Public Info

Union County Partners With Local Scout Council & Others to Remove Invasive Plants

Scouts and trail maintenance volunteers will team up to remove invasive shrubs from the Watchung Reservation on April 6th.

The Union County Board of County Commissioners has joined forces with the Patriots’ Path Council, Boy Scouts of America, to execute Operation WRIP (Watchung Reservation Invasive Plants). On Saturday, April 6th, over a hundred Scouts, trail maintenance volunteers, and County staff will undertake a project that aims to enhance the overall trail experience for casual walkers, joggers, dog walkers, serious hikers, and horseback riders in the scenic Watchung Reservation.  

Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA members, and Venturers from across northern New Jersey will remove invasive plants from areas throughout the 2,143-acre park. They will focus on removing Japanese barberry and multiflora rosa shrubs, which are easy to locate and identify at this time of year.  Both of these thorny plants are invasive, encroach on hiking and bridle trails, provide little resource for native wildlife, and stifle biodiversity by crowding out native plants. 

Union County Trail Stewards, Saturday Trail Work program participants and Watchung Reservation Invasive Plant Strike Team members will also join in and work alongside the Scouts.  Trail Stewards, who adopt and care for specific trails throughout the year, will pair up with the Scout groups working near their adopted trails.

“We are incredibly thankful for the devoted hard work put in by the Boy Scouts of America, which has been our partner in improving the Union County Park System for over a hundred years.  This latest project offers an opportunity for boys and girls from Kindergarten to high school to learn about the values of teamwork and environmental consciousness, which will aid in shaping them into the responsible young adults of tomorrow,” said County Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded.  “Through the tireless efforts of all of our dedicated volunteers and staff, we are able to preserve the scenic and diverse beauty of our stunning Reservation, allowing us all to enjoy the wonders of nature and create cherished memories.”

Participants will gather at 8:30 am at the amphitheater in the Trailside Nature & Science Center complex, 452 New Providence Road, Mountainside.  County staff will explain the mission, demonstrate procedures, give a safety briefing, distribute tools and send crews on their way.  Everyone will return to sign out at noon.  Operation WRIP will be a light rain or shine event. 

Scouts should register at  Participation can be counted as conservation service hours for rank advancement, Camping merit badge, or the 50-Miler Award.

Anyone else wishing to help can send an email to or register in-person on April 6. For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities, visit the Green Connection at

For more information about activities and programs of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation visit online at, email, or call 908-527-4900.