|Cedar Avenue, Buena Vista, NJ |
Phone: (856) 697-2100 - 609-561-5650
Buena Vista Township
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Large sign at park entrance on Cedar Avenue.
Exit Weymouth Furnace Park and turn Left onto Weymouth Avenue. After crossing Route 322, continue for 0.75 miles and turn Right onto Mizpah Road. After 2.3 miles, the road will bear Left onto Sheppard Avenue, then Right onto West Point Avenue, then Left again before emerging at Harding Highway. Turn Right onto Route 40/Harding Highway. After 2.0 miles, turn Left at the traffic light onto Cedar Avenue. After 0.5 miles, turn Right into the entrance for Michael Debbi Park.
DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY: From the intersection of Route 54 and Route 322 in Folsom, continue South on Route 54. After 6.6 miles turn Left on Route 40/Harding Highway. After 3.0 miles, turn Right on Cedar Avenue. After 0.5 miles, turn Right into the entrance for Michael Debbi Park. Map
NJ transit Bus Lines No. 553 Upper Deerfield/Atlantic City stops at Cedar Avenue & Sam Brunozzi Way. Walk 2 blocks on Cedar Avenue. It also stops at Cedar Avenue & Moody Avenue. Walk 2 blocks on Cedar Avenue. All walking distances are less than 1 mile.
Download a guide for the nature trail at http://www.buenavistatownship.org/nature_trail.htm
A 2008 fire wiped out some of the understory along the nature trail, but many of the stops are still in tact. Watch for young pitch pine trees filling in fire-damaged areas in the uplands.
|Sharp-shinned Hawk||Tony Geiger
||Michael Debbi Park is a popular destination in Buena Vista featuring multiple athletic courts and fields, picnic areas and pavilions, as well as easy walking paths, an interpretive nature trail through the woods and several bluebird boxes around the park's perimeter. The pine-oak uplands are broken up by vernal pools and marshes with a mix of sweet gum, red maple and Atlantic white cedar and associated wildlife typical of Pine Barrens swamps.
Visit in April after a recent rain to hear multiple species of frogs calling from the wet woodlands and spot the first of the returning warblers.
Winter is quiet at the park, but pishing can call up Carolina Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-throated Sparrow and Junco. Other less common winter birds include Red-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Fox Sparrow and Wild Turkey. White-tailed deer and gray squirrels are among active mammals.
The woods are alive with the sounds of songbirds and frogs. Pine Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow and Chipping Sparrow are among some of the first migrants to return, along with Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, and Baltimore Oriole not far behind. Amphibians include gray treefrog, spring peeper, Fowler's toad, green frog, bull frog, carpenter frog and chorus frog. Pink lady's slipper blooms along the trail in April and May.
Scan the bird boxes around the perimeter of the park for Eastern Bluebirds, House Wrens, Tufted Titmice and Tree Swallows. Mountain laurel, highbush blueberry, leatherleaf and sweet pepper bush bloom in the understory and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visit their flowers. Look for butterflies such as cabbage white, yellow sulfur, Eastern tailed blue and least skipper in the field immediately to the right after entering the park. Mammals such as little brown bats, opossum, striped skunk, and sometimes even flying squirrels can be spotted at dusk. Various outdoor concerts and events are scheduled throughout the summer.
Watch overhead for Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawk. Merlin can occasionally be spotted perched in the trees along the entrance. Red maples, black gums, sassafras and various oaks turn beautiful colors. Songbirds such as Black-and-white and Yellow-rumped Warblers and Rufous-sided Towhee fill the woods. Look for the tiny, evergreen teaberry along the trail. The pinkish fruit of this plant tastes like wax candy.