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Welcome!

Welcome to the High Point State Park blog - your source for information about nature and history programs in the Park. High Point is located in the northwestern corner of New Jersey in rural Sussex County.

Please call the Interpretive Center at 973.875.1471 if you have questions about park programs, or email us at highpointprograms@gmail.com.

For questions about hiking, camping, swimming, picnicking or other information, please call the park office at 973.875.4800 or go to the official website for High Point State Park and the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry.
Need directions? Click on the link above.

Monthly Calendar

To view the full program description in Google Calendar, click on the program title, then click on the "more details" link at the bottom of the expanded entry, and a new window will open with all the program information. You can also switch between "monthly, "weekly," and "agenda" views by clicking on the tabs in the upper right corner. To create a printer-friendly calendar, click on the icon to the left of the tabs. To advance through the months click on the forward/backward arrows at the top left of the calendar.

January 2010 Programs

Winter Trails Day
Saturday, January 09, 2010 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Snowshoeing has become a very popular winter activity. Come find out why! If you've ever been curious about snowshoes, this is a great opportunity to try out different types. During this day-long snowshoe festival at the High Point Cross Country Ski Center, vendors will be on hand to give you a chance to try and/or buy snowshoes. You can give the shoes a trial-run on free, naturalist-guided tours that begin at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM For more information call the Ski Center at 973-702-1222 or go to www.xcskihighpoint.com.

Nature in Winter Snowshoe Walk

Saturday, January 16, 2010 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Adults/Children ages 8 and up. Registration is required by 4:00 PM the day before the walk. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Locations vary. Directions provided when you register. Winter can be a quiet time, but there's still lots to explore. While on the trail we'll look for tracks and signs of wintering wildlife, observe dormant trees, plants, insects, and much more. Whether we go by boot or by snowshoe will depend on the weather. A limited number of snowshoes, (child and adult sizes) are available for use during these walks if snow conditions are suitable. Snowshoes must be reserved in advance.

Fledgling Naturalists: Trees in Winter

Thursday, January 21, 2010 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Or Friday, January, 22 2010 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

For 3 to 5 year-olds with an adult partner. Class size is limited. Registration is required. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Come explore trees in winter. Learn how they cope with the cold and explore tree shapes and textures. Weather permitting, we'll give snowshoes a try. Fledgling Naturalist programs are designed to encourage young children's curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world, through outdoor activities, stories, games, and crafts.

Snow and Ice Celebration

Saturday, January 23, 2010 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

High Point is the snowiest spot in New Jersey and ice has played an important role in the mountain's story for thousands of years. This day is dedicated to the slippery stuff. Activities will include making bird feeders, old-fashioned ice fishing demonstrations, a talk by High Point weather expert, Nick Stefano, and a sing-along and refreshments by a roaring fire. If weather conditions are unsuitable on January 23rd, this event will take place on Sunday, January 24th. A detailed schedule for the day will be available here soon.

Homeschool Naturalists

Friday, January 29, 2010 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Children ages 6 to 9, accompanied by an adult. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. In January we'll explore winter wildlife and the tracks and signs they leave behind. These hands-on activities provide homeschoolers with opportunities to explore the natural world and interact with other homeschooled students. Suggestions for further study and resources will be provided for each program.

Homeschool Adventurers

Friday, January 29, 2010 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM

Children ages 9 to 13, accompanied by an adult. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. In January we will explore the winter lives of High Point's wildlife and try our hand at becoming trackers. If there isn't much snow, we'll play some trail games and practice tracking each other. Dress warmly and plan to cover about two miles. These monthly programs offer older homeschoolers opportunities to get out "in the field" through a series of thematic hikes with hands-on activities and lessons. In addition to fresh air and exercise, there will be time for students to socialize and work cooperatively together. Older and/or younger siblings are welcome to accompany us. In the case of younger siblings, they will need to be able walk the planned distance.

After School Trek: Nature in Winter at Dusk

Friday, January 29, 2010 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM

Families w/children ages 6 to 10. Registration is required by 4:00 PM the day before the walk. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Come explore nature in winter during this active, afterschool program. If there's snow we'll go snowshoeing and learn to read animal tracks, if there isn't we'll go on a one to two-mile walk to explore other aspects of nature in winter. A limited number of snowshoes, (child and adult sizes) are available for use during these walks if snow conditions are suitable. Snowshoes must be reserved when you register.

Winter Wildlife: Tracks and Signs

Saturday, January 30, 2010 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Adults/Children ages 6 and up. Registration is required by 4:00 PM the day before the program. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. We don't usually get the chance to observe wild animals in action but the signs they leave behind offer a window into their world. Come learn the basics of interpreting the tracks and signs of local wildlife. After this indoor presentation you can either head outside to complete a "Signs of Wildlife" scavenger hunt or practice being a tracker in the Interpretive Center.

Nature in Winter by Moonlight

Saturday, January 30, 2010 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Adults/Children ages 7 and up. Registration is required by 4:00 PM the day before the walk. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Bright, moonlit winter nights are an unforgetable time to be out exploring at High Point. Join us for a one to two mile naturalist-guided walk by moonlight. A limited number of snowshoes, (child and adult sizes) are available for use during these walks if snow conditions are suitable. Snowshoes must be reserved in advance.

