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Morristown National Historical Park

The Passaic River makes is way through a shady section of Morrisotwn's forest.
The Passaic River makes is way through a shady section of Morrisotwn's forest. NPS photo.

Morristown National Historical Park is a park rich in history extending back to the Revolutionary War era. The natural areas served as winter encampment sites for General George Washington's American Continental Army between 1779-1780. On March 2, 1933, Morristown became the third historic park added to the National Park Service, the first titled a National Historical Park, incorporating Ford's Mansion, Jockey Hollow and the site of Fort Nonsense. The park is located in Somerset and Morris Counties, in the Highlands section of New Jersey,approximately 600-700 feet above sea level.Comprised of four geographically separate units approximately 30 miles from New York City, it lies at the junction between the Highland and Piedmont physiographic provinces providing for both hilly terrain and scenic views.

Morristown National Historical Park's total of 1,705 acres are predominantly deciduous forest, but also includes open fields, and a mixture of wetlands including one permanent pond, numerous seeps, small streams, and a half-mile section of the Passaic River.Its forests are comprised primarily of mixed oak, sugar maple-hardwood, hemlock-hardwood, and chestnut oaks. The park is underlain by Precambrian gneiss and granite rock and Mesozoic siltstone, shale and sandstone sedimentary rock below the extension of late Wisconsinan glaciation, the last glaciation to affect New Jersey. These rock foundations are among the oldest in New Jersey, formed between 1.3 billion and 750 million years ago, and collectively create valleys flanked with high ridges and an erosion resistant environment resulting from the Precambrian rocks.

The park has 27 miles of hiking trails winding through mature forests which Washington's Army utilized to construct a "log-house city" of over 1000 soldier huts and successional forests which have regenerated on agricultural fields abandoned in the 19th and 20th centuries. Located in the upper end of the Great Swamp Watershed, the headwaters of several streams utilized as a water source by Washington's soldiers intersect many of the park's trails. The mosaic of fields and forests found in the park are interwoven with a wide variety of natural resources containing significant plant and animal communities.


The goals of NETN's Vital Signs Monitoring in the park include:

  1. Determine the status and trends in selected indicators of the condition of park ecosystems to allow managers to make better-informed decisions and to work more effectively with other agencies and individuals for the benefit of park resources.
  2. Provide early warning of abnormal conditions of selected resources to help develop effective mitigation measures and reduce costs of management.
  3. Provide data to better understand the dynamic nature and condition of park ecosystems and to provide reference points for comparisons with other, altered environments.
  4. Provide data to meet certain legal and Congressional mandates related to natural resource protection and visitor enjoyment.
  5. Provide a means of measuring progress towards performance goals.

View Park Related Publications by Topic:

Because most protocols address multiple vital signs, the NETN program is organized around protocols, rather than vital signs. The drop-down lists below show monitoring and inventory activity, as well as all park briefs for Morristown NHP. The protocol drop-downs also show the relative vital signs that are addressed by each protocol.

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Air Quality

Vital Signs Addressed

Acidic Deposition & stress,contaminants,and ozone.

Protocol Page

Air Quality
Breeding Landbirds

Vital Signs Addressed

Breeding Landbirds

Protocol Page

Breeding Landbirds
Climate (in development)

Vital Signs Addressed

Climate

Protocol Page

Climate
Invasive Species - Early Detection

Vital Signs Addressed

Invasive/Exotic Plants, Invasive/Exotic Animals

Protocol Page

Invasive Species

Park Target Invasive Species Guide

Morristown NHP (2013)
Phenology

Vital Signs Addressed

Phenology

Protocol Page

Phenology

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Air Quality
Breeding Landbirds
Climate (in development)
Forest Health
Invasive Species - Early Detection
Phenology
Water Quality

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Reptiles & Amphibians
Terrestrial Mammals
Vegetation Mapping
Fish
Land Cover

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Air Quality
Breeding Landbirds
Climate
Forest Health
Invasive Species - Early Detection
Phenology
Water Quality

Park Basline Inventories:

The Inventory and Monitoring Program provides guidance, funding, and technical assistance for parks to complete a set of 12 baseline, or "basic", natural resource inventories. These basic inventories are common to all parks with significant natural resources, and are intended to provide park managers with the minimum information needed to effectively manage the natural resources of their park. For more information, read the Fact Sheets for each of the inventories (PDF) by clicking here or on each individual inventory name.

Baseline Inventories Complete for Park? Reports, Documents & Data
Water Quality Y Baseline Inventory

Base Cartography

Y Base Cartography Data Inventory (2001 - 2010)
Air Quality Related Values Y Air Quality Monitoring in NETN Parks
Climate Inventory Y Weather and Climate Inventory for NETN parks (2006)
Geological Resources Inventory In progress (map complete 2009, report due 2013+)

GIS Data

Soil Resources Inventory Y NPS - SRI - Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO)
Water Body Location and Classification Y

National Hydrography Dataset Viewer

Hydrographic and Impairment Statistics (HIS)

Vegetation Inventory Y Vegetation Inventory Project
Species Lists Y IRMA Species Search
Species Occurrence and Distribution Y Biological Resources Search on IRMA

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NETN Monitoring Map

Locations are approximate. For informational purposes only.

To open the map in a new window, click here.

Bird observations from eBird (non-NPS)

Morristown NHP has been set up in eBird as a birding "hotspot". Help the park bolster bird data by adding your bird obsevations to eBird when you visit the park.
You can also download and print off a Bird Checklist for the park. The bird list was created using data from the volunteer run NETN Breeding Landbird Monitoring program, eBird observations, and NPSpecies information.


Species observations from iNaturalist (non-NPS)

inaturalist LogoLearn how you can contribute to iNaturalist

inaturalist LogoView Morristown NHP data on iNaturalist website

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NPS Map of the Park

Last Updated: October 16, 2017 Contact Webmaster