The Bunny Bridge of Watchung

The bunny bridge was built so that animals could cross rt 78 and get in and out of Watchung Reservation. The entire concrete bridge is covered with grass, trees and thorn bushes and if you hang around long enough you probably will see deer crossing it. What’s strange is Nike Rd’s access is only a half mile south of there, so why this wasn’t used is beyond me. Perhaps the bunny bridge was built before the Nike base closed?

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9 responses to this post.

  1. […] “The Bunny Bridge of Watchung.” The Lostinjersey Blog. March 19, 2009. https://lostinjersey.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/the-bunny-bridge-of-watchung/ […]

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  2. Posted by Wilton Gray on July 16, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    There are actually two of these bridges, I believe. They were built as a consolation to environmentalists who fought the construction of the freeway through the reservation. Nike was at the stables and the silos are under the soccer field of the high school on top of the ridge.There were numerous other bases circumventing NYC as there were in many cities across the country.

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  3. I just visited the bunny bridge and Nike Rd. yesterday.

    I found it very odd that the Nike Road bridge was emblazoned with a “1985” stamp, because the Nike base was deactivated in 1962, so I can’t imagine there was much use for the Nike Road after that time.

    But this section of I-78 wasn’t completed until 1986, so of course there was no need for a bridge before that time. So why build an overpass for an unused road?

    From my understanding— I think the Nike Road bridge was ALSO intended as a Watchung wildlife crossing for I-78. That would also explain the foliage lining the sides of the bridge. Wildlife probably doesn’t pay a lot of attention to where the good road crossings are, so you’d want to give them as many opportunities as possible to cross.

    I guess it’s paved so that people *could* use it as a maintenance road if they wanted to… but when I visited (April 2012), there were a lot of trees blocking the road, presumably from Hurricane Irene (August 2011) and the Halloween blizzard (October 2011). It’s not at all passable by vehicular traffic at the moment, and if these logs have been lying around for months, they’re clearly not in any hurry to remove them.

    (Also: I’d never heard of the “bunny bridge” until I read this post a few months ago; you write great stuff, and I reference your blog a lot! Thank you!)

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  4. Posted by The Pale Scot on July 31, 2009 at 12:07 AM

    You seemed to be a little mixed up about the Reservation’s recent history, but you put labels on some landmarks that we never knew what to call. Back in in my teenage hippy days my buddies and I would dose and spend the weekend wandering around barefoot wearing nothing but nylon shorts and carrying knapsacks of mescal.

    I believe that the Nike site is located where the stables now reside. At least that’s where the tubes were, there could have been a C&C center on top of the Berkley Ridges. In the late 70’s early 80s Rt.78 had not yet been completed and people still lived in the Deserted Village (They were renters). The reservation was was the focus of a two decade long battle over the plans to run 78 through it. It was a wonderful refuge before that happened. There was a one lane macadam roadway which ran down the from the Berkley ridge into Glenside Ave near the village. We use to run anything with wheels down it as fast as possible and skate across Glenside with the wheels locked. it didn’t seem to lead to nothing but overgrowth, I bet that’s what your calling the base road.

    The small pond you call Hermit’s is an Artesian well that must have been made when the place was farmed as a water source. Long ago I met an old timer who hiked down with a couple of water jugs to fill them up, he was the one who showed me the well, it against the west side of the pond, it use to be accessible but was very over grown last time I was there a decade or so ago. Before 78 came thru the water was first rate. the fellow told me he had been going there since the 1930’s, and that Glenside road was gravel until the late 50’s.

    What I’d like to to take note of is the terrible condition of the reservation, it was once a really wonderful wildlife refuge, but the deer population has destroyed it. The East slopes above the pond were once filled with blackberry and blueberry thickets, and the ravine road was lined with honeysuckle 8 feet tall, Red Tail hawks and Great Horned Owls nested there along with menagerie of songbirds that lived on the variety of vegetation. Red foxes lived there also.

    In the mid 80’s along with 78 being completed the deer and other species seem to have made an adjustment to living next to people. the first thing I noticed was when I was weedwacking a commercial property I kept hitting infant bunnies (No injuries), later that year two deer ran thru my back yard, I live 5 miles away from the res. and it was the middle of summer so it wasn’t a starvation issue, they just don’t give a f*ck anymore. last time I was in the ‘Chungs the bushes were gone, the woods were silent and the browse line was visible throughout the park. All because the Yuppies moving in didn’t want to hurt Bambi, for the sake of one specie that has now become a disease vector (Lyme disease) more than 50 others were eliminated. It’s a shame, we need to run a wolf pack thru there, and if some poodles or baby Yuppies get run down, o’well…

    The place is just being left to decay. the deer should be removed and the south western slope controlled burn to remove all tangle-growth.

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  5. The bridge and road that leads to the old Nike base goes right up behind Governer Livingston high school which sits atop the hill. One of my friends who went to the school said that he saw the road used once when an ambulence came to pick someone up (probably like 8 or 9 years ago.) I don’t think it’s used anymore however as it’s gotten really overgrown at the top.

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  6. […] Reservation is home the bunny bridge and also was home to a Nike […]

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  7. Posted by Marti on March 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    Love the site. I just found something you wrote about the Watchung Reserve and was looking for directions. Went there a few times before but it was hard to find. Then I found your amazing site!!! How lucky I am! This is incredibly interesting and I cant wait to forward it to all my friends!! Keep up the great work!! Thank you

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