Winter Has Arrived!

December Programs

Red and Green Walk
Saturday, December 19, 2009 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Adults/Children ages 8 and up. Meet in the Beach Parking Lot.

Come take an easy walk near Lake Marcia to look for spots of color in the winter landscape. You'll learn to identify several evergreens and discover how they survive winter's cold. The ground may be snow-covered and icy, so snow boots with good traction are recommended.

Moonlit Walk
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Adults/Children ages 8 and up. Meet at the Park Office on Route 23. Inclement weather may cancel this program.

Join us for an end-of-the-year naturalist-guided walk by moonlight in High Point State Park. We'll cover about two miles and both the almost-full moon and the Monument should be shining over the snowy landscape. Dress warmly, and the ground may be snow-covered and icy, so snow boots with good traction are recommended.

Wind Flags
Thursday, December 31, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Families with children ages 4 to 10. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com to register for this program by 5:00 PM, Wednesday, December 30th.

More often than not, it's windy at High Point. Why? Come find out. Learn about how wind influences the plants and animals at High Point, and listen to a windy story. We'll make and decorate wind flags and then take a short walk to an overlook to feel them blowing in the breeze.

Open Hearth Cooking - Rain or Shine!

The Friends of High Point State Park will be hosting their annual Open Hearth Cooking Day on Saturday, October 24 from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM in the Interpretive Center.

Cooking demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the day, so stop by any time and taste a sample of the food that has just come off the hearth. A variety of foods will be prepared, including snacks, soups, meats, and desserts. There will also be cider pressing demonstrations at 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM.

Dishes that will be prepared during the day and will be available to sample include:

Appetizers
  • Salmon Cubes with Honey and Horseradish
  • Cheddar Biscuits baked in a tin kitchen
  • Impossible Shrimp Pie
  • Tomato and Onion Tart
  • Split Pea and Mulligatawny Soups
  • Corn Bread
  • Peach and Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Cakes
Entrees
  • Roast Turkey with Ginger Apple Stuffing
  • Roast Beef with Horseradish Sauce
  • Summer Squash Casserole
  • Baked Corn and Tomatoes
  • and More!
There will also be pies and puddings as well as hot beverages.

This event is free of charge, but donations are appreciated. Proceeds support future Friends of High Point programs and events. The Friends of High Point State Park is a not-for-profit organization that supports historical, scientific, educational, recreational, and natural resource management activities within the Park.

Leaf Peeping


Colorful maples in the wetlands along the Flatbrook on Sawmill Road.

October Programs

Yoga on the Mountain
Saturday, October 3, 2009 from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
Open for all levels. Registration is required, please call 973-702-0488. Come and enjoy the view while relaxing your mind and body! The Friends of High Point are hosting a yoga class in the Interpretive Center at High Point State Park. No previous experience is required, but you’ll want to bring a yoga mat.

Leaf Art
Thursday, October 8, 2009 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Or Saturday, October 17, 2009 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Families w/children ages 3 to 10. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Come learn to identify a few common tree species and use fallen leaves to create art using a variety of techniques including spatter painting, printing, and rubbing. You may want to bring a smock or old shirt if you have one.

Falling for Trees

Saturday, October 17, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Families w/children ages 4 to 10. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Fall is a busy time in the forest. Trees and plants are storing energy and spreading their seeds. Come explore the tallest residents of the fall forest, their colors, leaves, and life cycles, as well as learn how to identify a few common ridgetop species..

Open Hearth Cooking
Saturday, October 24, 2009 from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM

All ages. Event is free of charge, but donations are appreciated. Proceeds support future Friends of High Point State Park programs and events.
Step back in time and see how food was prepared before there were electric stoves and microwave ovens. You’ll see how food can be cooked on a wood fire and will get to taste the results. There will also be cider pressing demonstrations at 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM.

Hike through History

Saturday, October 31, 2009 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Adults/Families w/children age 10 and up. Registration is not required. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Come take a trip back through time as we walk portions of the Steenykill Trail and old woods roads covering about 2.5 miles. Enjoy a scenic walk, hear stories, and see pictures of High Point’s past along the way. Most of the walking will be fairly easy, but there is one strenuous climb.

Fall Programs for Preschoolers

Fledgling Naturalist programs are for or 3 to 5 year-olds with an adult partner and are designed to encourage young children's curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world, through outdoor activities, stories, games, and crafts.

Class size is limited. Registration is required. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Marvelous Migrations
Thursday, September 24 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

or Friday, September 25 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

In autumn a number of animals undertake amazing journeys. We'll explore who migrates, why, and how.

Green Leaves in the Fall
Thursday, October 8 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

or Friday, October 9 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Come take a closer look at leaves, both their colors and shapes. Fall is a fun time time to turn over a new (or old) leaf.

Seeds and Squirrels
Thursday, October 22 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

or Friday, October 23 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Fall is a busy time for both plants and squirrels. Plants are setting their seeds and squirrels are harvesting them. Come learn about both.

Fall Programs for Homeschoolers

Homeschool Naturalists
Children ages 6-9 (Accompanied by an adult)
Group size is limited. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. These hands-on activities provide homeschoolers with opportunities to explore the natural world and interact with other home-schooled students. Suggestions for further study and resources will be provided for each program.

Migrations
Friday, September 18 from 10:30 AM to 12 PM

Each year many animals travel thousands of miles. How do they know where to go? How do they get there? What challenges do the encounter? Join us and find out.

Trees & Forest Habitats
Friday, October 30 from 10:30 AM to 12 PM

What makes a forest? We'll work together to formulate a "recipe" for a forest and learn how to identify a few common tree species.

Winter Weather
Friday, December 4 from 10:30 AM to 12 PM

In the northeast, winter weather often has a significant impact on how we live our lives. Come learn more about snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.

Homeschool Adventurers
Children ages 9-13 (Accompanied by an adult)
Group size is limited. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. These programs take place outside, rain or shine. These monthly programs offer older homeschoolers opportunities to get out in the field through a series of thematic hikes with hands-on activities and lessons. In addition to fresh air and exercise, there will be time for students to socialize and work cooperatively.

Wayfinding
Friday, September 18 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM

In September we will walk the Life Trail (~1.5 mostly level miles) and focus along the way on map reading and drawing, and "wayfinding" techniques.

The Forest and the Trees
Friday, October 30 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM

In October we will walk one of High Point's trails (covering no more than 2 miles) with a focus on trees, including their preparations for the coming winter and how to identify 10 (or so) of the most common species in the Park.

Survival 101
Friday, December 4 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM

In December we will walk one of High Point's trails (covering about 1 mile) and will discuss survival and wilderness safety. We will also build a shelter. Come prepared to get a bit dirty!

Book suggestion: Your homeschooler may enjoy reading the My Side of the Mountain trilogy by Jean Craighead George. In the first of these classic stories, a boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains, including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship. In the second book On the Far Side of the Mountain he is joined in his adventures by his sister and their journeys will be particularly relevant to our class at the end of September.

September Programs 2009

Sunset/Moonrise Walk
Saturday, September 5, 2009 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Adults/Children age 10 and up. Meet at the Park Office. Rain may cancel this hike. Come hike a 1-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail to an observation platform where we’ll watch the sun set in the west and the full moon rise in the eastern sky. This hike is moderately strenuous with some steep portions and a rocky, uneven trail surface. Sturdy shoes are recommended. We will return to our cars by moonlight via an easier route.

Mountaintop Talk and Scavenger Hunt

Sunday, September 6, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

All ages. Meet by the steps to the Monument plaza. Explore the mountaintop on your own with a family-friendly scavenger hunt and/or join the Park Interpretive Specialist for a talk about the cultural and natural history of the mountain while enjoying the view.

Yoga on the Mountain

Friday, September 11, 2009 from 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM

Open for all levels. Registration is required, please call 973-702-0488. Come and enjoy the view and the sunset while relaxing your mind and body! The Friends of High Point are hosting a yoga class in the Interpretive Center at High Point State Park. No previous experience is required, but you’ll want to bring a yoga mat.

Bait and Boat Festival

Sunday, September 13, 2009 from 12:00 PM to 8:30 PM

All ages. Registration not required. Event is free of charge, but donations are appreciated. Proceeds support future Friends of High Point State Park programs and events. Join the Friends of High Point State Park for a festival at New Jersey’s highest lake. Activities will include a fishing contest, naturalist guided walks and boat tours, and a boat race (non-motorized). Kids can test their ingenuity with a “build a boat” craft, and there will be a guest African drummer. We’ll end the day with a campfire on the beach, storytelling, and s’mores.

Morning Canoe/Kayak Tour
Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

All ages. Registration is required. Please call the Interpretive Center at 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Come take a naturalist-guided paddle around Lake Steenykill. Bring your own non-motorized boats.

Nature’s Palette

Saturday, September 26, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Families w/children ages 5 to 10. Meet in Winter Trail Use parking lot in the Group Camping Area on the south side of Route 23. Come explore nature’s colors and textures and use them to make natural paintings and collages, producing both take-home and “ephemeral” art. Wear clothes that can get dirty and expect to walk about a half a mile.

Nature Scavenger Hunts

All ages. Registration is not required. $5 Parking fee. These scavenger hunts are a fun and informal way to discover High Point. Each week you’ll explore a different area in search of natural artifacts. Some will be easy, others a little more difficult, and some call for creative thinking. Bring a picnic and/or a swimsuit and make a day of it!

Nature Scavenger Hunt - Monument
Thursday, August 6, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Meet on the steps to the Monument plaza.

Nature Scavenger Hunt – Old Trail
Thursday, August 13, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Meet by the Old Trail trailhead (across the street from the beach parking area).

Nature Scavenger Hunt - Beach
Thursday, August 20, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Meet by the swings at the beach.

Nature Scavenger Hunt - Monument
Thursday, August 27, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Meet on the steps to the Monument plaza.

Evening & Weekend Programs in August

Campfire/Sing-Along
Saturday, August 1, 2009 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
All ages. Meet at Lake Marcia.Come join us for an old-fashioned campfire and sing-along sponsored by the Friends of High Point State Park. You may want to bring along a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on.

