Slowly meandering though the rich sandy loam soil, the Papakating Creek flows though 324 acres of what is now lands preserved by Trust. Once known as Lewisburg farm, the old dairy farm's silo still typifies this property, although the barns and farmhouse were gone long ago. Meadows and pastures offer grassland habitat for songbirds and hunting opportunity for red-tailed hawks. The forest lands of ash, maple and hemlock provide cool, shaded conditions to the slow moving creek. Here, raccoon, mink and possum make bridges of the numerous fallen trees which cross the creek. A very old river system, oxbow ponds formed over the decades as the river twisted to carve a new course and backwaters became permanent ponds. Wood frog and salamander utilize fringes of some of the smaller wetlands. Painted turtles and bluegills swim within the deeper oxbows and pools along the Papakating Creek.
This property was acquired through the efforts of the Green Acres Program. The Trust, using DEP Wetlands Mitigation Funds, helped to secure the finances to complete the acquisition. The Trust envisions carrying out conservation and stewardship practices to improve habitat at the preserve including grassland field management, control of invasive plants that may alter important functioning wetland systems, and possibly creating and restoring wetlands impacted by past farming practices.
Upstream near the village of Armstrong, 166 acres have been preserved along the river. Under a special arrangement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge, will assist the Trust with daily management of this new parcel. Wet meadows along the future rail-trail turn a pinkish-purple with the flowers of New York ironweed and Joe Pye weed and brighten up a late summer day. Woodchucks have dug their dens on the gently sloping edge between the forest and the old corn field. Someday the Trust would like to convert these cornfields to permanent grasslands for wildlife or lease them to local farmers continuing a rural way of life in Sussex County. This parcel does not have public access.
Another 11 acre parcel, donated in 1992, includes a hillside of large sugar maples bordered by stone walls. This property has streamside shrub-shrub wetlands of arrowwood and elderberry, habitat ideal for wood turtles and yellow-throated warblers. This landlocked parcel does not have public access.
Best accessed from Lewisburg Road (dirt), the property has limited roadside parking. Overgrown farm lanes provide the best means of access for birders, hikers and others. The Trust allows registration for deer hunting at this preserve. No public access is permitted at the property in Armstrong.