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Park Commission Press Releases

Happy 50th Great Swamp!
MORRISTOWN, NJ – Right in your own backyard, there is a unique gateway between true wilderness and civilization. Celebrating its 50th year, the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center located in Chatham Township, which almost became an airport, is inviting the public on Saturday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to enjoy this unique ecosystem through a myriad activities. There will be live animal shows, music, guided tours, nature games, displays, and hands-on educational activities to entertain all ages.

In 1959, forces were conspiring to pave over large swaths of the Great Swamp to create an international airport. Area residents formed the Great Swamp Committee to save this unique ecosystem. As part of this effort, the Morris County Park Commission purchased approximately 45 acres on the eastern end of the swamp in 1963, and allowed NJ Audubon staff to give tours, raising awareness to protect the area. Today, the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center hosts thousands of people annually to teach them what could have been lost and what remains to be accomplished.

Did you know, for example, that one critical feature of the Great Swamp is that its five streams, Upper Passaic River, Black Brook, Great Brook, Loantaka Brook, and Primrose Brook, all drain into the Passaic River, a resource that provides over one million people with drinking water? And so consequently, the quality of water in the watershed affects the quality of the Passaic River.

Today the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center hosts school and scout tours, and offers programs such as Lenape Day, Maple Sugar Festival, Baby & Me Hikes, summer camp programs, and much more.

For more information, please visit

### The Morris County Park Commission, the largest park system in the state of New Jersey, currently protects and maintains 18,600 acres at 38 distinct sites and a year-round calendar of events and activities.