Sunset/Moonrise Hike
Wednesday, August 5 2009 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Adults/Children age 10 and up. Meet at the Park Office. Inclement weather may cancel this hike. Come hike a 1-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail to an observation platform where we'll watch the sun set in the west and the full moon rise in the eastern sky. This hike is moderately strenuous with some steep portions and a rocky, uneven trail surface. Sturdy shoes are recommended. We will return to our cars by moonlight via an easier route.

Eagles of the Upper Delaware
Saturday, August 8, 2009 from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Adults/Children age 7 and up. Meet in the Interpretive Center. Eagles have been making a comeback in the region after many years of decline. Both resident and wintering bald eagles are a common sight along the river and even appear at High Point from time to time. Come learn about this region's eagles from Scott Rando. See spectacular photographs of a growing family on their nest and learn how biologists are studying and tracking these majestic birds and their habitats.

Night Insects
Saturday, August 15, 2009 from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Families w/children ages five and up. Meet in the Interpretive Center. Late summer nights are filled with the sounds of insects. Come learn about katydids, crickets, moths, and others. Bring a flashlight and we'll go on an after-dark bug hunt.

Sun Gazing
Saturday, August 22, 2009 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
All ages. Meet at the far end of the Monument parking lot. This program will only take place if the sky is cloudless. Come learn more about the closest star--our sun! Take a look at the sun's surface with astronomy enthusiast, Doug Paddock. By looking through a filtered telescope, you'll be able to see the sun in a way you've never seen it before. Stop by any time between 12 and 2.

Night Hike
Saturday, August 22, 2009 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Adults/Children age 10 and up. Meet at the Interpretive Center. We'll hike a portion of the Monument Trail and enjoy the sunset and views to the west. Then we'll loop through the cedar bog and try calling for owls. By the time it is fully dark we'll be on a flat, even trail surface, so flashlights won't be necessary. You may be surprised by how much you can see without one! In all, we'll hike about 2.5 miles.

Yoga on the Mountain
Thursday, August 27 2009 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Open for all levels. Registration is required, please call 973-702-0488. Come and enjoy the view and the sunset while relaxing your mind and body! The Friends of High Point are hosting a sunset yoga class in the Interpretive Center at High Point State Park. No previous experience is required, but you'll want to bring a yoga mat.

August Programs for "Fledgling" Naturalists

For 3 to 5 year-olds with an adult partner. Class size is limited. Registration is required. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. $5 Parking fee. Fledgling Naturalist programs are designed to encourage young children's curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world, through outdoor activities, stories, games, and crafts.

Night by Day
Friday, August 7, 2009 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM
Come take a daytime look at High Point’s night life: moths, bats, owls, and more!

A Whole Lotta Holes!
Friday, August 14, 2009 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM
Who lives in holes? Who makes them and how? Come explore holes, big and small, and learn about their occupants.

What’s Wild?
Friday, August 21, 2009 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM
Come learn what makes an animal wild, and learn about the animals that call High Point home.

2nd Annual Bait and Boat Festival at Lake Marcia

**UPDATED 9/6**
Sunday, September 13, 2009 12:00 to 8:30 PM

Join the Friends of High Point State Park at Lake Marcia for a special day when non-motorized boats will be permitted on the Lake and there will be activities throughout the day for the whole family. Stop by any time and stay as long as you like!

12:00-3:45 PM - Fishing Contest (ongoing)
1:00 PM - Boat Race (B.Y.O.B.)
2:00 PM - Naturalist-guided boat tour around the lake (B.Y.O.B.)
3:00 PM - Boat Race (B.Y.O.B.)
4:00 PM - Fly fishing demonstration
5:00 PM - Build-a-Boat Craft
5:30 PM - African Drumming* (more info. below)
6:30 PM - Picnic/Barbecue dinner (grills are available, but you'll need charcoal...and food)
7:00 PM - Campfire with Storytelling by Ken Karnas*
  • Bring beach chairs, blankets, picnic baskets, fishing gear, canoes, kayaks, rowboats and your friends!
  • The concession stand will be open throughout the day.
  • Anyone over the age of 15 will need a NJ fishing licence to fish.
  • Parking is in the beach parking lot. You may find it easier to put in boats at the north end of the lake.
*Will take place in the Interpretive Center if it's raining.
B.Y.O.B. - Bring your own boat

African Drumming at 5:30 PM
Come enjoy the rich cultural experience of authentic African drumming and dance by Kofi and the Sankofa Dance Ensemble. Maxwell Kofi Donkor, is a master drummer whose skills and values were taught to him by his ancestors. The ensemble formed in 1997 and has performed in numerous places in the tri-state area, nationally, and internationally. This free performance creates an atmosphere of an indigenous African village where everyone gets involved! Visit www.bak2roots.com for more information.

This day is sponsored by the Friends of High Point State Park and is free of charge, but donations are appreciated. Proceeds support future programs and events.

