Land Conservation/CMA

CMA SignBeginning in 1996, the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) gradually acquired 53 acres of property in Harding Township. Known as the Conservation Management Area (CMA) the site contains critical wetlands, vernal pools, forested areas, and the Silver Brook (a feeder stream to the Passaic River), and is home to several state and federally designated threatened species, including wood turtle and barred owl.

The long term goal for the site is to restore the property to a diverse ecologically functioning state. Ecological restoration projects undertaken to date have included many acres of invasive plant species control, enhancement of vernal pool habitat, stream bank stabilization and replenishment, and improvement of habitat and access lost as a result of degradation by invasive species and by deer browsing.

There is a trail system (view/download a trail map here) for use by all, especially community and schools who use it as an environmental teaching tool, and for passive recreation and nature study.

We invite you (and your dog!) to visit the CMA on Tiger Lily Lane (directions) between dawn and dusk. If you would like to plan a group hike and guided tour, please contact Hazel England, GSWA’s Director of Education and Outreach and Land Steward, at

If you plan to hike at the CMA, be aware that there is hunting on the property (hunting info). From September 11 to November 22, the trails are open but there may be bow hunting, so proceed with caution. November 22 to February 22 is shotgun season, and the trails are closed Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.

GeocachingLogo69x69The CMA is used by many groups, including Geocachers! Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers. There are now six geocaches in the CMA. Here are links to the pages on the geocaching website where there are details for each cache:

Happy geocaching!

Long Term Goals for the CMA

  • The primary management objective for the CMA is to restore the area to its original natural state by removing invasive species and re-planting with native varieties. A critical component of this restoration project is the need for deer fencing to act as an “exclosure” to protect the restored native plant community from browsing deer. See Stewardship Taking Place at the CMA for more information.
    • The property management is conducted primarily by volunteers. For more information about how to get involved, click here.
  • The secondary goal for the CMA is utilization of the site for education and increased visitation by those wishing to learn more about natural history and restoration efforts at the site.


Species of Note at the CMA

Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta):
threatened species

Wood Turtle, photo by Blaine Rothauser

Blaine Rothauser

Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata):
threatened species

Swamp Pink, photo by Blaine Rothauser

Blaine Rothauser


Stewardship at the CMA
Volunteering at the CMA
Directions to the CMA
Informational brochure (coming soon)
Trail Map
2015-16 Hunting Information
Partial list of plant and animal species seen in the CMA (pdf)
Natural Events happening at the CMA (pdfs)
Pictures of CMA on April 16, 2007, after the Nor’easter