The Burnt Mills Floodplain Preserve lies along Burnt Mills Road, just past its intersection with Milnor Road. Parking is available in a crushed stone pull-off area adjacent to the Burnt Mills Road bridge crossing the Lamington River. The preserve supports diverse wildlife, including great blue herons, long-tailed salamanders, red shouldered hawks, barred owls and freshwater mussels. It is open daily to the public and is enjoyed by fishermen, kayakers/canoeists, walkers, photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Plan Your Visit
Learn About Burnt Mills Floodplain
The Burnt Mills Floodplain Preserve was established on December 21, 1989 when Ken & Yvonne Schley and Anne & Floyd Stradling deeded three parcels of land totaling 11.32 acres to the Upper Raritan Watershed Association (now RHA). The parcels had been in the Schley family and were bequeathed to Ken and Anne in 1944 upon the death of their father, Kenneth B. Schley. A grist mill was built on the floodplain shortly after the Civil War, and was taken down by Mr. Schley after he purchased the property in 1928. Its ruins still sit on the site today, adding historical interest to the preserve.
The preserve, on the Lamington River near the confluence of the North Branch, supports diverse wildlife including great blue herons, long-tailed salamanders, red shouldered hawks, barred owls, and freshwater mussels, including the threatened triangle floater (Alasmidonta undulate). Each spring, under a canopy of sycamore, black cherry and ash, Virginia bluebells carpet the forest floor – a sight not to be missed!
The preserve, on the Lamington River near the confluence of the North Branch, supports diverse wildlife.
Unfortunately, another plant also awaits springtime visitors – the Lesser celandine, a small yellow buttercup-like flower, is an invasive plant that is spreading across the site. Lesser celandine spends much of the year underground as thickened, fingerlike tubers or underground stems. During the winter, leaves begin to emerge and photosynthesize in preparation for flowering. Flowering occurs from late winter through mid-spring, and afterwards, the above-ground portions die back. The plant spreads primarily through abundant tubers and bulblets, each of which is ready to become a new plant once separated from the parent plant. The tubers of Lesser celandine are prolific and may be unearthed and scattered by the digging activities of some animals, including well-meaning weed pullers, and transported during flood events. It is difficult, but not impossible, to control invasive plants like Lesser celandine, and we are committed to stopping its spread.
The preserve has been part of New Jersey’s Green Acres tax exemption program since 1990, and as is the case with all of our preserves, the Burnt Mills Floodplain is open to our members and the public for passive recreational purposes. The preserve is used by fishermen, photographers, walkers, kayakers/canoeists (the Lamington River is accessible here) and people who simply enjoy observing the natural world.
Stewardship projects here include invasive plant surveying and removal, as well as litter removal by local Scout troops and other members of the community. Annual site surveys are also performed.
Ways to get involved!