Patrick Fitzsimmons Concert

Saturday's concert on the beach was a fun and relaxing evening. The weather was perfect and the music was great. Many thanks go to the Friends of High Point State Park for sponsoring and organizing this terrific event.


The crowd began to gather while Patrick Fitzsimmons and his band set up near the beach concession building.


Concert goers made themselves comfortable on blankets and lawn chairs

Free Concert on the Beach


Patrick Fitzsimmons

Saturday, July 18th at 6:00 PM
The Friends of High Point State Park are sponsoring a free contemporary folk concert by Patrick Fitzsimmons and his band on the beach.

Patrick writes songs that have that rare combination of strong lyrics and strong melody. Relix Magazine called him “one of the most captivating songwriters around today.” He is a three time Ploughshares songwriting contest finalist and has had his songs placed in several independent films. His latest CD, So Beautiful So Blue, has made several Best of 2008 lists and is being played on radio stations all over the country. He continues to tour throughout the northeast building a large and loyal following with his soulful, captivating performances.

There is lawn seating, so bring a blanket or chairs and a picnic and come enjoy the show! For more information about Patrick, visit www.patrickfitzsimmons.net. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will take place in the Interpretive Center.

The Friends of High Point State Park is a not-for-profit organization that supports historical, scientific, educational, recreational, and natural resource management activities within the Park.

Summer Nature Scavenger Hunts

Fridays in July and Thursdays in August
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

All ages. Registration is not required. $5 Parking fee.

This is a fun and informal way to discover High Point. Each week you’ll explore a different area in search of natural artifacts. Some will be easy, others a little more difficult, and some call for creative thinking. Bring a picnic and make a day of it!

Beach
- July 10, 2009
Monument - July 17, 2009
Old Trail - July 24, 2009
Beach - July 31, 2009
Monument – August 6, 2009
Old Trail – August 13, 2009
Beach – August 20, 2009
Monument – August 27, 2009

Meeting Places:
Beach - Meet by the swings at the beach.
Monument - Meet on the steps to the Monument plaza.
Old Trail - Meet by the Old Trail trailhead (across the street from the beach parking area).

Summer Fledgling Naturalists

For 3 to 5 year-olds with an adult partner. Class size is limited. Registration is required. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. $5 Parking fee. Fledgling Naturalist programs are designed to encourage young children’s curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world, through outdoor activities, stories, games, and crafts.

Night by Day
Thursday, July 9 at 10:30 AM

or Friday, August 7 at 10:30 AM

Come take a daytime look at High Point’s night life: moths, bats, owls, and more!

A Whole Lotta Holes!

Thursday, July 16 at 10:30 AM

or Friday, August 14 at 10:30 AM

Who lives in holes? Who makes them and how? Come explore holes, big and small, and learn about their occupants.

What’s Wild?

Thursday, July 23 at 10:30 AM

or Friday, August 21 at 10:30 AM

Come learn what makes an animal wild, and learn about the animals that call High Point home.

July Programs

Ask the Naturalist/Nature Craft
July 4, 2009 from 6:45 PM to 7:30 PM
All ages. Meet at the Sawmill Lake Dam. Come visit with High Point's naturalist. Learn how to make an origami frog that jumps, ask questions and learn about the creatures that live in and around Sawmill Lake.

Pond Netting
July 4, 2009 from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM

All ages. Meet at the edge of Sawmill Lake near campsite one. What lives in Sawmill Lake? Come borrow a net and join the Park Naturalist to find out. Stop by any time between 7:30 and 8:30 PM and give it a try!

Yoga on the Mountain
July 11, 2009 from 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM

Open for all levels. Registration is required, please call 973-702-0488. Come and enjoy the view while relaxing your mind and body! The Friends of High Point are hosting a sunset yoga class in the Interpretive Center at High Point State Park. No previous experience is required, but you'll want to bring a yoga mat.

Sun Gazing
July 18, 2009 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

All ages. Meet at the far end of the Monument parking lot. This program will only take place if the sky is cloudless. Come learn more about the closest star--our sun! Take a look at the sun's surface with astronomy enthusiast, Doug Paddock. By looking through a filtered telescope, you'll be able to see the sun in a way you've never seen it before.

Friends of High Point State Park Meeting
July 18, 2009 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Meet in the Interpretive Center. Come help plan events and support the Park. New members welcome!

Folk Concert at the Beach
July 18, 2009 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

All ages. Meet on the beach. The Friends of High Point State Park are sponsoring a free contemporary acoustic/folk concert with Patrick Fitzsimmons, called one of the "most captivating songwriters around today" by Relix magazine. Patrick will be performing with his band on the beach at Lake Marcia. Bring a blanket or chairs and a picnic and come enjoy the show! For more information about Patrick and to hear examples of his music, visit www.patrickfitzsimmons.net. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will take place in the Interpretive Center.

Night Hike - Ayers Trail
July 25, 2009 from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM

Adults/children ages 8 and up. Inclement weather may cancel this program. If in doubt, call 973-875-1471. Meet at the Sawmill Lake boat launch. Come experience nature as day slides into night. We'll walk to the Ayers fields and spend some time watching and listening as the stars come out and the birds and animals settle for the night. We'll walk back in the full dark, covering about two miles in all. We won't be using flashlights; you may be surprised by how well you'll be able to see without one! You may want to bring a blanket or something else to sit on while we are in the fields.

