Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
241 Pleasant Plains Road
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
(973) 425-1222
Official Website

Places Nearby:
Raptor Trust
Somerset County Environmental Ed. Center
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
Leonard J. Buck Garden
Reeves - Reed Arboretum
More in:

Other States:

In 1959 the threat of a jetport enabled the Great Swamp Committee of the North American Wildlife Foundation to mobilize many volunteers to preserve the area. Their effort resulted in the purchase of nearly 3,000 acres, which was donated to the Department of the Interior. Through the years, additional acreage was added, resulting in today's 7,500-acre refuge -- home to an enormous variety of plant and animal life.

The eastern half of the refuge has been designated as a Wilderness Area, and it offers more than eight miles of pristine trails. The western half is a Wildlife Management Area which is intensely managed to maintain optimum habitat for our animal friends. Public access is limited to the Wildlife Observation Center.

Visitors are encouraged to observe, study, photograph, and just walk with nature. The best times for observing wildlife are early morning and late afternoon.

The Observation Center, located off Long Hill Road, has about one mile of trails, interpretive displays, an unstaffed information booth, blinds for observing wildlife, and restrooms.

Visitors should obtain the brochure describing Refuge regulations; it will help them preserve this great place. Also available (from Refuge Headquarters) are brochures to help identify the various plant and animal forms to be found.

Educational tours, slide shows, and programs are available for groups or 10 to 50 people. Call (973) 425-1222 extension 14 for details or to make arrangements.

At Headquarters, groups of 10 to 50 people can view interesting slide shows covering a variety of topics related to the Refuge. Programs are suitable for ages 8 through adult and are about 45 minutes long. Guided Trail Walks can also be arranged for groups of up to 15. An outdoor classroom is available for teachers who wish to conduct environmental education activities. Number of students should not exceed 25.

The Great Swamp is host to two separate environmental centers: Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and The Environmental Education Center. Also, The Raptor Trust, a fantastic rehabilitation facility for birds of prey, is on part of the Refuge. All are listed separately in this these pages.

Refuge Headquarters is located on Pleasant Plains Road.

Hours: Headquarters Office Hours: Thursday & Friday 12 4pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am - 4pm. Call for further details or visit the official website linked above. In the Refuge visitors are permitted only in the designated areas during daylight hours, unless otherwise posted.

Admission: FREE.

Groups: FREE.

Group Reservations: Group visit, 1 week in advance. For programs at least 2 weeks ahead. Call Headquarters Tuesday thru Thursday.

Lunch: Picnicking is not permitted on the Refuge. Nearby Southard Park does have picnic facilities.

Handicapped Access: Limited. Call for details.

Directions: I-287 South to exit 30A toward Basking Ridge. From exit you will be heading south on North Maple Ave. Continue to fork in road and bear left onto South Maple Ave. Just after passing Lord Stirling Park, turn left onto Lord Stirling Ave. This becomes White Bridge Rd. About 1/2 mile after crossing the white bridge, turn left onto Pleasant Plains Rd. Headquarters will be on the left. About an hour from the George Washington Bridge.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.