Why is this land special?
Only miles from the highest point in New Jersey, Mashipacong Bogs Preseve is situated on the western side of the Kittatinny Mountain Range and borders High Point and Stokes state parks. The habitat is hilly and rocky, with a mixed-oak forest. On the preserve's northern edge lie two glacial bogs, known as Lost Lake Bogs, which are surrounded by a large black spruce-tamarack swamp—the highest quality swamp of its kind in the state. On the site's southeastern side is Mashipacong Pond.
The preserve includes the best northern boreal bog ecosystem in New Jersey. Rare plant species, such as northern yellow-eyed grass (Xyris montana), bog rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla), creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula), pale laurel (Kalmia polifolia), dwarf misteltoe (Arceuthobium pusillum) and beaked sedge (Carex rostrata) flourish at this site. Black bears, beavers, hawks, waterfowl and songbirds also make their homes here.
In 1775, the property was first laid out by the East Jersey Proprietors as a "Great Lot" measuring one square mile. (Today, after several reconfigurations, the land retains its original size.) During the 1800s, busy Deckertown Turnpike, an important stagecoach thoroughfare, traversed the tract. In 1848, one of the swamps at the site was impounded to form the 46-acre Mashipacong Pond used to provide power to run two mills owned by John Rutherford. Some 50 years later, the owners subdivided it into lots for planned, but never built, lake cottages.
By 1924 state parkland surrounded the site. In 1938, the late philanthropist Doris Duke purchased the land and leased the property to Life Fresh Air Camps, which has since become Trail Blazers Camp, a multicultural youth services agency. In 1991, shortly before her death, Miss Duke donated the land to the Conservancy, which, in accordance with her wishes, continues to lease 200 acres of the preserve to the camp.