Kundalini Yoga for Energy

Weather permitting, this class will take place on a bluff with a view of Lake Marcia and the mountaintop. Kundalini yoga is an ancient technique that rapidly transforms you to create inner balance by working on the glandular and nervous systems. To register contact Ania at 973-875-5244 or email anian1966@hotmail.com. For more information go to www.yogawithania.com. This workshop will benefit the Friends of High Point State Park.

Dragons and Damsels Walk


Calico Pennant photographed by Allen Barlow at Sawmill Lake

Come on a foray into the world of delicate damsels and fierce dragons. No, we’re not going to Camelot, but to Sawmill Lake. Sussex County is home to more species of odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) than any other county in the state, and High Point is a wonderful place to observe these fascinating insects. On Saturday, June 13th at 10:30 AM, Allen Barlow, author of a soon-to-be published field guide to New Jersey’s dragonflies and damselflies, will lead a 2-mile walk around Sawmill Lake.

As we explore, you’ll learn about the lifecycles, habits, and habitats of High Point’s dragon and damselflies. Since they’re so large, their behaviors are easy to watch! We may see them feeding (eating mosquitoes and other insects we consider pests), defending territories, laying eggs, or performing dominance displays. You’ll also begin to learn how to identify the many different kinds of odonates from iridescent jewelwings to bold and bright skimmers.

This walk is appropriate for adults and children ages eight and up. Registration is not required. Meet at the Sawmill Lake boat launch. For more information call the Interpretive Center at 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. For more information about dragonflies and damselflies in New Jersey, check out the NJ Odonates website.

June Programs

Sunset Yoga
June 13, 2009 from 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM

Come and enjoy the view while relaxing your mind and body! The Friends of High Point are hosting a sunset yoga class in the Interpretive Center at High Point State Park.The class is open to all levels, but class size is limited and registration is required. Please call 973-702-0488.

Solstice Sunset Scramble
June 20, 2009 from 7:15 PM to 9:15 PM

Adults/children age 10 and up. Registration is not required. Meet at the Sawmill Lake Boat Launch. This somewhat strenuous rock scramble up the half-mile Blue Dot Trail affords a beautiful viewpoint from which to watch the sunset on one of the longest days of the year. This hike requires some agility and sturdy closed-toe shoes (not sandals!).

Summer Sensory Stroll
June 26, 2009 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

All Ages. Registration is not required. Meet at the entrance to the Cedar Swamp Trail. This 2.5 mile trail is stroller-friendly and one of the easiest at High Point. Come explore the Cedar Bog and surrounding forests using your eyes, ears, noses, and hands with High Point's naturalist. $5 parking fee will be in effect.

Mountain Lions in NJ: Fact or Fantasy?
June 27, 2009 from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

All ages. Registration is not required. Meet in the Interpretive Center. Once native to this region, mountain lions were thought to have been extirpated by the late 1800s. However, in recent years there have been increasing reports of mountain lions in northwestern New Jersey. So what's going on? Christopher Spatz, President of the Eastern Cougar Foundation, will share information about these large cats, their habits and habitats, and will explain the results of research he conducted in High Point State Park during 2006 and 2007.

Fledgling Naturalists - Late Spring

Fledgling Naturalist programs are for or 3 to 5 year-olds with an adult partner and are designed to encourage young children's curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world, through outdoor activities, stories, games, and crafts.

Class size is limited. Registration is required. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Pebbles and Boulders
Thursday, May 28 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Friday, May 29 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

($5 parking fee will be in effect)
Come explore all the different sizes, shapes, and colors of rocks. We’ll practice categorizing and sorting, and you’ll try your hand and becoming “rock hounds.”

Life in a Lake
Thursday, June 11 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Friday, June 10 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

What lives in the lake? We’ll use nets to find out. While we don’t plan to go in the lake, it still might be a good idea to wear boots or old sneakers. Meet at Sawmill Lake.

While not technically a “Fledgling” program, many of you may find the Spring Sensory Stroll on Friday, June 26, to be something you’d enjoy. Also, summer dates and topics for Fledgling Naturalists are now on the Google Calendar.

May Programs

Sunset Yoga on the Mountain
Saturday, May 2 from 7 PM to 8:15 PM
For all levels. Registration is required. Call 973-702-0488. Come and enjoy the view from the Interpretive Center while relaxing your mind and body! Sponsored by the Friends of High Point State Park.

Sunset/Moonrise Hike

Friday, May 8 from 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Adults/Children ages 10 and up. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Come hike a 1-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail to an observation platform where we’ll watch the sun set in the west and the full moon rise in the eastern sky. This hike is moderately strenuous with some steep portions and a rocky, uneven trail surface. Sturdy shoes are recommended. We will return to our cars by moonlight via an easier route.

Spring from A to Z Hike

Saturday, May 9 from 11 AM to 12 PM
Families w/children ages 4 to 8. Registration is not required. Meet at the Steenykill Boat Launch. Come take a walk on a portion of the Steenykill trail. Along the way we’ll search for signs of spring and natural items that correspond to the letters of the alphabet. “A” is for anemone...will you be able to find “Z”?

