|Irick's Causeway, Tabernacle, NJ |
Phone: (609) 859-8860 ext. 17
From the Evert Trail, turn Right to proceed West on Ong’s Hat Road. After 1.6 miles turn Left on Burrs Mill/ Buddtown-Ong’s Hat Road. After 3.8 miles continue straight across Route 70, and bear Right at the fork onto Avenue Road. Bear left to continue on Avenue Road. After 0.7 miles, turn Left at the “T” intersection onto Sooy Place Road. After 0.2 miles, turn Right onto Irick’s Causeway, a sand road. Proceed for 0.1 miles, across Powell Place Road, and park near the white fence. The preserve is a 0.6 mile hike down Irick’s Causeway, where a trail spurs to the Left, and the “private property” signs give way to Rancocas Conservancy signs.
DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY: From the intersection of Route 70 and Route 206 at Red Lion traffic circle, continue East on Route 70. After 1.2 miles turn Right on New Road. After 0.7 miles turn Left on Powell Place Road. After 2.9 miles turn Right at the sand road by the white fence, with a ?road closed? sign. This is Irick?s Causeway. Park along the roadside, or across the street near the Irick?s Causeway Rd. sign. The preserve is a 0.6 mile hike down Irick?s Causeway, where a trail spurs to the Left, and the ?private property? signs give way to Rancocas Conservancy signs. Map
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Be careful not to block passage when parking on Irick’s Causeway, as large trucks occasionally use this road. There are “no trespassing” and “road closed” signs here, but these are indicating the surrounding properties and that the road is closed to vehicular traffic only. Irick’s Causeway is a public road, open to pedestrian traffic. Print a trail map from www.rancocasconservancy.org/preserves.html before visiting. Wear blaze orange or other bright colors in hunting season.
As with most Pine Barrens sites, botanical discoveries can be rather exciting here. Keep a sharp eye out for hidden flowers and basal rosettes, especially in Spring and Fall. The best way to discover rare plants is to learn to sift through the “usual” Pine Barrens plants for something different.
|Irick's Causeway||Tony Geiger
||Friendship Creek Preserve is a remote and hidden gem surrounding the headwaters of Friendship Creek, a tributary to the South branch of the Rancocas Creek. It is amazing to think that the water in this creek, practically in the middle of Southern New Jersey, will travel more than twenty miles North and West into the Delaware River, and not to the Atlantic Ocean, where most Pine Barrens creeks are heading. The mixed deciduous wet woodlands, Atlantic white cedar and pitch-pine forests are about as pristine as they come, and offer a peaceful and serene hike for those willing to explore. This is a fairly new preserve, so exciting discoveries are no doubt awaiting the adventurous naturalist.
Visit at dawn on a spring day and bask in the chorus of songbirds while keeping a close eye on twigs and leaves for the tiny, neon green Pine Barrens treefrog.
Winter is a very quiet time at the preserve. Careful observation may bring out Hermit Thrush, Blue Jay and Eastern Towhee. With patience, flocks of Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and White-breasted Nuthatch may also reveal Golden-crowned Kinglet and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Red-headed and Pileated Woodpecker are possibilities, although very uncommon. Scan the mountain laurels and forest floor for whitewash, or the excrement of owls, which looks more like white latex paint than does the oozing pine sap. Owl pellets can usually be found in the vicinity, which by their size and bone content can sometimes indicate whether they were left by a small owl like a Screech or Saw-whet, versus a larger owl like Great Horned or Barred.
The woods come to life with migrating songbirds. Listen for the ringing teacher-teacher-teacher call of Ovenbird, as well as Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary, Worm-eating, Pine, and possibly Kentucky Warbler. Other migrating warblers include Magnolia, Hooded, Wilson’s, American Redstart, and Northern Parula. Scarlet and Summer Tanager, Acadian Flycatcher, Great-crested Flycatcher, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher should also be expected here. Listen for Pine Barrens Tree Frogs buzzing on warm days. Insect repellant recommended.
Summer is the time to look for reptiles. Common snakes include black racer, black rat snake, and garter or ribbon snakes. Less common snakes to look for are pine snake, rough green snake, and king snake. Box turtles and perhaps wood turtles may be found near the trail edges, where they come to lay eggs in sandy areas exposed to sunlight. Fence lizard and five-lined skink are present, but will require a keen eye to spot. Count how many different fern species you can identify in wet areas, such as where Irick’s Causeway begins to descend toward the creek. Insect repellant recommended.
Songbirds once again fill the woods, but are much less vocal and conspicuous than in spring. The show of bracket fungus and mushrooms is quite impressive, especially after a wet September. Look closely on flowering and fruiting understory plants, as well as on branches and bark, for woodland moths. Red squirrels and chipmunks rustle in the leaves as they gather food for Winter. Red fox and Raccoon are likely present as well. Keep a sharp eye out for mink, a common but extremely elusive mammal in the Pine Barrens. Insect repellant recommended.