Great Piece Meadows
Fairfield Township, Essex County
Montville and Lincoln Park, Morris County
NJ DEP, NJNLT Great Piece Meadow Preserve = 1,170 Acres
The slow quiet twists and turns, the forgotten oxbows and backwaters are a signature of this central portion of the Passaic River. Great Piece Meadows, a local namesake for this expanse of open meadow wetland, is one of many such wetland relics formed on the geologic bottom of the ancient Glacial Lake Passaic. This ever changing system of wetlands, which includes other important Passaic River basin wetlands, such as Great Swamp, Black Meadows and Troy Meadows, is noted for rookeries of great blue heron and habitat for salamanders, turtles and mink and muskrat. Great Piece Meadows is a Natural Heritage Priority Site. Untouched regions of the area still support rare plants including tufted loosestrife and Louisiana sedge. Alterations to hydrology, intended to relieve local flooding, appears to have transitioned much of the wet meadow habitat into a red maple and sweetgum forest today. Still, this ecosystem is resilient, providing refuge for wildlife, flood storage for the river communities and an outdoor adventure for boaters and birdwatchers to experience.
Acting early, Wildlife Preserves Inc., a statewide conservation organization, and the New Jersey Green Acres Program began to acquire parcels at Piece Meadows in the 1960's. Now, after nearly 50 years of work and protection, all but a small fraction is owned by state or municipal governments to provide flood storage, wildlife habitat and recreation. Wildlife Preserves Inc. continues its commitment in the meadows and provides management assistance under the terms of a Management Agreement with the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust.
Public Access and Uses:
The public is welcome to hike and fish on the preserve. Due to a binding Management Agreements, general public hunting is not permitted.
Great Piece Meadows Public Access Information
New Jersey Natural Lands Trust in cooperation with Wildlife Preserves Inc.
1. All state conservation lands at Great Piece Meadows are currently under the management of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection- New Jersey Natural Lands Trust.
2. New Jersey Natural Lands Trust and Wildlife Preserves Inc. co-manage and enforce regulations at the Great Piece Meadows under a Management and Use Agreement.
3. The Great Piece Meadows Preserve is natural lands located on both sides of the Passaic River in Lincoln Park, Montville, and Fairfield Township.
4. All passive recreational visitors are welcome during daylight hours. Bird watchers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts are welcome. During hunting season, users are advised to wear orange clothing due to possible authorized or illegal hunting activity.
5. No camping, fires, firearms, dumping or misuse of public property is allowed.
6. No ATVs, motorcycles, off-road vehicles or motorized vehicles are permitted.
7. Shoreline fishing on state land along the Passaic River is permitted.
8. Consistent with the Management and Use Agreement between NJ Natural Lands Trust and Wildlife Preserves, a "No Hunting" policy is in effect on state land at Great Piece Meadows. Two management zones have been established within the Great Piece Meadows Preserve; a Wildlife Sanctuary Zone where absolutely no hunting is permitted and a Wildlife Management Zone located in Fairfield Township, where restricted hunting activities by members of the Fairfield Sportsmen Club and residents of Fairfield Township occur. State lands in Lincoln Park and Montville are in the Wildlife Sanctuary Zone where hunting is prohibited. See Wildlife Management Map. See http://nj.gov/dep/njnlt/greatpiecemeadows.htm for more information.
9. Currently, hunting on Fairfield Township property is coordinated through the Township of Fairfield.
10. People are encouraged to enjoy the preserves, respect its natural resources, and report any suspicious or illegal activity to the rangers at the numbers listed below or by email to Rangers@WildlifePreserves.org and/or NatLands@dep.state.nj.us. .
Further information about Great Piece Meadows is available through NJ Natural Lands Trust and Wildlife Preserves - by phone or websites.
Gateway One, Suite 2500
Newark, NJ 07102
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
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Points of Entry
East side, Fairfield- At the overpass of Route 80 at Two Bridges Road in Fairfield enter the office park, left at end to Marginal Road (parallel to Route 80), park at the Township leaf dump and enter on foot.
West side, Fairfield- At Horeseneck Road enter Park Avenue to gate, enter on foot and do not block gate. There is a fire lane along a ditch that crosses the entire meadows and many trails throughout the meadows.
North end in Lincoln Park and Montville- Trails along Peace Valley Road, Pine Brook Road and Two Bridges Road.