Posts filed under ‘General’
Courses are not always bastions of biodiversity. Covering about 40,000 acres of New Jersey, golf courses are an important part of the landscape, and these days course managers are getting serious about their role as land stewards.
Crystal Springs Golf Resort is comprised of seven public courses in Sussex County. The courses were carved from farmland, forests, limestone ridges, and spring-fed wetlands – hallmarks of the New Jersey Skylands. As those habitats get whittled away by development, the remaining lands become ever more critical to the survival of wildlife and the health of our soils, water, and air.
The Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) is designed to help us all make effective land management choices for wildlife – whether we have postage-stamp backyards, larger suburban lots, or responsibility for hundreds of acres.
Crystal Springs falls on the larger end of that spectrum, and they’ve been tackling the laundry list of WAP actions to keep their holdings alive with wildlife both common and rare. At their Ballyowen course in Hardyston, for example, Crystal Springs maintains a mosaic of “no-mow” grassland amongst the golf greens. In 2006 they also planted native warm-season grasses in an adjacent farm field. As well as reducing labor and adding to the course’s Celtic flair, these areas provide a combined 60 acres of shelter, nesting, and foraging grounds for grassland birds like the bobolink (a threatened species), which are now regular residents at Ballyowen.
Two other courses contain large wetland areas that are home to rare species. With help from state and federal agencies, Crystal Springs has plugged old agricultural ditches that had drained wetlands for decades, removed invasive plants that were choking their open “emergent” habitats, and planted a small woodland buffer around an amphibian breeding pool. Work is ongoing to safeguard habitat for bog turtles, a federally listed species with a special stronghold in northwestern NJ.
Most recently, Crystal Springs offered up 600+ acres of forest land for bat habitat and research. Crystal Springs has a mix of forests, floodplains, and wetlands that is attractive to forest bats like the federally endangered Indiana myotis, who roost and raise their young under the bark of dead or dying trees. An assortment of artificial roosts were installed in one section of forest this fall as part of a pilot project, and Crystal Springs staff will be girdling select trees to provide a greater array of natural roosting options for bats.
While they could have taken a much different tack, Crystal Springs’ ownership and staff have embraced their role as endangered species caretakers. Superintendent Brad Sparta and grounds manager Craig Worts deserve special kudos for moving these projects along. A number of partners have provided guidance and funding, including the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, GoNative! consulting, Audubon International, and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation.
Check out the things you can do for wildlife in your area: www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/waphome.htm. Or contact us to feature your project!
Hello, hello! I should introduce myself — I’m Heather, aka “The New Girl.” Keep checking back as I take you with me while I tour the Resort at Crystal Springs!
I’m nearing my second full week here and discovering new places every day. As I continue touring the property I find myself constantly impressed by the sheer size of it all. Really, if you want it — it’s here! Amazing.
I will say, of all the places I’ve visited so far, the Candy Shoppe at Grand Cascades Lodge is at the top of my “Wow, that’s awesome,” list.
Chocolates and candies line the walls and the sweet smell is absolutely divine. It was hard to resist getting myself a bag of the chocolate and toffee covered pretzels!
Next time you’re in the area — as a guest of the resort or just driving through — it is definitely worth a stop in. The towers of lollipops and rows of delicious treats are enough to maky anyone’s mouth water. Trust me.
Check back soon for more “behind the scenes” action as I learn the ropes at Crystal Springs!
Hi! It’s Natasha here.
Welcome to our new blog which I’ll be updating to keep you in the know about what is going on here at Crystal Springs Resort.
I will be giving you a behind the scenes look at some of our operations, expert tips and advice from members of our team such as recipes from our Executive Chef, wine suggestions from our Wine Director, golf tips from our pros, and stress relief and skin care advice from our Spa Director. I will also be sharing news about upcoming events, posting pictures from recent events, sharing funny stories, and announcing contests, new packages, and more! Feel free to post any questions, comments or suggestions to me at any time or check up with us on Facebook, Flickr,
YouTube or Twitter too!
Talk to you soon!