Peckman Trail

June 1, 2019 Peckman Cleanup (Tentative)
To participate please contact the Commission at
  • Event: Annual Peckman River and Woods Cleanup
  • Date/Time: Saturday June 1, 2019 - 9 am to 12 noon (Arrive at 9 am)
  • Location: View Map - Volunteers will meet at the trail entrance behind F.N. Brown Elementary School field (125 Grove Ave., Verona, NJ). Enter by school driveway.
  • Details: We will work cleaning up the Peckman River and adjacent woods and trails.
  • Volunteers: all ages and abilities are welcome. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.  
  • Waiver: Everybody is required to sign a waiver at the event or fill the form here and bring it to the event. Children under 18 must have parent or guardian signature. 
Peckman Trail: The Peckman River in Verona is part of the important Passaic River watershed. In 2014, the VEC began a restoration of the woods by the river with an intensive cleanup. Volunteers removed debris and invasive plants. They also hauled out a boiler, wire fencing, bed springs and pipes. The work earned the VEC a $1,400 grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC), which it used to buy and plant new native trees and shrubsThe Peckman Trail is maintained by the VEC and community volunteers. The trail is used as an outdoor discovery environment at F.N. Brown elementary School, and can be used by the general public for walking, dog walking and light bike riding.  Everybody should stay on the trails to protect plants and avoid ticks and poison ivy. Below is the trail's map and you can do a virtual tour in this VEC video.

Volunteers Clean The Peckman!
The Verona Environmental Commission organizes community cleanups of the Peckman river and woods every year. The environmental clubs from Verona High School and Montclair University are among the participants that help make this event a success.

Many volunteers donate their time to take care of the woods adjacent to the Peckman River,  helping to keep our waterways and trails safe and healthy for wildlife and for people. You can see pictures of our events HEREThe Peckman Trail entrance is located behind F. N. Brown School, at 125 Grove Ave. in Verona, New Jersey.

  • Hikers come across deer and often see rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, beaver, groundhogs, raccoons, woodchuck and an occasional fox or coyote. 
  • Almost 90 different species of mammals live in New Jersey. 
  • White and blue herons are commonly found in or near rivers and canals. 
  • The Red Cardinal can be seen everywhere in the state. 
  • The State Bird of New Jersey is the colorful American Goldfinch.
  • NJ is an important stopover for bird migration along the East Coast and home to over 400 different species of birds. 
  • The states official bald eagle count now stands at almost 300. 
  • 36 different species of frogs, 
  • salamander, and toad live in NJ.
  • The most colorful and well known frog in NJ is the Pine Barrens Tree Frog.
  • Bullfrogs that grow up to six inches are found throughout the state.
  • NJ is home to 43 different species of snakes, turtles, and lizards. 
  • The Northern black racer and black rat snake are the state's largest snakes at over 6 feet. The Northern copperhead and timber rattlesnake are two venomous snakes found in NJ.
  • The Snapping Turtle is the largest and most common turtle in NJ: they grow to over 20 inches.
  • Rivers carry catfish, trout, shad, striper and muskellunge. Its lakes are known for bass, pickerel, sunfish, and carp. Thousands of ponds, lakes and rivers, provide ample habitat for 134 species of freshwater fish in NJ.
The Peckman River
It is a tributary of the Passaic River in Essex and Passaic Counties, NJ. The Peckman originates in West Orange and flows northeasterly through Verona, Cedar Grove and Little Falls to its confluence with the Passaic River in Woodland Park. It passes through the Lower Norton Reservoir, before narrowing and terminating in Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange. It has a waterfall and pool, known as Devil's Hole, located in Cedar Grove. As a tributary of the Passaic River, the Peckman River has been the subject of frequently flooding, particularly from the mid-2000's. Recent floods have degraded the ecology of Passaic River Basin, largely as a result of erosion, and the long-term impact seen in watersheds which are heavily urbanized. Moreover, development throughout the region has reduced the drainage capacity of the basin.

VEC Preservation Efforts
The Verona Environmental Commission won an open space grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions to preserve the Peckman trail. The following activities were organized by the VEC:
  • The work began on April 26, 2014 with a trail cleanup. Over 40 volunteers show up and did some grueling work. Japanese knotweed (pictured right) and other invasive plants were dug out, metal fences and pipes were pulled out of the river, a boiler was hauled out of the woods, trails were cleaned up and even the trail entrance got a complete makeover with weeding and mulching.
  • May 31 Planting event: the VEC purchased 6 Ostrich ferns, 2 Serviceberries, 3 River Birches and 3 Swamp White Oaks from a wholesale nursery. VDPW provided compost and tools and delivered the native trees to the site. Over 20 volunteers and 16 kids participated, including girl scout troop #20228. 
  • Summer watering and weeding: the VEC installed watering bags in all trees and filled the bags and pulled weeds every Wednesday, all summer long with help from volunteers. Volunteers used a submersible pump provided by the BOE to water the trees with water from the Peckman River. 
  • New Trail Map and Sign: the VEC produced and placed in the trail a new map that shows the newly planted trees and maintained trails. 
  • September 28 clean up: Fifteen volunteers showed up to remove cans, bottles and even old furniture! Volunteers also cleared a few downed trees, allowing the group to extend the pathway, and continue to pull the invasive Japanese knotweed pictured below.
  • During the Spring of 2015 about 40 volunteers participated in a cleanup, filling over 6 large recycling containers with cans and bottles and several garbage bags. They collected discarded boxes, bricks and large pieces of metal including hauling an old water heater from the river. The trail entrance was mulched and trails were raked and extended. Volunteers also installed a bat box, a Screech owl house and a Bluebird house that the commission purchased with grant money. 

Essex County Native Tree List: 
Red maple, hazel alder, Canadian serviceberry, gray birch, mockernut hickory, American chestnut, hackberry, buttonbush, Atlantic white cedar, hawthorn, persimmon, American beech, smooth winterberry, American holly, common winterberry, eastern redcedar, mountain laurel, northern spicebush, sweetbay, sweet crab apple, northern bayberry, shortleaf pine, pitch pine, swamp cottonwood, black cherry, scarlet oak, dwarf chinkapin oak, chestnut oak, northern red oak, post oak, winged sumac, bristly locust, clammy locust, sassafras and southern arrowwood.
Previous efforts

VHS Students Removed Half a Ton of Trash in 2010. More than 60 Verona High School students participated in the annual Peckman River Clean-Up. Students were assisted by VHS Vice Principal Dave Galbierczyk, former VEC Chairman Jerry Shimonaski and VHS teachers Linda Barone, Jan Korman, Chris Tamburro and Carl CasconeSEE MORE PICTURES HERE