N.J. wildlife group volunteers count hawks during southern migration

The Star Ledger


Matthew Huisman

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP — Perched thousands of feet above Wildcat Ridge, Fred Vanderburgh and Kevin McCarthy scan the skies for hawks during the birds’ fall migration south, calling out different species and recording the counts on a small clipboard.

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Elderly man rescued from woods

Thursday, March 29, 2007

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- An 84-year-old Denville man who went missing overnight Wednesday was rescued this morning near the cemetery where his parents are buried, police said today.

Joseph Konecnik -- located by a hiker at around 10:30 a.m. in the woods by Wildcat Ridge 

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Morris, state fund deal for 77-acre camp

$1.3 million sale adds property to Rockaway Township's open space, purchase includes Egnert's Lake


ROCKAWAY TWP. -- An easement along an abandoned rail bed on the west side of the lake will be transferred to the Morris County Park Commission as an extension of its West Morris Greenway trail system, connecting the property to Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area.

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No repairs for hawkwatch

Platform destroyed by fire last year at Wildcat Ridge won't be rebuilt by DEP


ROCKAWAY TWP. -- The hawkwatch platform at Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area will not be rebuilt, the state Department of Environmental Protection has decided.

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Calling All hawk-eyed individuals
July 31, 2005
By Fred J. Aun
Star Ledger

The fire that destroyed a beautiful observation platform atop Wildcat Ridge last October didn't stop the Friends of Wildcat Ridge from counting hawks.

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Coalition to buy 525 acres for $6.1M

Public-private partnership to preserve Rockaway Twp. woodlands
June 12, 2005 
BY PAULA SAHA Star-Ledger Staff
After 10 years of negotiation, a coalition of public and private agencies is on track to purchase a 525-acre tract of woodlands and streams in Rockaway Township this month. The land will be absorbed into the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area. 

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Students hit with hazing charges after fraternity bash

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- A raucous, after-hours college fraternity bash at Wildcat Ridge was broken up by police, who slapped 20 Montclair State University students with hazing and/or underage drinking charges. 

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Preservation promise

3 leaders push their Highlands legislation

05/28/03-Posted 11:32:30 PM from the Daily Record newsroom

By Colleen O'Dea, Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- With a nearly unbroken vista of trees as a backdrop, three New Jersey congressmen vowed to push their legislation to designate the Highlands as a federal stewardship area and commit $250 million in federal funds to land preservation. 

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Splitrock toilet is no ordinary portable potty

Public facility in Rockaway Twp. does not use septic 


By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- A public toilet recently installed at the Splitrock Reservoir by the state Department of Environmental Protection is no ordinary portable potty. 

Described by DEP spokeswoman Karen Hershey as an "environmentally-friendly, non-septic using, self-contained toilet facility," it will keep visitors to the 625-acre reservoir from having to duck behind a tree before boarding their kayaks and canoes. 

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This turkey day honors the bird 

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. - Wildcat Ridge will be one of two locations in the nation hosting the National Wild Turkey Federation's Thanksgiving Turkey Release next week. 

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Wild turkeys win their
freedom in Rockaway Twp.

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record


ROCKAWAY TWP. - A dozen wild turkeys flew to freedom this morning, the star attractions in the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual "Thanksgiving Turkey Release." 

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100 Acres on Wildcat Ridge (NJ) Protected 

Trust for Public Land 

The purchase of the Johnson Woods property protects wildlife habitat, safeguards the Town of Rockaway’s water the water supply, and extends public access to the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area. The area is a prime feeding and 
nesting habitat for hawks, eagles and other raptors during spring and fall migrations. 

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Found: Dead bear without claws

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. - Investigators are trying to find out who removed the claws from the body of a 285-pound black bear after it was struck by a car and killed. 

 The dead bruin was found by township police, about 50 yards north of the Split Rock Dam. 

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Wildlife area gains 61 acres

By Matt Manochio,Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. — Sixty-one forested acres have been added to the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area in a three-part agreement between a township family, Morris land Conservancy and the Conservation fund. 

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Hiker found after night on ridge in Rockaway 

By Greg Saitz 
Star Ledger 

An overnight search for a hiker on Wildcat Ridge in Rockaway Township ended yesterday morning when rescuers found the woman unharmed after a stormy night in the woods, authorities said. 

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 Lost hawk counter guides his rescuers 

Star Ledger 
Tuesday, July 08, 2003

ROCKAWAY TWP.: Police are warning hikers to be prepared for the worst during excursions into the woods ....

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Hawk counter appreciates majesty of great birds

Daily Record
by Michael Daigle

Tom Gorman of Rockaway said he was on Wildcat Ridge the other day, spying maybe 40 turkey vultures about 20 miles away, over perhaps Jersey City. They rose into the sky as the air warmed and began to "kettle.''

