Wildlife & Natural Resources Management

Union County Parks follow NJ COVID-19 guidelines: Social distancing required/Masks strongly recommended

Union County parks and recreational facilities are operating in accordance with current COVID-19 guidelines. For everyone’s safety, please wear a mask in public restrooms and in other indoor facilities as requested.

Updates:

  • Trailside Nature & Science Center is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Please wear a mask when visiting.
  • Watchung Stable is open to visitors from Tuesday through Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please wear a mask in the main barn, administration building and restrooms.
  • Please note: Trail biking is prohibited in all Union County parks. Trail biking was prohibited before the COVID-19 outbreak, and the prohibitions continue. Bicycles are permitted on paved paths and roadways only.
  • Hikers and dog walkers: Stay on marked trails to preserve fragile native habitat. The taking of plants and other wildlife is prohibited. Share paved paths by keeping to the right unless passing. Dogs must be kept on leash unless in dog parks. All trash must be carried out when receptacles are full or unavailable. 

For more information and updates on Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak visit ucnj.org/covid19.

The COVID-19 virus is still circulating and it can still cause serious illness or death among unvaccinated people.Protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.To make an appointment visit ucnj.org/vax.

Union County Parks are among the most heavily used recreational areas in the region, whether it’s for a soccer match at Warinanco Park or a hike through the 2,000-acre Watchung Reservation.

Maintaining these parks, along with preserving them for future generations, also involves managing the wildlife populations that inhabit these green spaces. In an urban area like Union County, most predatory species are gone. So it is up to Parks to maintain the environmental balance that Mother Nature once handled.

When deer populations far exceed the carrying capacity of a preserve like the Watchung Reservation, they destroy the understory, which is vital to the survival of smaller species.

When Canada Geese stop migrating, their huge numbers not only create problems for park users, but also end up polluting the lakes and ponds.

The Parks System, along with the state Department of Environmental Protection, seeks to maintain a environmental balance in the parks that is healthy, both for wildlife and the habitats.

In this section are more details on how Wildlife Management is carried out in the Parks System.