abraitys pine stand Preserve
Delaware Township, Hunterdon County
  • Acres:
  • Deer Hunting:
    Not Permitted
  • Map:
    Open PDF

Preserve Info

First discovered in 1886 by botanist G.N. Best from Rosemont, N.J, this site represents the only known and documented location for Table Mountain pine in New Jersey. Decades after its initial discovery, respected local naturalist and nature writer Vincent Abraitys relocated this grove of trees again, bringing it to the attention of his botanical friends and colleagues. Mr. Abraitys lived and worked in the community, and collected and documented rare plants from throughout New Jersey and beyond. His contributions are recognized through the naming this preserve.

Table Mountain pine trees are named for the type location of Table Mountain, North Carolina, where this species was first described. The knurled stiff-branched tree is common in the southern Appalachians where it is found growing on dry ridge tops and frequently in areas affected by wildfire. Certainly its location on rich farm-like soils in Hunterdon County is atypical. The Trust is actively managing this site to improve conditions for the Table Mountain pine. Over the years, encroaching hardwood trees have blocked sunlight from reaching the forest floor and thick leaf duff has reduced the chance that a seed from a cone would ever contact mineral soil in order to germinate. Further, the cones of this pine are serotinous, requiring fire or intense heat to fully open and release pine seeds. Having found no young pine trees or even seedlings, some modifications and careful forest management was needed. The Trust collected seed cones and, with the help of the NJ Bureau of Forest Management’s tree nursery, germinated and grew 50 potted Table Mountain pines, which were later replanted on site. In addition, the Trust developed and implemented a forest management plan where hardwoods were removed within a study plot to increase available sunlight with hopes that remaining pine trees might act as the natural seed source for the prepared ground. On a snowy January day in 2005, foresters and loggers from 4H Timber Management and Timber Hoof Enterprises in Pipersville, PA volunteered their logging skills to fell large tulip poplars and oaks. Standing by were a team of draft horses along with a team of oxen, both from the Mercer County Park Commission's Howell Living History Farm. The draft animals pulled the logs carefully out of the forest to later be delivered to the Howell Farm and sawn into lumber for use in the farm’s new visitor center. Follow-up inspections show that the planted seedlings are doing well for their second summer, and hopes are high that the Table Mountain pines will survive and reproduce well into the future. In 2007, Green Acres acquired the remaining grove of Table Mountain pines as an addition to the preserve.

Public Access and Uses

Due to parking restrictions general public access is limited at this time. Special access arrangements can be made by contacting the Trust. Hunting is not permitted.

Abraities Pine Stand Preserve