Jim Wright, who keeps this blog for the Meadowlands Commission, also writes a twice-monthly column for the South Bergenite. His latest is on an exciting new project — a crowd-sourced eBook about Disposal Road — and how can you can help.
What ‘s the best birding location that almost nobody knows about in all of North Jersey? As they like to say on TV, the answer may surprise you.
Here are a couple of hints: It’s 1.1 miles long and 28 feet wide. And it has a landfill on each side.
The answer is Disposal Road, a ribbon of asphalt that connects Schuyler Avenue in North Arlington and Valley Brook Avenue in Lyndhurst (at the entrance to DeKorte Park).
The road, which got its name because of a road to an old sewage disposal plant off Schuyler Avenue, has seen better days. Once a thoroughfare for the countless garbage trucks that hauled waste to the now-closed Erie and Kingsland landfills, Disposal Road still has the potholes and old speed bumps to prove it.
But those old landfills are still biodegrading the garbage in their bellies, and they generate enough heat to attract rodents in winter – as well as the hawks and falcons that feed on them. During other times of year, the landfills and nearby tidal impoundments attract other incredible birds and amazing critters.
How good a bird-watching spot is Disposal Road? Consider this: The road is listed on eBird (the No. 1 website for avid birders) as a “hot spot.” More than 135 species have been seen along this short stretch of two-lane highway in the past 14 months.
The N.J. Meadowlands Commission wants to give the road its due and to “put it on the map” for folks in North Jersey who love nature.
To that end, the Commission wants to create a free eBook featuring the reminiscences of local residents and dozens of images taken by top local nature photographers — including several of the photographers who contributed the NJMC’s coffee-table book, “The Nature of the Meadowlands.”
If you have memories about Disposal Road and Kingslands Creek that you’d like to share in the book, we’d love to consider them for a section on the history of the road. The section will also include aerial photos that document the changes to the terrain over eight decades — from wetlands to active landfills to the present day.
The idea is to combine words and pictures from the public to make this a true collaborative effort — a crowd-sourced book, in the current parlance.
The photos will include all kinds of wonderful nature photography, including images of owls, hawks, bald eagles, warblers and a few rarities. We’ll also feature diamondback terrapins, opossums and snapping turtles.
How about you? Do you have memories or old photos of the Disposal Road area that you’d like to share. E-mail me at email@example.com or write to Jim Wright,
NJMC, One DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071.