We’ve had a lot of questions about what all has been going on while we’ve been quiet over the remainder of 2018 and 2019, and we’d like to update you on what’s been going on with regards to the site in this post. We have a lot to get everyone caught up to date about, and we’ve been delayed due to numerous events outside of our control, but thank you so much for your support over the winter and excitement about the Reservoir already this spring season! Below are answers to our most asked questions:
What happened to all the trees?
Between December 10th and December 12th, 2018, the city removed trees along the edge of the wall following historic guidelines for preservation. A majority of these trees were previously cut in 2015 and had resprouted. The remainder of the trees removed predominantly consisted of sick, dead, or non native trees such as Black Locust and Mulberry that had been negatively impacting the native flora and fauna.
The stumps that remain now have had holes drilled into them, which have been salted as a method of stump removal. The stumps are to be removed at a later date so that installation of a fence to protect visitors and the site may commence. We hope the city can help us find funds to place an appropriate perimeter fence that does not negatively the architectural aesthetic of the ashlar basalt walls.
Native grasses, small trees, and small shrubs are recommended to be planted along this section of the perimeter of the outer rim of the Reservoir. By using native plantings, native birds, insects, and other wildlife will be more encouraged to take refuge in the Reservoir. Long-term, this will be the best option to preserve the natural biodiversity of this area.
Why is the Red Gate not open?
There has been rumor that we have not opened that side due to a shortage of volunteers. While we are always asking for more volunteers as we have no paid staff, we have elected not to open the Red Gate as it will have to be closed as the season progresses, and so it was decided that we focus on just our main entrance on Jefferson Avenue this year.
Thanks to everyone’s support last year, the City is moving forward with acquiring funding to improve the safety of the site beyond the wall repairs and fencing improvements. This includes work on the three buildings located within the site- the Screen House (known by many as “the tower”), and the two Gatehouses. The Water Gatehouse at Troy Street and Summit is located directly across from the Red Gate, and first targeted for renovations. Due to construction we will no longer be able to use the Red Gate. As construction moves forward, portions of the upper trail will also have to be blocked off for everyone’s safety, which we will announce as the need arises.
Will there be kayaking this year again?
We can’t say much yet, but we’re working on something exciting- keep your fingers crossed! If you’d like to get involved, you can sign up to volunteer and specify your interest in expanding kayaking programming, donate towards our insurance bills (they use up most of our budget), or contact us about building a secure wooden rack for our kayaks. We also are on the lookout for a secure job box donation that could store our paddles and lifevests.
What’s going on with fishing?
It’s a bit confusing, but fishing is actually not run by the JCRPA at all! The fishing program is run by the City of Jersey City. It starts up again every Saturday beginning today, April 27 from 10am-3pm as well as every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3pm to 7:30pm. Fishing will be closed on Sundays and Wednesdays, and the Reservoir will be entirely closed on Wednesdays with the exception of special events. The JCRPA will have the Reservoir open on Sundays as volunteers are available. Check back with the Department of Recreation for specifics, but this year we will try to keep a schedule of the fishing hours on our Events calendar as well so that you’re fully up to date on all Reservoir openings!