Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Great Swamp Trail

Madison, New Jersey

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When English investors purchased 30,000 acres of land from the Delaware Indians in 1708 for a barrel of rum, four pistols, fifteen kettles, thirty pounds sterling, and other miscellaneous items, they probably went away laughing. But the Native Americans felt pretty good too, knowing that a good portion of the land sold was under water! Settlements quickly sprung up, and during the Revolutionary War, wood was collected from the upland areas for making wagon wheels. Through the years, additional acres have been added. More than 244 species of birds have been spotted in the refuge as well as a variety of mammals. While traversing the woodland and cattail marsh, imagine how this area was created 25,000 years ago when the Wisconsin Glacier stopped abruptly on its way south. As it melted, long ridges of sand and gravel were left behind, blocking the outlet of an ancient river basin. Eventually, a huge lake formed, although it was drained when the retreating glacier created a second outlet. What remained were marshes and swamp. Waterproof shoes or boots are advisable. Fall and winter are the best seasons to visit, when ground is firmer and insects are gone.
Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey

by Arline Zatz (The Mountaineers Books)

When English investors purchased 30,000 acres of land from the Delaware Indians in 1708 for a barrel of rum, four pistols, fifteen kettles, thirty pounds sterling, and other miscellaneous items, they probably went away laughing. But the Native Americans felt pretty good too, knowing that a good portion of the land sold was under water! Settlements quickly sprung up, and during the Revolutionary War, wood was collected from the upland areas for making wagon wheels.

Through the years, additional acres have been added. More than 244 species of birds have been spotted in the refuge as well as a variety of mammals. While traversing the woodland and cattail marsh, imagine how this area was created 25,000 years ago when the Wisconsin Glacier stopped abruptly on its way south. As it melted, long ridges of sand and gravel were left behind, blocking the outlet of an ancient river basin. Eventually, a huge lake formed, although it was drained when the retreating glacier created a second outlet. What remained were marshes and swamp. Waterproof shoes or boots are advisable. Fall and winter are the best seasons to visit, when ground is firmer and insects are gone.

©  Arline Zatz/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Madison
Length: 2.5
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: Day Hike
Season: Dawn to dusk
Local Contacts: Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Topo Map: Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge: Great Swamp Trail Topographic Map
Guide Book: Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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