Itís about property stewardship and improvement, and more than two dozen residents came out to take part in a ìwork dayî event on Sunday, Nov. 8.

Representatives of the Harding Land Trust, the township and the Green Village Bridle Path Association joined to maintain what is now the sole trail leading to the Primrose Farm property.

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For about five hours, 20 to 25 volunteers teamed to perform trail maintenance and restoration work. The trail is accessed from Barrett Field on Brook Drive South and is about one-half mile long, according to Harding Land Trust Operations Manager Jordan Leff.

ìSome people came for a little while and helped. Some stayed the whole time. We used wheel barrows and equipment to move wood chips to resurface the entire trail,î he said. ìWe went from the trailís entrance at Barrett Field to the field it opens out onto on the Primrose Farm.

ìWe do events like this every year. This is part of larger project to eventually increase the number of trails available for hikers, walkers and horseback riders on the Primrose Farm property,î he said.

Joint Ownership

Leff said the Primrose property totals about 125 acres. The Harding Land Trust and the township own the property.

ìWe had a diverse group there that Sunday morning. We had land trust members. We had members of the New Vernon Fire Department and First Aid Squad. We had members of the Bridle Path Association. We want more walking trails. We want people to come and walk the property, and to enjoy it,î Leff said.

The work involved raking and removing leaves, removing weeds and undesired plant growth, removing branches and sticks and putting down a fresh coat of wood chips the entire length of the trail.

ìIt took four or five hours, but we got it all done,î Leff said. ìWe really wanted it to look like a real trail. We wanted to make it more inviting and welcoming. This half mile trail leads right to the open field. We didnít do any mowing, but there was a lot of raking and clearing debris and putting down the wood chips. We blew some leaves out of the way, and that type of thing.î

As part of the property stewardship program, Leff said more trails will be blazed in the future.

ìRight now, this is the only real trail leading to the property. People came out and gave as much time as they could, and it went very well,î he said.

Leff said he envisions future ìwork daysî a few times per year, as trails multiply and grow bigger.

ìIf you want to volunteer to help out, we are always looking for volunteers,î he said.

Typically, he said events are advertised by e-mails from the land trust.

ìWe encourage people to get out there and walk the trail. It looks much better. Itís a very well-defined trail now,î he said, adding that it can also accommodate a horse and rider. ìIt is not handicap accessible, but it can be used by equestrians. In fact, we are encouraging that. Thatís why members of the Bridle Path Association came to help out. Horses are always welcome.î

The Primrose Farm property comprises more than 120 acres of open fields and woodlands. The property is part of the watershed between Primrose Brook and the Passaic River which are important to water quality in Harding Township and beyond. The preservation project took place in two phases, beginning in 2011, utilizing Harding Open Space Trust (HOST) funds and partnerships between the Harding Land Trust and other nonprofit conservation organizations.

For more information on volunteering for future ìwork days,î e-mail Leff at Jordan@hardinglandtrust.org.

By Mike Condon, Observer Tribune, Staff Writer, Dec 3, 2015