Critical Trail Lands Protected and Added to Wawayanda State Park
A vital tract of land needed to secure the route of the Terrace Pond North Loop in New Jersey’s Wawayanda State Park has been permanently preserved thanks to the Trail Conference, our partners, and our supporters.
The beautiful 2.5-acre parcel between Wawayanda State Park and Abram S. Hewitt State Forest was purchased from private owner Norma Schadegg in October. The Terrace Pond North Loop has long been routed diagonally across a corner of the Schadegg family’s property on Warwick Turnpike. In our ongoing efforts to protect public trail lands, the Trail Conference had determined it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to reroute this trail if a new landowner were to ever rescind this partnership.
“Moving the trail was not an option; losing the section of trail and access to Terrace Pond was definitely not an option,” said longtime Trail Conference volunteers Estelle Anderson and Bob Jonas, who provided funds to secure the land purchase. Additional investment came from open space funds from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, Green Acres, and private donors. The parcel will be donated to the State of New Jersey and become an addition to Wawayanda State Park.
“Paired with the protection of 10 adjacent acres by The Land Conservancy of New Jersey and the Trail Conference several years ago, this acquisition is a great victory for the public’s enjoyment of the Terrace Pond North Loop and the beautiful land it crosses,” said Trail Conference Executive Director Joshua Howard. “The protection of both parcels not only gives permanent protection to the Terrace Pond North Loop through Wawayanda; it also safeguards critical habitat for native flora and fauna. We are grateful for the partnership of The Land Conservancy in helping to identify, purchase, and protect critical trail lands such as this one, which offers further access to the crossing at Terrace Pond and to the new and improved series of trails around the pond.”
Historically, this part of the trail has seen relatively little use, with most people preferring to use the trail access from Clinton Road to reach Terrace Pond. However, the Terrace Pond trail network was expanded in 2020. This preserved trail section is part of a vital spur to parking on Warwick Turnpike. With the new loop option, we expect to see more people utilizing the trail as a full hiking experience rather than a simple out-and-back route to Terrace Pond.
Trail Conference Life Member Robert C. Ross, who played an integral role in the deal, said, “the Schadegg acquisition is the culmination of over 6 years of close collaboration between the Trail Conference and The Land Conservancy, as well as a number of other people, including a generous donation from Mrs. Schadegg. It protects the final section of a 25-mile trail route extending from Route 23 to the Appalachian Trail, ensuring the interconnectivity of many more miles of trail. It was a joy to work with everyone involved.”
Significantly, Mrs. Schadegg was satisfied with the outcome as well. “I am happy to think that the lush growth of mountain laurel and hemlocks on this piece of property will remain to inspire the many drivers who pass and hikers who walk and take the time to contemplate the beauty of this natural setting,” she said. “Thank you.”
The Trail Conference is vigilant in seeking permanent protection for public access to nature. Without our volunteers, supporters, and partners, great trail experiences wouldn’t be possible. We are grateful for those who participate in protecting the land they love and invite you to learn about the impact you can make by contacting the Director of Donor Advising Don Weise at [email protected] or donating to our Land Acquisition and Stewardship Fund.