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ABOUT LOCATION RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES TRAIL INFORMATON RULES AND REGULATIONS BROCHURE

Seal of the County of HunterdonDepartment of Parks and Recreation
UNION FURNACE PRESERVE
GUIDE

Division of Parks and Recreation
PO Box 2900, Flemington, NJ 08822-2900
1020 State Route 31, Lebanon, NJ 08833
Phone: 908-782-1158 * Fax: 908-806-4057
parks@co.hunterdon.nj.us

PARK HOURS
OFFICE HOURS: Monday - Friday, 8am to 4:30pm



Union Furnace Nature Preserve - Guide and Trail Information

 

 

ABOUT THE UNION FURNACE PRESERVE

Spruce Run CreekThis 97-acre wooded preserve bordering Spruce Run Reservoir is named for the colonial ironworks that flourished here from 1742 to 1781. Established by William Allen and Joseph Turner, both of Philadelphia, the ironworks could produce 500 to 1,000 tons of iron a year. Typical production included shoes for draft horses, firebacks, and farm implements. During the Revolutionary War, Robert Taylor, the ironworks' bookkeeper and superintendent, assumed ownership since Allen and Turner were British loyalists and fled the area. During this time, military hardware such as cannonballs and rifle barrels were cast. The ironworks ceased operation in 1781 when the forests were depleted of fuel.

Taylor continued his foundry operations, called Union Forge, in High Bridge, until his death in 1821. This facility, the oldest iron mill in the country, became known as the Taylor-Wharton Iron & Steel Company in 1912. The County acquired the site of the original ironworks in 1980 via a partial donation from Heber and Eileen Donahoe.

Acreage 97
Meeting Room NO
Softball Field NO
Biking Mtn. NO
Bridle Trail NO
Canoeing NO
X-Country Skiing NO
Fishing YES
Fitness Trail NO
Gardens NO
Greenhouse NO
Hiking/Nature Trails YES
Horseshoe Court NO
Hunting YES
Information Board NO
Nature Study YES
Picnic Pavilions NO
Picnic Sites NO
Playground Area NO
Restrooms NO
Scenic Overlook NO
Soccer Field NO
Wedding Gazebo NO
Parking YES
Group Camp Sites NO
Reservable Facilities NO

The Hunterdon County Parks and Recreation Division is dedicated to preserving open space and natural resources, providing safe parks and facilities, and offering educational and recreational opportunities, all contributing to an enhanced quality of life for present and future generations.

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LOCATION

PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 1020 ROUTE 629, STANTON, NJ 08885

Union Furnace Preserve is located on Van Syckles Corner Road in Union Township. The park is open from sunrise to sunset. No restroom facilities are available at this location. Parking is located at Spruce Run’s Fishing Access.

Directions from the Flemington Area: From the Flemington Circle, take Route 31 north 12.4 miles to Van Syckles Corner Road. Turn left and go 176 yards to Spruce Run’s Fishing Access. The entrance to the park is located on the opposite side of Van Syckles Corner Road.

Directions from I-78 Westbound: Take exit 17 (Clinton-Washington Exit) to Route 31 north. Travel 6.6 miles to Van Syckles Corner Road. Proceed as above.

Directions from I-78 Eastbound: Take exit 16 (Washington Exit) to Route 31 north and travel 6.6 miles to Van Syckles Corner Road. Proceed as above.

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HUNTING

In order to control the population of deer on park property, hunting is permitted. Hunters must obtain a special permit issued by the Parks Division to be able to hunt on the preserve. Visitors during hunting season are strongly encouraged to wear blaze orange or confine visits to Sundays. See additional information on the Hunterdon County Park System Controlled Hunting Program.

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TRAILS

A single hiking trail runs through Union Furnace. The trailhead is located across from the Spruce Run Parking Area. Part of the trail incorporates the berm of the old mill raceway. Then it climbs up the hill and emerges onto Serpentine Drive. The trail is part of the Highlands Trail System which is a cooperative effort of the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference. Their goal is to create a trail system that will span the highlands between Hunterdon and Passaic Counties.

Trail Guides are set up as foldable brochures. Please print and fold in half vertically to view in proper order. Additionally, you may have to rearrange pages. Maps should be printed on Legal Size Paper.

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RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

A single hiking trail runs through Union Furnace. The trailhead is located across from the Spruce Run Parking Area. Part of the trail incorporates the berm of the old mill raceway. Then it climbs up the hill and emerges onto Serpentine Drive. The trail is part of the Highlands Trail System which was compiled by the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference. The Highlands Trail spans between the Connecticut/New York border and the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border.

Spruce Run Creek cuts through the property and provides areas for fishing. A state fishing license must be displayed to fish.

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SPRUCE RUN RECREATION AREA

Spruce Run, which borders Union Furnace, is maintained by New Jersey's Division of Parks and Forestry and the Division of Fish and Wildlife. The state park provides a variety of recreational activities including boating,
swimming, hiking, and camping. The area managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife permits hunting to control wildlife populations.

Contact the Spruce Run Recreation Area for more information at (908) 638-8572.

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WILDLIFE

Union Furnace and Spruce Run offer a rich diversity of wildlife. Shorebirds are common sites along the edge of the reservoir and the Spruce Run Creek. Common Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers have been observed at these locations. Herring and Ring-billed Gulls are also common sightings. Other bird that have been reported within the preserve include

Baltimore Orioles, Blue Jays, and Cedar Waxwings. Union Furnace is also home to other wildlife including raccoons, skunks, opossums, and jumping mice.

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