Windy Acres

  • 292 Acres, Entrance off Corporate Drive near E. Main St Intersection
  • Directions to parking lot via Google Maps Coordinates: 40.642029,-74.821273
  • Includes;
    • Wooded Trails
    • Meadow Trails
  • Good for: Hiking, Walking
  • Click here for Trails Map
  • Click here for Pictures
  • Click here for Environmental Education Pictures
  • Click here for Flora & Fauna of Windy Acres

Windy Acres is a Clinton Township designated Open Space natural preserve that is located south of East Main Street and east of Lebanon Borough. Once part of two working farms, the property has a long history that is still evident today.


NOTE:
Due to the environmentally sensitive nature of Windy Acres, only foot traffic is permitted. ATVs, bicycles, and horses are prohibited. We ask that you treat this property with respect. Please remove litter, clean up after your dog, and hike on the designated trails only. Please do not disturb any wildlife nor vegetation.

windy acres info

HISTORY:

The Mellos Farmstead once had a stately home near the western end of the property, where the foundation of the John Hoffman house remains. The Gitlow Farmstead was located on the eastern half of Windy Acres and included a large barn, since removed, and a historic farmhouse (circa 1755) that remains standing, but with an uncertain future.

In the 1980s, a developer proposed to build 1000+ homes on the Windy Acres site. That plan was met with resistance by the Clinton Township governing body and residents who wanted the land preserved. A legal battle ensued that lasted 15 years. In the end, it was the discovery of an endangered Wood turtle that halted the proposed development. In December of 2008, Clinton Township and Green Acres purchased the whole 292-acre tract for 7 million dollars, with finan-cial support from New Jersey’s Green Acres Program.

The property, now protected, mostly sat untouched for the next 7 years. In 2015, the Clinton Township Environmental Commission requested and received a grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. This grant provided funds for building perimeter trails, markers, benches, and signage.

In 2019, Clinton Township received a $45,500 donation from ExxonMobil to create an environ-mental education center at Windy Acres. A Windy Acres Subcommittee was formed to ensure the vision for the Environmental Educational program was upheld, and to guarantee that any de-velopment on the property was up to environmental standards. Members were pulled from the Open Space and Environmental Commissions to pool together a variety of talents to create a vision of this size. To date, a pavilion with capacity for 30 to 40 people was erected and picnic tables are placed underneath, 1 ADA accessible. A new parking lot was built just off Kullman Corporate Campus Drive. A series of trails were created by volunteers to parallel the creek and to connect the new parking lot with the existing trail system (see trail map). Also funded by the ExxonMobil grant, the Environmental Commission will be erecting educational signs along Cedar and Creekside Trail. The signs will have QR codes that will direct you to an informational Windy Acres website. The website development is underway.

Windy Acres has several different habitats which are home to a plethora of wildlife. There are streams, open fields, lightly wooded areas, and an area of big old trees. Commonly seen mam-mals are White-tailed deer, coyote, owls, ground hogs, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, and chipmunks. Windy Acres is also a great area for birding with a huge number of different species, including the Bald eagle. Reptiles and Amphibians are plentiful living in and around the Rockaway creek and its many feeder streams. Arthropods also abound as they would in any mixed habitat envi-ronment.
The Windy Acres sub-committee have plans to expand the Environmental Education Center concept at Windy Acres. Last year, the township met with the Clinton Township School District Superintendent and Science teachers to discuss future hands-on classes for children on the property. We expect to roll out a pilot program for the fall semester which will start with student field trips.

The Environmental Commission will be focusing on educational programs for our residents. They already successfully conducted a Stream assessment class with Raritan Headwaters As-sociation this Spring. This was our very first environmental education class at Windy Acres!

To entice the little ones to explore the great outdoors, a Sasquatch game has been created on the Creekside trail. There is rumor that he could potentially have a home somewhere on the property. Follow the Sasquatch trail markers to see if you can find it.

Aerial Video of the Windy Acres Property:
https://youtu.be/OiDHYycPnJ4

 

Open Space Chair
Mike Aversa
Meetings are held on the 4th Thursday of the Month at 6:00 pm
Monthly Meeting WebEx Link
Address:
Public Safety Building
1st Floor Conference Room
1370 Route 31 North
Annandale, NJ