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July 30 - August 6

Photo by Tammy Fazio.
Get a jump on the rest of the summer. July is already in the rear-view mirror, so hightail it! Find your way by checking these selected summer stories. Or stay tuned to our Day Trip Map for good ideas for a scenic drive! For the more aerobically inclined, the Outdoor Map shows the way to go, or choose among dozens of natural attractions or outdoor activities suggested on our website. Choose your own adventure!

Summer Reflections

The temperature has reached into the nineties, and it’s not yet noon. My fly rods remain in their tubes, my flies in their sleeves. It is much too hot to play tag with the fish of Bonnie Brook, too hot to do much of anything.

Natural Progression

Grey Towers, a National Historic Landmark in Milford, Pennsylvania.
Grey Towers is the former home of Gifford Pinchot, who served as the country's first Forest Service Chief and later as Pennsylvania's Governor. Virtually inventing professional forestry in America, his then revolutionary concepts for natural conservation are enshrined, not only in the vast stands of our national forests, but at his family's retreat, now a National Historic Site.
At its completion in 1886, Grey Towers ruled a barren, rutted landscape.
Gifford Pinchot's grandfather immigrated from France in 1819 and invested in the area's vast thickly wooded hillsides: clear-cutting timber, floating rafts of logs down the Delaware River to Trenton, walking back, and doing it again… and again. The Pinchot's prospered, eventually leveling the forests of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Regretting his family's destruction of the forests, Gifford was able to enhance the Pinchot legacy through public service, a Progressive ideal that emerged in affluent late nineteenth century society.

By arguing that scientific management of forests was the most profitable, Chief Forester Pinchot disarmed those who criticized the expanded role of government in natural resources. But there was no "tree hugging" involved; Pinchot was a conservationist, not a preservationist, managing America's land by a simple credo: "The greatest good, for the greatest number, for the longest time". Perhaps in the face of the existential crisis that challenges us today, Pinchot would have come to entirely resist the commercialization of nature.

Although this year's annual Festival of Wood has been canceled, you might still consider a visit to Grey Towers, located in Milford, PA, near the juncture of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Although the mansion is closed for visitation, the grounds are staffed and visitors have access to documentary films, a curated exhibit about Cornelia Pinchot and the 1920 women’s right to vote movement, as well as various other displays and self-guided tours throughout the extensive grounds. Click or call 570-296-9630 for more information.

The Right Path

The Farm Barn visitor orientation center at Duke Farms.
It is difficult to see it all in one day, but a few scattered weekday afternoons would be well spent at Duke Farms. Even if you're breezing through on a bike, some areas are accessible only on foot. Whether you enjoy wildlife watching, wildflower photography, ancient champion trees, geocaching, tracking the marks of man, or a sublime picnic, remember that Duke Farms is a park with a mission. Trails are open (50% parking capacity), buildings are closed. Closed weekends.

Way Out Yonder

Do the boardwalk, Skylands style, across the Pochuck Quagmire Bridge and along a section of the Appalachian Trail in northern Sussex County, on the way from Pochuck Mountain to the trail on Wawayanda Mountain. Walk on...

As wild as its name, the land of "winding, winding water" is home to Indian shelters and some of the best bear dens in NJ, a lake to swim and boat on, great gobs of pudding stone to climb, rock to scramble, ledges for leaping, primeval forest, twenty miles of Appalachian Trail and so much more. Wawayanda State Park is a 16,679-acre garden-like jungle gym, a land of natural marvels and a dynamic showcase of human history. Its wildness survives us. More...

Let's Fly!

This year's Warren County Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place at Warren County Community College, August 19 - 23


Sign up to receive your copy of the current Skylands Visitor magazine here. As you might have expected, the COVID-19 crisis has upset our publishing schedule so that the Summer, 2020, issue of Skylands Visitor has been delayed. But we are planning a late summer/fall issue.
Northwest New Jersey and destinations just beyond those borders, in Pennsylvania and New York, offer brilliant ways to get out and enjoy the pleasures of the season.

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