Tillmans Ravine In 1907 the New Jersey Forest and Park Commission purchased 5,432 acres of land in the northwest corner of the state and named it Stokes State Forest in honor of Governor Edward Stokes who had 500 acres. Some of the tracts included in the original purchases were acquired for one dollar per acre. subsequent acquisitions have slowly increased the total land area to it’s present size of over 17,000 acres. Stokes State Forest is managed as a multi-use forest with the primary functions of protecting the natural resources while serving the public at the same time. Within Stokes State Forest lies some of the finest mountain scenery, clearist fresh water streams, and natural scenic areas in new jersey. The area is enriched with history, abounds with a vast diversity of flora and founa, and offers many forms of recreational activities.
Stokes Forest is considered a Temporate Deciduous Forest. Temporate Forests occur thoughout midlatitudes where their is sufficient moisture to support the growth of large trees. These trees drop their leaves before winter, when temperatures are too low for effective photosynthesis and water lost by evaporation is not replaced from frozen soil. Many Temporate Forest mammals also enter a dormant state called hybernation, and some birds fly south to warmer climates. Virtually all the original Deciduous forests in north America were destroyed by logging and land clearing for agriclture and urban development.
This is one of the reasons why Stokes State Forest is such a special place. Within Stokes State Forest is a place called Tillmans Ravine Natural Area. Natural Areas are Defined as areas of land or water which have retained their primeval character, although not necessarily completly natural and undisturbed, or have rare or vanishing species of plant and animal life, or have similar features of interest which are worthy of preservation for the use of visators. This is one of New Jersey’s picturesque natural areas and is visited by thousands of people throughout the year. Taking any one of the trails will lead down to Tillman Brook which originates from a spring in the Kittatinny Mountains to the east. The stream flows swiftly past the massive red shale and sand stone walls that have been carved out by years of erosion.
The tall canopy of eastern hemlock and tulip trees along with spreading Rhododendroms blanket the area in the spring and summer months. Hopefully with New Jerseys strict conservation laws Tillmans Ravine and the rest of Stokes State Forest will be there for future genertions to enjoy. Science.