Despite the fact that it is located in the midst of suburbia and surrounded by private homes, the Celery Farm Natural Area is a...
Despite the fact that it is located in the midst of suburbia and surrounded by private homes, the Celery Farm Natural Area is a magnificent oasis which allows one to experience the beauty of nature while looping around a scenic pond. The dense vegetation surrounding the pond largely obscures the view of the surrounding homes, and it is indeed hard to believe that you are in the midst of a developed community! Because of its short length and easy terrain, this is an ideal hike for families with young children.
What is now known as the Celery Farm Natural Area was owned in the late 1800s by Henry J. Appert, who cultivated onions and celery on land surrounding what was then known as Wolf Lake. The area remained a working farm until the 1950s. The land was subsequently purchased by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and in 1981, 60 acres were acquired by the Borough of Allendale through Green Acres funding. Subsequent donations from developers and residents have increased the total acreage to 107 acres. The property is jointly managed by the Borough of Allendale and the Fyke Nature Association.
From the kiosk at the parking area, cross a bridge over a drainage ditch and proceed ahead on a wide path, passing a sign that relates the history of the preserve. A short distance ahead, you'll cross another wooden bridge and come to a T-intersection. Turn left to reach a wooden observation platform with a panoramic view over the pond, now known as Lake Appert. The area is a bird sanctuary, and over 250 species of birds have been recorded here.
After taking in the view, retrace your steps to the intersection and continue ahead, looping around the pond in the counter-clockwise direction. You'll pass another viewpoint (with a bench) at the south end of the pond and then head north along a shaded path between the pond (on your left) and a wide ditch (on your right). Along the way, you’ll pass two more viewpoints along the eastern shore. The first viewpoint has a bench; the second viewpoint has a raised observation platform, known as the Pirie-Mayhood Tower. When you reach the northeast corner of the pond, you'll come to a fork, where you should bear left to follow the main trail around the pond. The area on the right has been fenced in to exclude deer and thereby protect the native vegetation.
Bear left again at the next fork. After crossing a marsh on a footbridge and passing another observation platform, you'll cross an area of cattails and come to the northwest corner of the pond. Here, a trail to the right leads into the Pauline Oxnard Butterfly Garden. At the junction, there is an interesting old piece of farm machinery. Bear left and head south along the trail which, after several turns, begins to parallel Franklin Turnpike. You'll cross a long boardwalk over a wet area and, a short distance beyond, reach the footbridge on the right that leads to the parking area where the hike began.
A trail map can be downloaded at www.fykenature.org/cfmap.html
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 11/05/2009 updated/verified on 09/21/2022
This hike loops around a scenic pond on a level footpath.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.