"It's like watching a swarm of bees,'' he said.

The birds were circling and swirling around and around one another as they rose on the warming air.

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Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is great spot for bird watching


Daily Record
August 23, 2010

HARDING — With a sighting the other day of a blue winged teal, the fall bird migration appeared to have started.

"Blue winged teals are an early migrator," said Craig Bitler, the wildlife biologist at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

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Keep Watching the Skies

August 14, 2005
By Christine Contillo
New York Times

This is the time of year when hawks flock to the skies, and hawkwatchers flock to the hills and ridges of New Jersey.

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Rockaway Twp. officials find body in reservoir

July 11, 2005

ROCKAWAY TWP. --Local and township officials retrieved the body of a man from the Split Rock Reservoir on Monday afternoon, Rockaway Township Fire Chief Joe Mason said.

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Highlands a priority, say U.S. Secretary

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 
05/23/04 - Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton called Highlands preservation a national priority Saturday and lauded local and community efforts aimed at protecting the 800,000-acre region. 

"It's wonderful to see things firsthand -- to see the wonderful areas that are here, the importance of the watershed and the strong natural resources," said Norton, the first Interior Secretary to visit the Highlands region in a decade. 

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$14M allotted for open spaces

County trust fund announces grants 

November 11, 2004 
Star-Ledger Staff 

A 525-acre tract in Rockaway Township adjacent to the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area just might be preserved as its original owner wished. 

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Conservancy buys 100 acres in Rockaway Twp.

Land will be added to state wildlife sanctuary 

Friday, October 18, 2002 
Star-Ledger Staff 

When three Nutley investors bought a 100-acre parcel in Rockaway Township in the 1980s, they envisioned making a future financial killing because their land would abut a major golf course proposed by famed golfer Arnold Palmer. 

But the golf course was never built

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Holding the High Ground

Trust for Public Land 

By Richard M. Stapleton 

A strong coalition moves to preserve open space in the New Jersey Highlands, a crowded state's last best defense against sprawl. 

Bill Gallagher has to carry his chair to work every morning. And there's no elevator. Not even stairs. His office is a hundred stories up, on a balcony-sized ledge of million-year-old metamorphic gneiss. There's no kitchenette, and the men's room is, well, over behind a tree. But ohhhhh, he enjoys the view. 

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Cabinet chief to hike to Wildcat

By Charlotte G. Kullen,Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. — Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt will hike up the trails leading to the Wildcat Ridge Hawkwatch Monday, to get a bird’s eye view of a 300-acre property that conservationists want to stop from becoming another subdivision. 

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A bird in a hand..
Makes it worth a trip to wildlife management area

By Dianne Sommers,Daily Record 
March 19, 2002 

Surrounded by freezing wind, Bill Gallagher is perched on the edge of a rocky ridge that’s so high he can see clear to Manhattan. He’s standing around and staring into the sky. He’s busy. 

Gallagher is counting raptors, or birds of prey, as a volunteer for the Hawk Migration Association of North America. The big birds use the same flyways each year, so counting them during spring and fall migrations helps monitor their population trends. 

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June 11, 2000 
By Jan Barry, Staff Writer, Bergen Record, 

Nature lovers this spring have 83 additional acres to explore in the rugged Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area in Rockaway Township. 

Wild and remote, it's a jewel in the state's open-space inventory. But it's also just a very small one, amid thousands of acres added in the past year to the state's parks and forests. 

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Adventures in Leadership
Awards for 2000


Lisa Reyerson 

Copeland Middle School 

To obtain and incorporate educational signs on the Wildcat Ridge Hawkwatch in Rockaway Township.  She will work with members of the Hawkwatch professional staff as well as local designers and volunteers. 

Hike of the Week

Bergen Record 

FEATURES: This loop hike in the Farny Highlands climbs to a panorama over Rockaway Valley from the Hawk Watch and goes by a beaver pond.

LENGTH: 2.4 miles.

DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate.

TIME: About two hours.

MAP: Wildcat Ridge trails map (available at f.vanderburgh.home.att.net/imap/wcrtrails.html).

DOGS: Permitted on leash.

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Lost hikers rescued after call to police

Daily Record 

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Snow may stymie bear hunting

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record

John Rogalo of Stanhope, president of the Morris County chapter of the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen, predicted that bear hunters would flock to Wawayanda State Park in Vernon, the Berkshire Valley Wildlife Management Area and Wildcat Ridge in Rockaway Township.

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Splitrock gets a new parking lot

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record

ROCKAWAY TWP. - A 25-vehicle gravel parking lot opened Friday at the Splitrock Reservoir, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell said.

