Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Morristown National Historic Park

An apple hanging from a tree branch with a red house in a field in the background.
Apple tree, Morristown National Historic Park, 2015

NPS Photo.

Morristown National Historical Park, the first historical park in the national park system, was established on March 2, 1933. The 1,711acre (692 ha) park is approximately 30 miles (48 km) west of New York City and situated mostly in Morris County, New Jersey near the town of Morristown, with a small portion located in Somerset County.

The park is distributed across four geographically separate units which are historically connected to the Revolutionary War: Washington’s Headquarters, Fort Nonsense Unit, New Jersey Brigade Area and Jockey Hollow Encampment Area. The park’s mission includes preserving the lands and features associated with the winter encampments of the Continental Army during the War for Independence, specifically commemorating the site General George Washington used as a winter encampment in 1779-1780.

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. This matrix of forest, fields and streams serve as a unique biological refuge within an increasingly urban environment.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2014

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2014. National Park Service representatives and Pennsylvania State University collaborated to determine park needs and available data. This team chose 15 resource topics to assess:

- Air quality

- Amphibians and reptiles

- Soils

- Visitor useage

- Water

- Landscapes

- Invasive exotic plants

- Soundscape

- Invasive exotic animals and disease

- Lightscape - dark night sky

- Forest vegetation

- Superstorm Sandy: ecological implication

- White-tailed deer herbivory

- Fish community

- Bird community

The assessment showed that natural resource conditions within Morristown National Historic Park varied. Lack of baseline data limited some evaluation of the resource topics, particularly for the landscape resource topic. Some other challenges that the park faces include inclement air quality, forest pests and diseases, over-browsing of deer, and continued land development in adjacent lands. Keeping external impacts secluded from Morristown National Historic Park is challenging, but it is the most important management action the park can enact in order to protect the natural and cultural resources of this national historical park.

NRCA Publications

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    For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

    Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

    Last updated: July 15, 2022


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