To experience the changing seasons, one of my favorite spots in the 209-acre Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus. Although the park has a classic North Jersey location — next to the eastern spur of the turnpike, behind a shopping mall — it offers a wonderful oasis from the region’s hustle and bustle.
The marsh not only features the winding Mill Creek but it also includes several tidal impoundments that attract shorebirds in summer and ducks in winter. The upland area is nicely landscaped and home to 1.5 miles of handicapped-accessible, flat walking trails. The trails provide great views of the local birdlife — with the skyline of Manhattan to the east.
“Mill Creek is one of my favorite spots,” says NJMC Naturalist Gabrielle Bennett-Meany. “The site is easy to navigate, and you can gauge how long or short you want your walk to be. I visit Mill Creek at least once a month, and I have to say each month is pretty exciting — there’s always something new to be discovered. Most people are surprised to find this hidden little place.
The two open-water impoundments along the trail feature a blast from the Meadowlands’ part, the remnants of a stand of Atlantic white cedars. The trees once covered a much of the region at one time or another, before settlers arrived and started cutting them down over the years for roofing shingles, barrels, roads and even railroad ties.
The rest of the story follows.