The parking lot, located at the southern end of the reservoir, will provide access for people to launch a car-top boat for fishing, kayaking or canoeing, Campbell said. Gasoline-powered engines will not be permitted on the reservoir, he said.

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Hawkwatch at Wildcat Ridge

Daily Record
By Thomas Gorman

During the spring and autumn hawkwatch migrations, Rockaway resident ....... 

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Hunters bag trophies on first day of bear hunt

Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff

It was just before 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning when Terry Atkins fired his Ithaca 12-gauge pump-gun and hit the lumbering black bear in the left side, high in the chest. But the large bruin did not drop.

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DEP takes a closer look at Split Rock

Neighbors say access has spawned problems

November 03, 2005

Star-Ledger Staff

Two years after opening the Split Rock Reservoir in Rockaway Township to the public, officials at the state Department of Environmental Protection say they are looking into increasing enforcement in the area and building a permanent ramp for rescue boats.

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Hawk-tober Festival

Pathways Fall 2005

Morris County Park Commission

The annual weekend celebration will focus on charismatic birds of prey - hawks!

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Split Rock bridge: Ace of the holes

9/18/05 - Rob Jennings, Daily Record

The Road Crew has bounced over quite a few roads in Morris County with car-chomping potholes.

Probably the worst is the one-lane bridge over the Jersey City-owned Split Rock Reservoir's dam in Rockaway Township.

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Volunteer Profile

July 30, 2005
By Tehani Schneider
Daily Record

Who is he? Where does he volunteer? Why does he volunteer?

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Hawkwatch platform fire probed as a possible arson

Autorities: Blaze that destroyed deck may have been started intentionally 

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 

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Splitrock Reservoir users told to beware

Officials look to prevent lawsuits with new warning sign: Enter at own risk 

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- Local officials have a message for hikers and boaters at Splitrock Reservoir: Enter at your own risk. 

A sign warning that "emergency response may be delayed due to the inaccessibility of this remote area" will be installed near the 625-acre reservoir, Mayor Louis Sceusi said Thursday. 

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Sprawl in Highlands imperils water supply 
Federal study details threats to region 

By Colleen O'Dea, Daily Record 

The Highlands region in New Jersey and New York is losing more than 5,000 acres a year to development, and that could deplete the water supply to dangerous levels if officials don’t act to curtail sprawl, according to a federal study being released today. 

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CAPITOL HILL – Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey’s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced today his success in securing $9.5 million for land purchases in the Highlands.  Frelinghuysen also secured a requirement for two cabinet agencies, the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture, to develop plans on how the Federal Government will become a major partner in efforts to preserve lands within this critical national priority area. 

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Green Acres Program Protects Wildcat Ridge


The Green Acres Program, along with the Trust for Public Land, Morris County, Rockaway Township, the Forest Legacy Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund preserved 295 acres of land adjacent to the State's 2,662 acre Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area. Situated in the state's Highlands region, the newly protected land begins the development of connections to the Farny Highlands Trail Network, a 37-mile trail system linking public lands throughout Morris County. 

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Colored Redtail Sightings

Dan Kunkle 
Saturday August 11, 2001 

Thanks to the reports from volunteers like you, we had 16 sighitngs of color marked Red-tailed Hawks from our first year of marking. We begin the second year of the study this August. We will again be color marking birds as described below. PLEASE TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT THOSE RED-TAILS beginning now, and continuing through next spring. Please report any sightings as indicated below. 

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Youths blamed in brush fire

Firefighters kept blaze from reaching homes in Rockaway Township

04/25/03 - Posted 11:06:47 PM from the Daily Record newsroom

By Rob Seman, Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- A fire believed to have been set by local youths burned 19 acres of trees and brush near the border of Boonton Township on Thursday afternoon.

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Hawk Migration Over NJ Highlands

By Lorraine Ash,Daily Record 

No matter what happens on earth, the birds migrate and there are those that never miss their majestic journey over the flyways of New Jersey. 

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Hiker OK after being rescued from park

Daily  Record 
July 6, 2003 

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 Vandals disturb 19th century grave

By Rob Jennings, Daily Record 
10/08/03 -  Daily Record 

ROCKAWAY TWP. -- A 19th century grave plot at St. Patrick's Cemetery was partially unearthed, but the remains of three people interred there were not removed, police said.

Authorities responded to the historic, remote burial ground after a Lake Denmark Road resident reported the disturbance on Sunday, according to a police report.

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High-flying spectacle

Thursday, September 25, 2003 
The Record 
By Vera Lawlor staff writer 

Ten pairs of binoculars are trained on two broad-winged hawks flying low along the cliff face. 

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