Bird Walk (Not for Early Birds!)

Saturday, May 16 from 4:30 PM to 6 PM
Adults/Children ages 8 and up. Registration is not required. Come take an afternoon stroll in search of colorful migrating warblers and other spring arrivals. We’ll meet at the Park Office on Route 23 and will travel to a few hot spots. Bring a pair of binoculars if you have them. A limited number will be available to borrow.

Blooming Bog Walk

Saturday, May 23 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Adults/children ages 8 and up. Registration is not required. The cedar bog in High Point’s Kuser Natural Area is home to a number of uncommon plant species, many of which are blooming in May. Come take an easy, 2.5 mile naturalist-guided walk through the bog. Meet at the entrance to the Cedar Swamp Trail.

Stream Study

Saturday, May 30 from 11 AM to 12:30 PM
Adults/Children ages 6 and up. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Discover who (or what) lives in and along one of High Point’s streams. You’ll want to wear boots or old sneakers since it’s bound to be wet and muddy (even if you don’t fall in!). You may also want to wear insect repellent.

Volunteer Work Days at Sawmill Lake

The Friends of High Point State Park are sponsoring volunteer work days at Sawmill lake on Saturday, May 8th and Sunday, May 9th. Anyone interested in lending a hand should go to campsite 27 to register/check-in any time between 9 AM and 5 PM on either day.

This spring volunteers will be clearing branches that may be blocking the trail after the winter's ice storms, picking up litter, and working to make areas that flood regularly more passable.

It's recommended that you wear work clothes, including a long-sleeved shirt and work gloves (if you have them), and bring water to drink.

Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy along the lake, and don't forget to take a break from your work to appreciate this beautiful area, created by the Civilian Conservation Corps nearly 70 years ago. The Friends will also provide some refreshments for volunteers.

With cutbacks in state budgets, there is a need for volunteers to take to take more of an interest in maintaining the parks that we all enjoy.

Those who would like to pre-register can do so by emailing michaelbender1@hotmail.com , or by calling 973-347-4722 and leaving a message.

April Programs

Vernal Ponds at High Point
Saturday, April 4 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Saturday, April 18 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Adults/Children ages 8 and up. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Vernal ponds, unique, temporary wetlands, are the breeding grounds for a number of amphibians and other species. Join us for a short introduction to these ponds in the Interpretive Center, and then travel to a handful of High Point’s vernal ponds for a first-hand look. This program will include both walking (a mile or less) and driving (approx. five miles). We will also be walking off-trail, so sturdy shoes are recommended.

Moonrise Walk
Thursday, April 9 from 6:30 PM to 8:45 PM
Adults/Children ages 10 and up. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Come hike a 1-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail to an observation platform where we’ll watch the full moon rise in the eastern sky. This hike is moderately strenuous with some steep portions and a rocky, uneven trail surface. Sturdy shoes are recommended. We will return to our cars by moonlight via an easier route.

Beaver Walk
Tuesday, April 14 from 10 AM to 12 PM
Families w/children ages 5 and up. Registration is not required. Meet at the Sawmill Lake Boat Launch. Come take a walk around Sawmill Lake (about 2 miles) to see lodges and other signs of beaver activity.

Beaver Movie and Craft
Tuesday, April 14 from 1 PM to 2:30 PM
Families w/children ages 5 and up. Registration is not required. Meet at the Interpretive Center. Watch a movie about beavers that will show you a side of the beaver’s life that you can’t see standing by a lake, then make a 3-D beaver habitat picture to take home.

Late Afternoon Canoe/Kayak Tour

Saturday, April 25 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com. Come take a leisurely, naturalist-guided paddle around Lake Steenykill. Bring your own non-motorized boats.

The Arrival of Spring - update 3/30

After a long and icy winter, spring is slowly arriving at High Point State Park. In this post I’ll keep track of some of these seasonal changes as I observe them. Feel free to add any of your own sightings as a comment.

2/21/09 - Spotted a skunk cabbage flower coming up along the stream on the old road to Lake Rutherford during the fourth Nature in Winter walk.

The mottled purple and green hood of the skunk cabbage flower doesn’t really look like a flower at all, but it is generally the first flower of spring, often sprouting before the snow melts. It generates its own heat and can maintain a temperature of around 70 degrees as long as the air temperature remains above freezing.

2/26/09 – Porcupine was feeding in the upper branches of an Eastern hemlock near the entrance to the Blue Dot trail at Sawmill Lake. Judging by the debris on the ground, that porcupine had been feeding in that tree and the surrounding hemlocks for the better part of the winter.

3/5/09 - Bear tracks criss-crossed the Mashipacong Trail between Sawmill and Park Ridge Roads.

3/5/09 - Heard woodcocks “peenting” in the meadows along Sawmill Road at dusk. The mating dance of the American woodcock (or timberdoodle) is one of the great spectacles of March. If you’re interested in seeing it for yourself, join us on one of our Timberdoodle Treks.

3/6/09 – A turkey vulture spent the morning perching on the Interpretive Center chimney. (This is not really a seasonal observation, but it was somewhat disconcerting to see him looming up there.)

3/7/09 - Bluebird flew across Route 23 near the north end of Lake Steenykill.

3/11/09 - Snow is pretty much gone. The ice is beginning to recede from the edges of the lakes.

3/14/09 - All about waterfowl....only a film of ice remains on High Point's lakes, and spring migratory ducks have begun to arrive. The ubiquitous mallards are on Lake Marcia, and the ring-necked ducks have started to trickle in. (I don't know why they're called ring-necks as there is no noticeable ring around their necks. There is around their bill though. Go figure.) A few of my all time favorite ducks have also appeared: hooded mergansers. (Click the link and you'll see why...stunning!) All week long I've been hearing and seeing skeins of geese honking their way northwards. I also heard the cheerful "conk-a-ree" call of a red-wing blackbird by Steenykill Lake.

3/18/09 - A mature bald eagle was hanging out at Red Barn Pond (near the intersection of Sawmill Road and the Deckertown Tpk.) There was also a great blue heron there. On the way down Route 23, I spotted a pair of tundra swans on Steenykill Lake.

3/21/09 - Although it was on the chilly side, the Timberdoodle Trek was a success. Several timberdoodles/woodcocks "peented" for us and one even landed within a few feet of where we sat, giving us an up-close look and listen. Thanks to those who joined me, for a fun evening!

3/27/09 - While I've been hearing the occasional peep of a spring peeper for a week or two, they started peeping in full voice today! I also heard the "quacks" of the wood frogs for the first time today. If you're interested in learning more about these frogs and other inhabitants of vernal ponds, come join us for one of the vernal pond programs on April 4th or 18th. Also, a mourning cloak butterfly fluttered past the Park Office in late afternoon today. While most butterflies overwinter as eggs or pupae, mourning cloaks are unusual because they overwinter as adults and emerge just as soon as the temperatures warm.

Spring Yoga on the Mountain

Come and enjoy the view while relaxing your mind and body!

The Friends of High Point are hosting a morning yoga class in the Interpretive Center on Saturday, April 4th at 10:00 a.m. and sunset classes on Saturday, May 2nd and Saturday, June 13th at 7:00 p.m.

The classes are open to all levels, but class size is limited and registration is required. Please call 973-702-0488.

March Timberdoodle Treks

Saturday March 14th and March 21st
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Adults/Children ages 10 and up.
Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

The timberdoodle (a.k.a. the American woodcock) is an elusive bird, but on early spring evenings it comes out of hiding and puts on a show. Come join us on a walk to timberdoodle territory (about one mile, round-trip) where we will sit for awhile as the sun sets and hopefully see and hear male woodcocks putting on their courtship displays. We'll return to our cars in the dark.

You may find it helpful to bring binoculars if you have them. A limited number will be available to borrow. You may also want to bring some type of padding to sit on as the ground may be damp and/or cold.

Spring Programs for Preschoolers

Fledgling Naturalists - for 3 to 5 year-olds with an adult partner.

Thursdays from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
April 2, April 16, and April 30

Fridays from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
April 3, April 17, and May 1

Class size is limited. Registration is required. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Fledgling Naturalist programs are designed to encourage young children's curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world, through outdoor activities, stories, games, and crafts.

Topics covered this spring will include amphibians and their life cycles, plant growth and plant parts, and wiggling worms.

Ice Festival

Saturday, January 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (snowdate 2/1)

High Point is the coldest spot in New Jersey and snow and ice do make life up here more difficult (this winter especially!) but it also has made High Point the place it is today, in more ways than one.

Come join the Friends of High Point State Park for a day celebrating the slippery stuff. Conditions permitting, there will be old-fashioned ice fishing demonstrations on Lake Marcia. You'll also be able to warm up by the the fire in the Interpretive Center with a cup of hot cocoa while learning more about ice and snow at High Point.

Other icy activities may include ice skating, making snow sculptures, or cutting snowflakes.

Bench buried under snow on the Mashipacong Trail


Rime ice on Pitch Pine by the Interpretive Center


Ice Cutting on the northern end of Lake Marcia. The ice was harvested and stored in an ice house (visible in the background), and then used for refrigeration in the summer months.

Nature in Winter Snowshoe Walks

Saturdays at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
January 24, February 7, February 21, and February 28

Winter can be a quiet time at the park, but there's still lots to explore. While on the trail we'll look for tracks and signs of wintering wildlife, observe dormant trees, plants, and insects, and much more. Whether we go by boot or by snowshoe will depend on the weather.

Registration is required for these walks by 4:00 p.m. the day before the walk. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com to register.

Locations will vary. Directions to the meeting places will be provided when you register.

A limited number of snowshoes, both child and adult sizes, are available for use during these winter walks (if snow conditions are suitable). Snowshoes must be reserved in advance!

Rescheduled Friends of High Point Meeting

The December meeting of the Friends of High Point State Park has been rescheduled for Saturday, January 31 at 11:00 a.m. in the Interpretive Center.

Come join us for the meeting and then stick around for the Ice Festival. New members are welcome to join us. If you care about the park, come get involved!