Welcome to Hawk Rise Sanctuary, a 95-acre ecological preserve and wetland complex, which was carved out of a former landfill in Linden, New Jersey.
This park is open from dawn to dusk and includes a “double-legged" lollipop trail of about 1.5 miles that alternates between boardwalk and gravel paths. In addition to panoramic views of the Rahway River, trails are equipped with interpretive signage to provide visitors with habitat descriptions and information regarding over 120 species of birds and other wildlife that have been seen in the area.
Why are there rocks in the woods?
Glaciers are frozen rivers of ice that exist today in North America only on high mountains or at extreme northern latitudes. However 10,000 years ago much of northern New Jersey, including this area, was covered by the Wisconsin Glacier. As this glacier moved across the land it slowly plucked, gouged, and scoured the landscape, moving large quantities of rocks. As the glacier melted it dropped rocks, such as the rocks in this area, randomly across the landscape. These “wandering stones” are called glacial erratics.
The estimated depth of the Wisconsin Glacier was as much as one mile. A glacier that thick and powerful eliminated most forms of life in its path. Once the glacier retreated, a barren landscape was left and plants and animals re-colonized the area in a process called ecological succession. Over time, a diverse ecological landscape, similar to the one we see today, emerged, revealing only occasional clues to the previous presence of the glacier.
The Wisconsin Glacier carved the region’s landscape and helped create the features that we see today. It dammed existing rivers with rocks and created new drainage basins, such as the Arthur Kill. Visit the EarthCache Old Jersey (GC2P66P) to learn more. Depressions filled with water and became lakes, ponds and other wetlands.
Glaciers have been shrinking worldwide since about 1850, but in recent decades scientists have documented that the World's glaciers are melting at an accelerated pace. Most scientists agree that the Earth is warming rapidly due to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases which blanket the planet, trap heat, and cause global temperatures to rise.
While the Rahway River and its associated wetlands look very different today than when they were formed, it may not be hard to envision Native Americans wandering the river edges and early settlers building homes and businesses on the river’s banks.