- During the early 1960's, the Great Swamp was threatened by a 10,000 acre jetport proposed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. An unprecedented alliance of concerned citizens known as the Great Swamp Committee, worked to halt the construction of the jetport. Their efforts resulted in the 1960 establishment of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Refuge Wilderness Area. Designation of the Refuge's Wilderness Area in 1968 was the first ever in the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Swamp woodland, hardwood ridges, cattail marshes, grasslands, ponds and meandering streams characterize this 7,400 acre National Wildlife Refuge. In 1966 the refuge was designated as a Registered National Natural Landmark because of it being an exceptional example of natural history in the United States.
The Refuge has many large oak and beech trees, some stands of mountain laurel, and species of other plants of both northern and southern botanical zones. It supports more than 220 species of birds (including one of the largest breeding populations of eastern bluebirds in the state); 39 species of reptiles and amphibians; 29 species of fish; 33 species of mammals; and, approximately 600 species of plants (including 215 species of wildflowers). Additionally, 26 of these species are listed by the State of New Jersey as being threatened or endangered, including the bog turtle, wood turtle and blue-spotted salamander.
Recreation - This oasis of wilderness, surrounded by urban and suburban areas, provides important habitats to fish and wildlife and a unique opportunity for the public to enjoy wildlife and wilderness within close proximity to urban centers.
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge lies 26 miles west of New York City's Time Square and seven miles south of Morristown, New Jersey in Morris County.