been a bit of a well-guarded secret up here for quite some time, but I frequently see hikers, naturalists, kayakers and fishermen – so word must be getting out. And we want people to enjoy themselves here, we just ask they do so responsibly and be mindful of the sensitive ecology that surrounds them,” he continued.
In addition to exploring the preserve, visitors are encouraged to tour the Vass Farmstead located just across the street. Built in 1812 by German immigrant John Vass, the farmstead includes a 19th century stone farmhouse and a German-style red barn. With the assistance of state and county funding, the Hardwick Township Historical Society has extensively restored the historic structures and has been using the site for various community events.
“The Farmstead is progressing along very well; the house and the barn are able to show people what things were like in the 1800s and 1900s. It’s a place for children, adults and seniors to come together, learn about our local history and enjoy the beauty of the area,” said Richard Ohl, President of the Hardwick Township Historical Society.
Not only are visitors welcome to hike the trails around the preserve and tour the Vass Farmstead, but they are encouraged to stop by the various exhibitor tables to learn more about preservation efforts across Warren County.
“White Lake is wonderful place to explore, but there really are so many other amazing sites in Warren County that people just don’t know about. So we’ve invited numerous groups who have been working to protect open space, farmland, and historic sites all around our community,” explained Corey Tierney, Director of Land Preservation for Warren County.
“We’re fortunate to have the Ridge and Valley Conservancy, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary, the Morris Canal Committee, Hoff Vannatta, Ramsaysburg, Rutherfurd Hall and many others participating this year,” added Tierney.
“It’s a great way for residents to learn more about these terrific sites. At the end of the day, we hope everyone will not only make it a point to go out and visit these places, but that they will walk away with a deeper appreciation for those who are committed to preserving the many unique sites which make Warren County so special,” Tierney said.
The May 17 event coincides with National Kids to Parks Day, and Warren Preservation Day is registered with the National Parks Trust as a “hosted event.” More information is available online at http://parktrust.org/