Peckman Trail

June 2nd, 2018 Peckman River Cleanup
To participate in upcoming events please contact us at

Every year we host a Peckman River & Woods cleanup at the trail behind F. N. Brown Elementary School, located at 125 Grove Ave. In past years this event was organized by the VEC as part of the NJ Clean Communities Clean Water Challenge. Volunteers work cleaning the river and woods, restoring the trails, and pulling out invasive plants. Usually we remove lots of garbage, pull out pipes, lamps, lead acid batteries, cans, bottles, plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, and tons of invasive Japanese knotweed! A big thank you to everyone who donate their time and energy to keep Verona green. 
Sing-Up Here: Cleanup participants are required to sign a waiver, also available at the cleanup. Parents must sign waivers for minors under 18. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. To participate please contact the VEC at - The trail it's great for dog walkers, hikers and bikers. Everybody should stay on the trails to protect plants and avoid ticks and poison ivy. The Peckman Trail is maintained by the VEC and community volunteers. Here is our NEW 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