Round Valley Recreation Area
Where Your NJ Skydiving Experience Comes Full Circle
Just a fifteen-minute drive from Alexandria Field, you will find one of New Jersey’s secret treasures: Round Valley Recreation Area. RVRA offers an array of traditional park amenities, and is open year round. Entry fees are reasonable, and apply between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.
The RVRA park includes camping areas, hiking trails, picnic facilities, and playgrounds. Visitors can enjoy seasonal activities throughout the park, including hunting, fishing, boating, and swimming.
From birders to fisherpersons to photographers, Round Valley is a mecca for wildlife aficionados and nature lovers of every stripe. The adjacent Cushetunk Moutain Preserve, for example, is home to nesting pair of majestic bald eagles. The scenic, nine-mile Cushetank Trail should top your “must do” list during your visit.
As if the scenic trails and wildlife photography opportunities were not enough, RVRA features one amenity that makes the adventurer’s heart beat just a little faster. . .
One of the most compelling draws of Round Valley for adventure enthusiasts involves diving. This type of diving doesn’t involve an airplane or a parachute, however.
One of the park’s most prominent features is its trout-stocked, 2000-acre reservoir. The state’s deepest lake at an average of about 180 feet, the Round Valley Reservoir was established in the mid twentieth century when a small town in the valley was intentionally flooded to facilitate its creation.
Though homes were moved or demolished prior to the flooding of the valley, the foundations of at least two of those homes remain. Those structures are still there today – submerged in the deep, sparkling waters of the reservoir, awaiting a visit from the next intrepid explorer.
Diving at the RVR is not advised for amateurs. However, if you are a skilled diver, you may enjoy exploring the ruins of the “town under the lake”. The professionals at scubadiving.com have provided some excellent guidance for RVR dives. They strongly recommend that divers apprise rangers of their dive plans and that they turn in any artifacts they may recover.
A Taste of History
For history buffs, the opportunity to discover the story behind RVRA is compelling. Beneath These Waters, written by local historian, author, and long-time resident Stephanie B. Stevens is a comprehensive exploration of the area including its geological formation, Native American roots, use during the Revolutionary War, and more recent history. Stevens uses text, photographs, maps, and illustrations to bring the history of Round Valley to life on the page. Her book is available for a nominal fee through the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission.