The Musconetcong Mountain Conservancy was formed in January 2002 to promote the preservation of New Jersey Highlands and surrounding environs by taking measures to:
Musconetcong Mountain is a ridge in the Highlands region of New Jersey which runs parallel to the Musconetcong River through the northern part of Hunterdon County. The ridge runs across Alexandria, Holland, Bethlehem and Lebanon Township. Two of the highest points on the ridge are Musconetcong Mountain in Bloomsbury at 955 feet above sea level and Point Mountain in Lebabnon Township, at 935 feet above sea level.
The Musconetcong Mountain provides large areas of forest habitat for migratory songbirds. On the west side of the ridge is the Musconetcong Watershed. On the east side is the South Branch of the Raritan River.
The Musconetcong Mountain was identified in 1993 by the US Forest Service as an "Important Area" of the Highlands region of New Jersey, because of its forest, wildlife, water and recreational values.
The history of Musconetcong Mountain is also very important. The area was first home to the Lenape Indians. European settlers started coming to the region as early as the 1600’s and were mostly farmers, landowners, and miners. It played an important part in the Revolutionary War and held some of the largest iron producing mines in the state. One mine, called the Swayze mine, was located in Bethlehem Township. This mine during the 1870’s produced over 16,000 tons of magnetite annually. Also located in the Musconetcong Mountain range was the Musconetcong Tunnel. Built in the 1870’s it was 4,893 feet long and at that time was the longest railroad tunnel in the eastern U.S.
One of the goals of the Musconetcong Mountain Conservancy is to help build the portion of the Highlands Trail from Spruce Run State Recreation Area through the Musconetcong Mountain to the Musconetcong River. This section of the Highlands Trail, is a footpath which starts where the trail leaves Spruce Run and continues through the Clinton Wildlife Management area in Bethlehem and Union Township, Hunterdon County.
The Clinton Wildlife Management section of the Highlands Trail was completed by the Musconetcong Mountain Conservancy in March 2003.
"We hiked the brand new Highlands Trail on Sunday afternoon. The scenery is magnificent. It started out with the wonderful sweet smell of the shrubs that are in bloom all around the beginning of the trail....We loved the long inclined hill. The varied terrain and vegetation is a wonderful bonus for this trail."
The Musconetcong Mountain Conservancy is working with the non-profit organizations, and local, county and state governments to preserve property along the Musconetcong Mountain.
Clinton Wildlife Management section of the Highlands Trail
Trail Opening of Clinton Wildlife Management section of the Highlands Trail
Map of the Highlands Trail in Northeast Hunterdon County
Highlands Coalition - http://www.highlandscoalition.org
New Jersey Highlands Coalition - http://www.njhighlandscoalition.org
New York/New Jersey Trail Conferences - http://www.nynjtc.org
South Branch Watershed Association - http://www.sbwa.org
Musconetcong Watershed Association – http://www.musconetcong.org
USDA Forest Service Map of the Highlands Region - http://www.fs.fed.us/na/highlands/maps/Map2002_highland.jpg
Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance - http://www.hlta.org/
The Musconetcong Mountain Conservancy is a member of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference