South Mountain Reservation

South Mountain Reservation

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South Mountain Reservation

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South Mountain Reservation covers 2,047.14 acres (8 km²) in central Essex County, New Jersey, in portions of Maplewood, and Millburn and West Orange, bordering South Orange, between the first and second ridges of the Watchung Mountains.

In 1896, John Durand, the son of Asher Brown Durand, described the mountain that includes South Mountain Reservation as

“a wilderness, as it probably existed at the time of Hendrick Hudson, a primitive forest abounding with deer and other wild animals, and traversed by streams alive with trout. Game was plentiful – partridges, quail, woodcock, rabbits, squirrels of every species, raccoons and foxes; while occasionally a hungry bear that had trespassed on the farmyards in the vicinity would be tracked to its den and shot.”

In 1680, wolves, bears and cougars were observed in the area, and there was a bounty on them.

The reservation has changed only slightly through the years. It's been preserved primarily in its wild state. Woodlands abound in a variety of hardwood trees, and tall hemlocks tower above streams, creeks and ponds. The west branch of the Rahway River flows through the valley. A reservoir and watershed owned by the City of Orange lies in the northern tract.

Turtle Back Zoo and the South Mountain Arena lie within its boundaries. There are vistas of New York City, Elizabeth, Union Township, Staten Island. Hemlock Falls is a dramatic feature; neighboring Blackrock Falls is a...
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