The Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve might just be Montclair’s best hidden spot. This 21-acre wildlife preserve is a majestic nature sanctuary full of trees, streams, native plants, and walking paths. Read on to learn about Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve in Montclair.
All About the Wildlife Preserve
In the 1970s, residents petitioned for the area to be preserved and it went under the protection of the New Jersey Green Acres program. The area was eventually established as the Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve in 1974. The preserve was combined from Pearl Brook Park and several resident land plots.
Two of the largest contributors to the project were town commissioner Richard Bonsal (1920-2006) and his mother Jennie Bonsal (1894-1979) who donated $35,000 (roughly $264,000 today). This action helped to finalize the plans for the project and allowed for the area to be named after Richard’s father and Jane’s husband Alonzo F. Bonsal (1895-1966).
The Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve is accessible from 23 Riverview Drive West in Montclair and the southmost point of Daniels Drive in Clifton. The Friends of Bonsal are stewards of the preserve and work to conserve it. They partner with volunteers and school groups to educate, maintain, and clean up the area.
The preserve is perfect for nature lovers and those looking for a nice walk or run. Make sure to stay on the trails! Leashed dogs are welcome, too. Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve is open from dawn to dusk. Check out the group’s Facebook page to stay updated with special events and news.