GREEN BANK STATE FOREST
Green Bank State Forest is a mesmerizing oasis of tranquility and natural beauty. This sprawling forest, with its lush green canopy, offers a harmonious blend of diverse ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and captivating trails. As sunlight filters through the towering trees, a symphony of bird songs fills the air, luring nature enthusiasts with promises of explorations and adventures. From well-maintained hiking trails that wind through verdant woods to the enchanting sounds of babbling brooks and the vivid spectacle of wildflowers carpeting the forest floor in spring, Green Bank State Forest never fails to captivate all who venture within its embrace.
1. Early Inhabitants: Before European settlers arrived, the Lenape Native Americans inhabited the land encompassing present-day Green Bank State Forest. They relied on the forests for hunting, fishing, and gathering resources for their daily needs.
2. European Settlement: The area was settled by European colonists in the late 17th century. The first European settlers were primarily Dutch and English farmers who homesteaded around Green Bank (a nearby village) and used the forest for timber and hunting.
3. Industrial Period: In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the forest witnessed increased industrial activity. Logging became a prominent industry, supplying timber for various purposes such as construction and shipbuilding. The abundant cedar and oak forests were highly sought after for their quality wood.
4. Green Bank Fire Tower: In the 1930s, as part of the state's fire protection efforts, a fire tower was constructed in the forest. The tower provided an elevated vantage point, enabling forest rangers to spot and respond to wildfires promptly. The tower still stands today and offers visitors stunning panoramic views.
5. Forest Acquisition: In the mid-20th century, the State of New Jersey began acquiring land to establish state forests and parks. Green Bank State Forest was officially established in 1950 when the state purchased the land from private individuals. The area was set aside for recreational use and natural resource conservation.
6. Research and Radio Astronomy: Perhaps the most significant development in Green Bank State Forest's history is the presence of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), established in the 1950s. The NRAO operates the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope. It has contributed to various astronomical breakthroughs, including the discovery of new pulsars and mapping the cosmic microwave background radiation.