Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve
Formally known as the Haledon Reservoir, the area now known as the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve was purchased by Franklin Lakes six years ago but wasn't open to the public until summer of last year. A few months ago I learned that the awesome volunteers at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference were in the process of clearing and blazing a small network of trails around the reservoir, so I made a mental note to visit. When the NYNJTC published a hike for this area on 3/26/2012, the deal was sealed. Short on time, we headed there this morning to do the described hike.

It's a beautiful little gem, and we visited at a very unique time of the year. Within 10 minutes we literally stumbled upon a Canada Goose nest on the white trail on the western side of the reservoir just north of the dam. The father wasn't very happy to see us and gave a fake charge. Not long after that we passed another and another and another. On the blue trail we had an "encounter" when a father goose became quite aggressive because the trail came too near to his mate's nest. He swam quickly to the bank and then charged us on the narrow dyke! If anyone witnessed this silly event, it must have been quite a sight seeing two grown adults running away from an 18" armless being! He didn't chase us far and we giggled uncontrollably after reaching safety.

We encountered plenty more geese nesting, at one point forcing both the mother and father to return to the two eggs in their unguarded nest (one egg, curiously had a big blue X scrawled on it ... those nutty naturists). And then, unexpectedly, we almost surprised a huge white swan in her nest! Knowing that swans can be very vicious we high-tailed it out of there before the father swan was summoned. Whew! There's a reason this place is called a Nature Preserve!

Total distance hiked today was 2.7 miles in a 2-hour period that seemed to alternate between leisurely admiration of ineffable beauty and the outrunning of angry geese.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Large parking area

I promise I won't!

I promise I won't!

View from the dam

Turtles in the Lower Pond

Reservoir buildings south of Lower Pond

The dam

[Photo by Laura]


Dam building

[Photo by Laura] Dan taking ...

... this photo

View from west bank

Tight squeeze here

That's a big nail!

Cat tail

The first goose nest

Laura giving them a wide berth

Mourning dove



View south

View of dyke

Marsh across Ewing Avenue

Northern gate

Smelling the honeysuckle


Rusty pipe

Lamb's Ear

Two geese on first dyke

Goose resting

We were chased down this dyke!

Two cormorants

Cormorants and goose

Lovely view ...

... from northern tip

Goose and cormorants

At the end of the dyke



Frog at bridge

Thick cable in the earth

God says Keep Out

Molly Ann Brook below

Large numbers ...

... of Canada Geese


View from northeastern bank


White trail at NE bank

Two mallards

Beautiful birch trees

Basalt ...

... in the water

A future bridge will connect there

Macro photography


On Basalt Beach


Spring is bursting out

High Mountain Golf Club

Rock jumble at blue trailhead

Turtle in swamp off blue

Fishing tackle

Mother goose on nest

Two geese return to abandonded nest

One egg has a big blue X!

Bone remains

White swan on her nest!



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