New Jersey Butterfly Sites

White Lake Natural Resource Area

by Wade Wander

County: Warren.

Municipality: Hardwick Township.

Directions: From Route 80 east or west: Get off at Exit 12 and take Route 521 north for about 4 miles to a T intersection. Turn left (south) on combined Routes 94 and 521. Proceed a short distance to traffic light and make a reflex angled right onto the continuation of Route 521. Proceed about 3 miles to the large parking lot on right. Look for long white fence. From the north, the parking lot is about 3 miles south of the town of Stillwater.

Parking: Yes. Large limestone chip lot on County Route 521 opposite the recently restored historic Vass stone farmhouse. Smaller lot by restored barn at intersection of Routes 521 and 629 (just south of large lot).

Nearest sizable town: Blairstown, at the intersection of routes 94 and 521 (about 3 miles south of White Lake), has gas stations, a food market, and restaurants.

Habitats: Dry to wet limestone meadows, and deciduous and coniferous (mostly Eastern Hemlock) forests that surround a large marl lake.

Maintained/Marked trails: Yes. Easy to moderate. Some sections can be wet.

Restrooms: Yes. One portable at large parking lot.

Picnic tables: No.

Notable species: Giant Swallowtail, Juniper Hairstreak, Meadow Fritillary, American Snout, Viceroy, Hackberry Emperor, Tawny Emperor, Northern Pearly-eye, Common Checkered-Skipper.

Best time to visit: Anytime from May to October.

Exploring White Lake Natural Resource Area: Park in the large parking lot and walk the mowed grassy trails through the meadows on both sides of the entrance road. The trail on the south side leads to a field at a restored barn. These open areas have the greatest diversity of butterflies. Woodland trails have fewer butterflies but this is where you will see N. Pearly-eye, Emperors, anglewings, Red-spotted Purple, and (sometimes) American Snout can be found perched on the limestone chip entrance road and parking lot. Trail on east side leads to impressive marlworks ruins, and a lakeside fen.

White Lake Natural Resource Area is also a good place for birds and wildflowers. Weekends can be busy on the lake, though very few non-butterfliers venture onto the trails.

Special precautions: Ticks, and mosquitoes and biting flies (the last 2 primarily in and near woods) are present in season, and bears inhabit the wooded sections of the property.

You might also want to visit: Dark Moon Preserve, Ferlas Pond.

To view a larger map, click on 'View larger map' icon in upper right hand corner. (Tip: The satellite view may also suggest good potential butterfly habitat to explore.)

White Lake NRA Meadow

White Lake NRA meadow.

White Lake NRA Main Lot

White Lake NRA main lot.

White Lake NRA Barn

White Lake NRA barn.