Wildcat Ridge is an undeveloped area that does not have paved roads or public facilities located through out the Wildlife Management Area. Visitors should come prepared for this environment. Below is a list of recommendations that should be considered before visiting.
Information: Groups considering visits or schedules should contact any of the volunteers at the hawkwatch or the co-ordinator :
c/o Prospect Ridge Vet Hospital
492 Prospect Avenue
West Orange, New Jersey 07052
Phone: 973 736 7810
A link to the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife official site for Wildcat Ridge WMA is located on the links page or click here.
A joint project to map and waypoint trails at Wildcat Ridge WMA was conducted by WCC Volunteers, Morris Trail Conservancy and Rockaway Township Search and Rescue. If you should get lost or injured, call Rockaway Township Police @ 973 625 4000 and tell them the YELLOW MARKER (example WR0040) number that can be found at trail junctions. Additonally, unlawful activity such as fires, vandelism, off road vehicles, dirt bikes or any un-authorized vehicles can be reported to Rockaway Township Police at 973 625 4000.
Courtesy: When driving in, please obey the speed limit posted. Upper Hibernia Road is residential and are our neighbors. Many of the residents have chosen to live in the area due to it's seclusion. Let's be good neighbors and be careful of children and wildlife on the road.
Trash: Pack out what you pack in. In other words, take out your garbage and don't leave any behind. This includes cigarette butts. Let's keep the area clean so we can all enjoy our visit.
Foot Apparel: Hiking boots are preferred over any other footwear. However, other types of shoes and boots can be worn. You should keep safety in mind since you will be walking on loose gravel and dirt trails that have fallen trees, tree roots and rocks as obstacles. Wearing sandals or open toed shoes could cause injury to your feet or ankles. Sneakers are all right for a day walk, but if you intend to come back and enjoy the area, you should consider purchasing a pair of hiking boots at a Kmart or some such place. A variety of hiking boot styles are available at Campmor or Ramsey Outdoor.
Protection: Protect yourself from getting sunburn, bugbites and ticks. A hat will protect your head from the sun and ticks. If the hat is ventilated the vents should have tightly weaved webbing. The overlook is in a clearing that offers no shade while you observe the migrating hawks. Use a sunscreen if you plan on being at the overlook for more than an hour.
Ladybugs bite!!! So do other insects and some like to stay attached for a while. Wear light colored clothing so that any "hitchhikers" can be spotted easily. Advisedly, I would say to use a repellant. I use a 100% deet product that I purchase over the internet but an off the shelf brand is better than nothing. Be careful not to get any on your palms or rub it in your eyes and wash your clothes and self throughly after getting home. Some of the "regulars" don't use any repellant. Use your wise discretion on this particular matter. I also wear long pants and long socks to limit any access an insect might have to get to me ( I also get hot). You should also inspect your body to insure that you did not bring home any ticks.
Food: Bring fluids. Preferably water during the hot and humid days of summer. You can bring bottled water from the grocery store that has the pop-up cap. Bring a light lunch or snack that will not spoil when not refrigerated. I stop at "Good to Go" or "Torpedo Joes" on Green Pond Road to get these essentials for a full day at the Hawkwatch. Also consider how to store and protect your food. I've already lost one Italian sub to a hungry dog. Now I carry my food in a small backpack and hang it from a tree.
Toilet: There are many trees in the forest and most of them are not on the trail. Be polite when nature calls and go off the trail by some reasonable distance. "Observant caution is always the recommended approach when picking out a place to relieve oneself" says Kathleen Meyer author of a book on this subject. Ladies, if you are going to be here for a while, you should consider bringing necessary supplies such as pocket tissues. All hiking books talk about how to dispose of human waste in the wilderness by digging a hole with a small shovel. (Bears do not have shovels).
Optics: The view from Wildcat Ridge Hawkwatch is fantastic. On many days New York City can be seen with the naked eye. One visitor expressed this view as "It took my breath away". Bring a camera. Bring a pair of binoculars. You'll be surprised at the wildlife that can be found in the area such as many bird species, deer, snakes, coyote and bear ( it is a wildlife area after all). Bring both items especially during the fall hawk migration season. Many of the hawks and eagles that fly through will be high and far away, therefore a pair of binoculars will enhance your view of these wonderful avians.