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Richard W. DeKorte Park (Lyndhurst)

This 110-acre park, an open wetland, teeming with wildlife and framed by urban New Jersey and New York, is the center of NJMC’s activities. It offers passive recreation and educational opportunities. It is also the location of the NJMC’s campus and includes our Administrative Offices, the Meadowlands Center for Environmental and Scientific Education, the William D. McDowell Observatory and the Meadowlands Environment Center, which runs hands-on educational programs for adults and children.

The award-winning park was designed by the NJMC’s certified landscape architects, who worked closely with wetlands scientists, wildlife specialists, and solid waste engineers.  Six distinct areas have been developed over 20 years using native plants, recycled materials and sustainable techniques to support the agency’s environmental mandate. Roughly 60,000 people visit DeKorte Park annually, including 15,000 school children.

DeKorte Park – like the entire Meadowlands District – is located along the Atlantic flyway, one of three major routes used by migratory birds in North America. More than 270 species of birds live in or visit the region. The park is open daily from 8 AM until dusk. Many of the trails are wheelchair accessible. Brochures are available at the Meadowlands Environment Center, including program schedules and a checklist for bird watchers.

A series of interpretive signs help explain the park's ecology and help visitors appreciate the diversity of life found in the Meadowlands. They help visitors see the beauty of the area and understand the transformation it has undergone.

Map of DeKorte Park Trails

Kingsland Overlook 
Originally called the “Experimental Park on a Landfill,” this was the first landfill-to-parks project in New Jersey and one of the first in the country. It was also the first use of a synthetic liner to cap a sanitary landfill.  The liner was manufactured from 400,000 recycled soda bottles.  The project provides wildlife habitat, environmental education opportunities, and a spot for visitors to enjoy the view of the Meadowlands. Decades after construction, the plant communities have thrived and matured, and there has been a marked increase in the diversity of animal species and number of nesting birds on this 6.5-acre site.

Lyndhurst Nature Reserve
This 3-½ acre site was an illegally filled garbage island that was created in the tidal mudflat, beginning in the 1950's.  In 1989, the NJMC started to restore the site.  First, a breakwater wall was built around the entire perimeter to allow the establishment of native marsh grasses.  Later, soil was brought in to the interior and sculpted to form hills and valleys.  The interior plantings emphasize natural succession, plant and animal habitats, and environmental education.  A trail leads visitors past interpretive signs, wildlife observation areas, and native plant communities.   

-Saw Mill Creek Trail
The Saw Mill Creek Trail brings visitors out near the vast mudflat of the Saw Mill Creek Wildlife Management area, providing a rare sense of wide-open space. The base of the trail was initially built in the 1920’s and 1930’s as an access road for what are now high tension electric lines. It was reconstructed as a walking trail in 2001. Stone and soil were added, and six seating areas were incorporated.  Native plants were used and there are beautifully designed entrance gates at the trailheads.

Marsh Discovery Trail
The Marsh Discovery Trail is a ½-mile long boardwalk through the brackish marsh with excellent views of the city skyline. It was the first handicapped accessible nature trail built in New Jersey. The trail connects a series of islands along the former Kingsland Creek and it is a great spot for bird watching. The tidal impoundment creates a unique habitat for nesting and migrant aquatic animals and birds.  The Marsh Discovery Trail serves as an outdoor classroom, with wildlife observation blinds and class study docks. Interpretive signs are located throughout. 

Transco Trail
This 1.2 mile trail connects the Marsh Discovery Trail with the Lyndhurst Nature Reserve, and features four seating areas along a service road that runs through the Kingsland Impoundment. With views of the tidal mudflats on both sides, it is an excellent trail to look for shorebirds and other wildlife.

The Cove (World Trade Center Memorial)
The World Trade Center Memorial is located on the edge of the marsh looking out toward the lower Manhattan Skyline. It consists of a sinuous freeform wooden deck with two projecting piers, suggesting shadows of the fallen towers. The piers are proportioned after the World Trade Center towers and each one covered with 110 boards representing the 110 floors of the towers.

Where the piers meet the main deck, a porcelain enamel plaque dedicates the site in memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  The quote on the plaque is from the great 19th century American orator and freethinker Robert Ingersoll. It reads: “In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing”.

A silhouette of the pre-9/11 skyline, cut from Corten Steel, is visible from the deck. Visitors can stand in a spot indicated on the deck and see where the towers once stood in the skyline. Billowing native grasses create a sense of separation and solitude. NJMC partnered with Ducks Unlimited to fund the project.

The Jill Ann Ziemkiewicz Memorial Butterfly Garden
This garden was built to honor the memory of Jill Ann Ziemkiewicz, the youngest member of the flight crew assigned to TWA flight 800, which fell into the ocean off Long Island on July 17, 1996. Jill’s Garden was designed as a teaching garden; a living classroom where students can observe butterfly habitat.

At the center of the garden is a hand-carved limestone fountain shaped like a sunflower, Jill’s favorite. This is not meant to be a somber place or a place set apart from the world:  it is open, cheerful, and welcoming, filled with activity, texture, color, sound and sunshine. 


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