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Pohatcong Native Arboretum

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Located just off of Route 57 in Washington Township, Warren County, New Jersey there is a small and interesting arboretum worth visiting. The four-acre Pohatcong Native Arboretum opened last year after 11 years of planning and planting. It's located in the Pohatcong Natural Creek Area along the Pohatcong Creek.

Township native Anthony Pasquini founded the arboretum. Earlier this month after years and countless hours of labor, Pasquini passed control of the arboretum off to Warren Hills Regional High School, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Washington Township, N.J.

When founded in autumn, 2002 there was an initial planting of 40 species by students from Warren Hills Regional High School. Since then the arboretum has grown to around 130 species of native trees and shrubs organized into 34 Plant Families, one of the most comprehensive collections of woody native plants in the Mid-Atlantic region. All the plants are native to New Jersey and it is the only arboretum in the state that concentrates solely on native plants.

A native species is an organism that is living in an area for entirely natural reasons, with no human intervention involved. This may be because the organism evolved in that environment, or it may have been brought there by natural causes. Wind can spread plant seeds widely for example, and species may be carried by animals or birds. A non-native species is one that has been introduced, intentionally or accidentally, by humans and may become invasive, taking over the natural environment and choking out native species. Invasive species often develop quickly and spread aggressively, making it difficult for natives to compete. Over time, a native species usually evolves to perfectly fit in the environment where it has settled.

In a fenced-in, deer proof area; specimens are organized by family and planted in raised beds covered with more than 40 tons of glacial stones; most from the Delaware River and some from the nearby mountain. Signs identify each plant by its familiar, rather than scientific name.

Located at the arboretum is the Robert Rush Memorial log cabin, which has been assigned for future use by the Warren County Arts Council. Also, a 1.8 mile trail loop goes along the creek and through wetlands. The trail is blue-blazed on one side of the creek and white-blazed on the other side. Several times the blazes are missing and you really have to look for them to see where the trail continues. Wear hiking shoes because the trail is rocky with exposed tree roots and some wet areas; and some areas on the trail can close in during the later summer months. The trail is not very-welled maintained and ticks can be a problem.

The arboretum is located at 56 Mine Hill Road in Washington, NJ. From Phillipsburg; take Route 57 east, left onto Brass Castle Road, then right onto Kinnaman Ave., and then left onto Mine Hill Road. It is open during daylight hours but is closed on Mondays.

Children must be supervised by an adult. No dogs are allowed.

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