Pan reserves – Ledgewood, New Jersey

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I bought my current property, located in Ledgewood, NJ, about 5 years
ago. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it because of the stream that runs right
through it, and also the gentle slope that rises up beyond the brook. It’s only slightly
over half an acre in size, including the side of the stream on which my house is located.
I like my property for two reasons. One is the obvious natural beauty of it, and the other
is that it has some minor local historical significance. Just off my property is the
remains of a stone dam from a turn of the (last) century gristmill. The stream that now
runs through my property once powered the gristmill. Photos from those days show the area
was quite deforested compared to today. I’m told many trees were cut to fuel the many
foundries in the area.
I’m glad to see we have a lot of trees once again. When I first moved in, I found that the
slope at the back of my property had been used as a dumping ground for many years. Once I
was settled in, I made it a point to clean it up. I dragged out bottles, an old mattress,
an old washing machine, fencing, toys and nearly enough automobile parts to assemble an
entire car. I found a lot of ancient bottles that I thought were really cool, so I kept
them. My local historical committee was so impressed with the work I did that they later
gave me an award for ‘fixing up’ my historical house. It was ironic, because I have done
little to the house itself, but I guess my work on the land impressed them. Since then,
the property requires very little maintenance.
There are often waterfowl in the stream, and occasionally a tall, graceful blue heron
struts through. A woodchuck lives on the other side of the stream, and I often see deer.
Neighbors tell me there are black bears about, but I have yet to see one.
I’ve officially been a Pan for only a few months now, although I think I’ve been one in
spirit my whole life. When I saw that others were dedicated their land as natural Pan
preserves, I realized that I had already done so, I just hadn’t made it official. I don’t
think my land is special enough for anyone to journey far to reach it, but anyone passing
through the area is welcome to drop by.

Rick Bamford

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