Franklin Park Natural AreaAmenities:
- Cross-Country Skis
- Dogs on Leash Permitted
- Equestrian Permitted
- Snow Shoes Permitted
- Township Preserves and Trails
Bunker Hill and Franklin Park Natural Areas
The 112 acre Bunker Hill Natural Area was acquired by the township in 2005 after a developer purchased this and surrounding land to develop as a housing development. As part of a subsequent developer’s agreement, these 112 acres were donated to the township as open space and other areas nearby were developed as apartments. The adjacent 106 acre Franklin Park Natural Area, just east of the Bunker Hill Natural Area, was acquired by the township in the 2001 and this area is likely to be developed into a southern regional park – with athletic fields and other recreation amenities. The two areas together comprise 218 acres and are separated by the Ten Mile Run stream – which, except after heavy rains, can be crossed on foot. In 2007, the township opened this area to the public after laying out the 3.5 miles of trails.
Unique Landscape Features
The Bunker Hill tract is partially a mature forest and partially a meadow that is in the process of succession to a forest. The Franklin Park tract has fields that are currently leased to a nearby farmer with trails running along the edges of several fields. A small portion of the trail goes through a mature forest. Perhaps the most interesting feature on this site is the 30-foot high red-rock cliff that overlooks the stream. NJ’s geology resulted, in part, from continent collision and the subsequent breakup of the supercontinent and with the formation of the Atlantic Ocean. This resulted in a huge basin forming in NJ that slowly filled up with sediment like a lake. That lake shale is what one looks at when down at the Ten mile Run cliffs. This is called the Passaic Formation and runs right through parts of NY, NJ and into PA. The way the rock breaks up is distinctive. The red color is typical of lake sediments that were exposed to oxygen-rich water during deposition allowing for minerals especially iron, to oxidize. The reason that we see only a relatively small outcropping here and there of this red shale is because of more "recent" glaciation and subsequent erosion.
Passive Recreation Activities
Hiking, bird-watching, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular on the trail. Eagle Scouts constructed the two kiosks, bat nesting boxes, benches and the trail on the Franklin Park portion.
Another scout project was the construction of a demonstration deer exclosure area to show the effects of deer browsing on the forest trees.
This is a carry-in/carry-out facility.
There are no restrooms on site.