New Jersey Audubon Old Farm Sanctuary - Independence, NJ
Donated by two local individuals in the early 1990s, Mr. Frank Stramaglia, Jr. and Ms. Florence Remley, the 151-acre Old Farm Sanctuary is comprised of forested hillsides (habitat ranking 4) containing mixed oak, red cedar, and Norway spruce, changing to sugar maple and red maple in the wet areas (habitat ranking 2). At the base of the hillsides is Bacon Run, a branch of the Category One Pequest River. Ten acres of the property remain in active agriculture.
This property is home to a number of unique species including Cooper’s Hawk, Barred Owl, Red shouldered Hawk, Eastern Box Turtle, Black Bear, Beaver, Coyote, Red Fox, Fowler’s Toad, Jefferson Salamander, Marbled Salamander, Northern Spring Salamander, Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, and a number of warblers, woodpeckers, and song birds.
NJ Audubon is actively working to restore and maintain forest health at this facility and managing the habitat for rare and threatened species. Restoration activities include management of nonnative invasive species and the control of local deer populations.
New Jersey Audubon is a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon societies, New Jersey Audubon has no connection with the National Audubon Society.
New Jersey Audubon fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey's citizens; protects New Jersey's birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of New Jersey's valuable natural habitats.
From Route 46 take Route 614/ Petersburg Road west to a “Y” fork. The right fork goes to Ryan Road. Drive a short distance uphill to parking area (Remley portion) where there is direct trail access to the ridge top. Left fork becomes Water Street. Drive a short distance to small parking area on right at the sanctuary sign. Picnic area is along the trail system off Water Street.
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Limited parking is available at Water Street and Ryan Road. To reach the Ryan Road parking area and hawk lookout, continue northeast on Water Street and turn Left onto Ryan Road. The parking area is a short distance up the hill on the Left. If snow is on the ground, trails and parking may not be accessible. The trails are for hiking only. Trails are marked with New Jersey Audubon Society logos and maps are available in brochure holders at the Water Street entrance. Make sure to stay on the main trails, as private residences border this property. Ticks are present and black bear is common in the area.
NJ Audubon Sanctuary Regulations
No Litter – all centers are carry in / carry out
No Alcoholic Beverages
No Horses or Bikes
No Collecting Plants or Animals
No Public Hunting, No Trapping or Woodcutting
No Motorized Vehicles
Fishing by Special Permit Only
Picnic only in areas with tables. There are NO facilities at any unstaffed sanctuary.
Pet Friendly Notes
An extensive network of marked trails totaling 2.5 miles traverses both hillsides and low-lying areas. Trails range from easy to difficult due to the rocky and steep terrain. Interpretive nature signs may be found at various points along the trails.
Wildlife Watching, Bird Watching, Hiking, Nature Photography and Nature Study
Follow the Overlook Trail to the hawk lookout. The lookout can be accessed from both parking areas. The Ryan Road access point is the closest, but the Water Street access point provides a pleasant hike through varied habitat.
Accessible All Seasons
Winter: Enjoy the visiting White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco or American Tree Sparrow; they’ll be on their way north in a few months. Walk to the field or the lookout and scan for Cooper’s and Red-shouldered Hawks.
Spring: This is the perfect time to hone warbler identification skills. Warblers’ bright breeding plumage makes them easier to spot and identify than in autumn. Peak migration occurs early- to mid-May. Black-and-white, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Blue and Parula Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart and Ovenbird are just some of the passerine species that will be migrating through or scouting the area for breeding purposes.
Summer: By now all the migrants have either passed through or settled in to raise a family. Baltimore Oriole can be heard singing a series of long and short notes from the treetops and Gray Catbird “mew” from the shrubs. But birds aren’t the only inhabitants. The Jefferson salamander, Fowler’s toad, marbled salamander and northern spring salamander use the wetland areas, along with wood turtle and eastern box turtle. With any luck a red fox, black bear or coyote may pass within view. Make sure to check out the field for butterflies and dragonflies; Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, Pearl Crescent, Great-spangled Fritillary and the very showy Baltimore Checkerspot are all possibilities.
Fall: From the hawk lookout scan the sky for migrating Broad-winged, Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned and Red-shouldered Hawks, along with American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin and Bald Eagle.