Our Krajci Preserve Has Come a Long Way
Way back in 1991, Hubert Ling came across an article in the Courier-News offering the property to a non-profit group. The Krajcis wanted to build a country home on this property that they had purchased about 18 years earlier only to find that their land was now designated a sensitive wetlands area and could not be built on. After discussing the situation with the NPSNJ board then, Hubert wrote up a proposal outlining our concept for land use. NPSNJ was chosen as the most appropriate organization to fulfill the Krajci’s expectations for the property!
A beautiful multi-colored wooden sign was installed along with gravel parking area for 3 cars. The wooden sign was stolen and replaced with the current plain wooden sign.
Not much else was done to the property until Kathy Salibury, then president, worked at getting a chapter somewhat nearby that would make the Krajci preserve their project in September 2015. That chapter became the Hunterdon Chapter and Joyce Koch has been leading this project.
Activities at Krajci:
- The improvement project began in 2016
- John Black found a volunteer surveyor to locate property boundaries for us so we could put up barrier flags.
- Randi Eckel and Hubert Ling identifed the native and invasive plants on the property with exception of grasses and ferns.
- The invasives removal project was a team effort with the help of several chapter volunteers: Susan Nicolich, Kathy Trarbach, Susan Haake, Bob Haake and Joyce.
- Work days have been organized.
Volunteer Trail Work Day
April 21, 2018 10:00 to 4:00
It was a special day, beautiful, with blue skies, a bit brisk, not unlike autumn, though it was Spring. Delightedly we even found some bloodroot blooming! The Krajci Preserve is composed of spectacular woodlands, with a small brook running through it.
The day’s goals were to clear areas for the proposed trails, to construct steps for steep areas and to place stepping stones across the marshy wet areas for safe crossing.
These worthwhile objectives, set by Joyce Koch of the Hunterdon Chapter, who has spearheaded work in this preserve since 2016, easily attracted old-hands, as well as neophyte volunteers, such as myself. Supported by other Society member volunteers, Joyce is herself responsible for an incredible amount of the work already accomplished in the preserve. With the promise of homemade chocolate chip cookies and other snacks as enticements everyone was invited to come out and enjoy the day with other like-mind outdoor/plant geeks.
In preparation for this work day, she asked volunteers to bring along tools such as shovels, hoes, loppers, rakes, pruning saws, gloves and knee pads. Someone also brought along a chain saw for cutting up downed trees to use as steps. Joyce had already mapped out a route for two looping trails with colorful little flags and then expertly demonstrated exactly what her expectations were for her newbies. She seemed to think of everything, even providing instructions on how to construct log and stone steps in clear protective sleeves!
Those workers, skilled from previous experience, made their work look easy. The energy everywhere was contagious, as we all worked together at our specific tasks enjoying the purposeful work and the gorgeous weather!
Meet the Team
Joyce has been a member of the NPSNJ since 2005.
She was a founding member of the Hunterdon Chapter in 2016. She has also been a member of the Bethlehem Twp. Environmental Commission and volunteers with the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and the Hunterdon Land Trust.
Bob Haake and John Barry working on moving rocks so that we have a dry creek crossing and swamp area crossing.
Bob Haake working on moving rocks and dirt to create stone steps to the upper loop.
Susan Nicolich and Mary Alice Cicerale working on the upper loop trail.
Cinny MacGonagle and Susan Haake (both Chapter leaders) clearing brush for the trail on the far side.
Later the team was joined by Beth Ann Vetter of Sparta and who worked on the lower trail for couple of hours.
All the volunteers found the work truly fulfilling and are already committed to return to complete the project. We will plan another work day probably in the Fall. We have to finish the steps and clearing the lower trail. We also hope to install a bench on an overlook. Of course appropriate native plant donations will enhance the preserve.
Trail starts at the right of the sign and is lined with rocks for a short distance.
Then it turns to the left to parallel to the road.
Trail then drops down toward the creek about 40 feet. To contruct log steps, logs were cut and rocks were gathered to stabilize the logs and digging was done to flatten the steps.
At the creek, we have our carefully placed rocks for a dry crossing.
The trail continues on the other side through a low swampy area also with carefully placed rocks so we don’t get muddy. Skunk cabbage was growing there.
This side of the creek the terrain goes uphill. We have two loops in the trail. To access the higher loop, rock steps were constructed. It was not easy.
We saw bloodroot and spice bush blooming, leaves of trout lily and skunk cabbage
Hubert & Millie Ling with Cinny. Millie’s goal is to get an article on for the website.
Bob and Susan
Bob & John working on the log steps!
We thank Mary Alice for her help writing this article and contributions by others. Most of all we thank everyone who came out to work on the trails. Their enthusiasm and energy was surely appreciated.
Native Plant Society of New Jersey