Franklin Parker Preserve (click here to visit site)
Location: Chatsworth, NJ
3704 County Rd 563, Chatsworth, NJ 08019
Franklin Parker Preserve is a former cranberry farm now open to the public and managed by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. We loved visiting it to see the wildlife. Since it’s been opened we’ve been there 3 times. This month we biked approximately a 6 mile loop from the Speedwell Entrance out to the cranberry meadows before retiring back to our car. Then we did a short loop on the east side of highway 563, where we were rewarded with the sight of about 30 Tundra Swans. Tundra Swans only visit the NJ Pine Barrens in the wintertime.
We saw 1 Bald Eagle, 6 whitetail deer, evidence of otters, and about 30 Tundra Swans on our visit this past January.
Biking on the sandy roads was challenging at times, make sure your bike is good for off road. Also don’t visit right after it has rained. Hiking is easy. The trails are flat but please bring a map, as you could get lost. Maps are also available for download from the NJ Conservation site: NJConservation.org
Tips for Families
Aim for the lakes, as you will see the most wildlife around them. The lake at Bald Eagle Reservoir was a nice loop trail for our son’s Cub Scout troop hike. Bring snacks and water. Biking in the sand can be challenging for younger kids, but kids older than 8 will have a fun time. There was a porta-potty on the east side of the road at the Speedwell Entrance.