My interest in Brightwood began in the mid 80’s when I received my first copy of Noel Taylor’s book about the park. As an avid nature photographer, after reading the book I said to myself “no way are there that many different types of wild flowers up there”. I took this as a challenge to find as many of the different wild flowers that were mentioned in Noel Taylor’s book. For the next few years, and to date, I began searching the park in all four seasons for as many of the different wild flowers I could find. With my camera loaded with Kodachrome, I was pleasantly surprised to find many of the flowers mentioned in the book. The park at that time was in a “very natural” condition; it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the town decided to make “minimal imposing improvements” to the park. Those improvements involved clear cutting of habitat, and mowing down of many wild flowers along the narrow footpaths. In 2001 I sent a letter to the recreation department stating the improvements being implemented by the DPW was in fact eliminating the natural environment. At that time, 2005, I got involved with a group we started called B.I.G, Brightwood Improvement Group. We, at the time, met with the mayor and DPW manager several times to discuss our concerns for the park. I had worked with my employer and the Rahway River Shed Association, 2009, to get a grant to make the suggested improvement to the park around the pond area only. These improvements would eliminate the invasive plants and be replaced with deer resistant and native to the area plantings. The town DPW manager at this time decided his people could maintain the park. That was the end of outside involvement to correct the park and keep it as a natural sanctuary. To date, many of the wild flowers I had photographed over the years are now no longer to be found. Much of the habitat has been removed or trampled. Much of this is due to not having knowledge of the parks natural environment during the“maintaining”of the park. The park is still a great place to visit any time of year for a peaceful stroll or viewing the wild life. The spring and fall are my favorite times of year.
John Linderman, Tom Mann, Nicole Chartrain, Denise Ricci
We Would Love to Have You Visit Soon!