INF: Wildcat Ridge, Splitrock and Farny State Park

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INF: Wildcat Ridge, Splitrock and Farny State Park

Postby jorba » Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:27 am

Wildcat Ridge WMA

Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area is managed by NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and is comprised of over 3000 acres. In the early 1990's this area was almost developed into a golf course with luxury homes, but with the efforts of local land preservationists, and the cooperation of the NJDEP, the land was saved and has continued to grow as more properties are acquired and added on. This area is rich in history, as it contains many iron mines, foundations, and the old Hibernia Cemetery dating back into the 1800's.

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Trails in Wildcat Ridge WMA

The area contains many old woods roads which are unmarked and several marked trails have been put in and maintained by volunteers associated with the Hawkwatch, Morris Land Conservancy and NYNJTC. In an effort to provide riding opportunities, all unmarked trails and wood roads have been adopted by JORBA with permission of the Regional Land Manager.

For those with the stamina, a long climb to the (former*) Hawkwatch platform (below) rewards all with great views of the Rockaway River Valley, Kinnelon and beyond. Even New York City on a clear day can be seen. (*note: sadly, the platform pictured was vandalized last year (burned) and had to be removed, but the views remain).

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The rules for off road biking in WMA's can be found here: http://www.jorba.org/Wildcat/WMA_Policy.pdf

Please note that riding is restricted at certain times throughout the year in order to avoid conflicts with hunting.
More information on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's) can be found here: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/wmas.htm

Also, please be courteous to any hikers in the area. At certain times of the year (spring and fall), many folks are travelling by foot to the Hawkwatch area for the bi-annual Hawk Watch count and it will really help relations with this user group if we, as bikers, dismount and yield to the hikers in the area. Be nice!


Maps of the Area
The following links are to the NJDEP website that show the overall area that encompasses Wildcat Ridge WMA.
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/pdf/wmam ... dge_no.pdf
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/pdf/wmam ... dge_so.pdf

This private website focuses on the "Hawk Watch" effort but it has another interactive map of the area, with some clickable links that display trail shots: http://f.vanderburgh.home.att.net/imap/wcrtrails.html

Splitrock

Often the term "Splitrock" is mistakenly used to identify the area but is actually the name of a nearby reservoir. The reservoir and land buffer surrounding it is owned by Jersey City. In 1996, NJDEP Div of Fish and Game purchased a land use easement for $1.5M to permit fishing and hiking opportunities on the reservoir. For this purpose, a boat ramp and parking area was installed on Splitrock road. The property contains two trails along the reservoir, the White or Farny Highlands Trail along the north and west shore, and the Blue Trail along the south eastern shore. Both are designated as hiking only in the land use agreement and so not open to off road biking. There are alternate routes open to biking within Farny SP, and by using Charlottesburg and Timberbrook roads, provide opportunities for a loop ride.

While the parking lot on Splitrock road does serve well as a starting location for rides within Wildcat Ridge WMA and Farny State Park, please remember that the main purpose is to support boating on Splitrock, so please respect those users and do not block access to the boat launch. There is also plenty of designated parking along Splitrock road, between the green lettered signs.

Farny State Park

Located along the northern shore of Splitrock Reservior is Farny State Park. This undeveloped park is a "natural area" and has no designated parking access. There are however two corridors for public access, one is located on Splitrock road and the other on Durham Road. Parking is permitted on splitrock road on the hill above the dam, between the green lettered signs. There are un-marked trails within Farny that provide the opportunity to ride a loop originating and ending on splitrock road.

More information on this park may be found here:
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandfore ... farny.html
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