Overpeck Creek County Park
by Nancy Passow
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Apparently, herding kayakers and canoers is even harder than herding cats. We started out with 15 boats -- 12 kayaks and 3 canoes. As you will see in the photos, we set out from the put-in in the new part of Overpeck Creek County Park (for directions on how to get to the park, see the link below; once you've entered the park from Challenger Rd., you drive to the end of the road, almost to Ft. Lee Rd., and park in the lot on the right.) We crossed under Ft. Lee Rd. and headed north where we saw swallows, egrets, and a night heron.
At that point, we were supposed to turn around, go back under Ft. Lee Rd., and head south. However, about half the group went to the left, under the NJ Turnpike bridge, through the county golf course, and almost to Rte. 4 (where I hear the water was very dirty and yucky.) I do not recommend paddling there unless you're wearing a hard hat as the golfers do hit their balls across the creek (or at least they hope their golf balls go across the creek.) Perhaps someone on that part of the trip will write a trip report about their adventures.
A few of us did head south and paddled just past the equestrian center (on the east side of the creek) and back. Eight of us then had a picnic lunch at a nice shady picnic bench near the put-in. After lunch, Nancy and Phil paddled south to the Rte. 46 bridge and back.
Nancy (semi-trip coordinator)
Mike Passow's 7/15/10 scouting report:
Many of you read about the opening of the New Overpeck Creek park. It's accessible from Challenger Blvd in Ridgefield Park, near Rt. 46. (Eventually, there will be another entrance off Ft. Lee Rd in Leonia, which is much closer to the put in, but it's not opened yet.)
The put-in is at the north end of the park, where there is parking for about 25 cars and a building that has restrooms. There is a floating dock, which might be suitable for canoes, but is much too high for kayaks. However, there is a crushed rock access right next to the ramp, so no problem for kayakers. No parking spot in more than about 100 ft from the water.
This morning, I went straight down the creek for about 1-1/2 mi, under Rt. 46 and almost to the NJ Turnpike. There are tide gates barring access to the waters near the PSE&G powerplant. So basically, it a long lake with deep enough water in the middle and muddy edges. The new section (west side) is nicely landscaped. On the older (east) side, there are places where erosion has exposed the layers of the landfill, Some covering vegetation would be welcomed, but I don't think the County Park people are too concerned, and it's not a major problem.
There is a second ramp and dock in the new park area, but getting to it requires a long (more than 500 ft) walk down a sloping pedestrian path. I didn't check out where the parking is up top. I'm not sure why they thought this was a good idea.
Going out from the put-in and to the left (east), it's possible to go under Ft. Lee Rd. and paddle another 3/4 mi or so northward, next to the original Leonia section of the park. . Much of the time, this will be good, but there is a model airplane club on the west side, and boaters should stay out of the area--their crazier than we are!
Hope this is helpful. It's worth a check-out. Nancy and I will try to find a date for an evening club paddle.
Mike Passow's 7/16/10 scouting report:
This morning (Friday), I went back again and paddled into the northern section by going under Fort Lee Road. It looks like the model airplane club may no longer be there, as plants have overgrown their viewing area in front of the building. Tom DeAngelis wrote to say he saw a chained fence on the roadway into the area.
The northern area in the early morning had at least 2 great blues and 5 egrets, plus one snapper who was not happy about my proximity. I didn't have a chance to check it thoroughly, but I think it has silted in at the far end. However, there's a good 1/3-mile available.
Our tax dollars paid for it, so now let's enjoy them!