Union County News

The 2017 Houdaille Quarry Walk, Sunday in Springfield: Get on the Other Side of the Fence

The fence will not be locked Sunday Credits: Ellen Dickson
Looking out at the quarry #1 Credits: Ellen Dickson
Looking out at the quarry #2 Credits: Ellen Dickson
Picture from last year's quarry walk Credits: Alyson Miller
A group taking the tour last year Credits: Alyson Miller

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Houdaille Quarry, often called the “Grand Canyon of Union County”, and normally closed to the public, will be open on Sunday, November 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. for Fall Foliage walks sponsored by the Springfield Environmental Commission.

This is a rare chance to get to go on the other side of the fence and see the Quarry, which is an ecologically unique wild area in Springfield, located between Rt.78 and Mount View Rd.  Its trails lead to a deep basin and to a beautiful pond where wild turkeys, foxes, coyotes and colorful migrating birds have been spotted.  

The Quarry is an important 170-acre greenway linking Briant Park, Hidden Valley Park, and Watchung Reservation. Basalt, a hard-black volcanic rock, was once quarried here, and crushed to make gravel for road construction.  The site is owned by Union County Parks.

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Alyson Miller, Chair of the Springfield Environmental Commision, reminded potential participants that “The Quarry Walk is a once a year event. There is no other access to this pristine natural area. One of the highlights comes at the bottom of the Quarry where there is a pond and a tunnel under I-78.”

The Houdaille Quarry has been through many incarnations, beginning as part of a vast lava flow from an ancient volcano and continuing to its more modern use as a site for mining rock and gravel used for road building. Part of the site is now used as the Union County leaf composting facility serving ten county communities. Another section is used by the Union County Model Airplane Club for constructing and flying model airplanes.

The annual Quarry Hike offers a guided 90-minute tour of the area. Appropriate clothing including long pants, long-sleeved shirts and jackets as well as sturdy walking shoes is suggested. This vigorous walk is not for young children (under age seven) or anyone who is physically compromised. No children’s strollers are permitted.

The entrance to the Quarry is located on Mountview Road off Shunpike Road in Springfield, NJ.  Parking is on Mountview Road with some availability inside the gates.

For more information, please contact Mary Feldman, Springfield Environmental Commission at 908.239.2358 or marylfeldman@icloud.com

The Springfield Environmental Commission works with the Township of Springfield and its citizens to educate and advocate for positive changes to our environment and plays a significant role in municipal master planning, land use ordinance development and site plan reviews. The Commission sponsors several annual events including the Houdaille Quarry Walk, Clean Community Day and an Arbor Day Tree Giveaway.

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