Montclair Momentum

Hidden Nature Preserve Will Be Restored, With Acres Of Native Trees And Meadows

It took 20 years but the Friends of Bonsal Wildlife Preserve got a huge win when they learned that Clifton had awarded a $240,000 contract to restore the woodlands tucked away behind homes and streets.

“This is a big, arms-in-the-air victory for us,” Friends member Jonathan Grupper said. “We finally get to take a victory lap.” The city accepted a low bid from Clarke Moynihan Landscaping of Andover this month to perform $239,851 in restoration work. The contractor will plant 254 native trees and shrubs and 8,100 square feet of native upland and low meadow seed mix. The hope, Grupper said, is that now they will be able to rectify the damage that has been done to the 30-acre preserve. The preserve straddles the Third River and sits on the Montclair-Clifton border. It was acquired as a Green Acres purchase almost 50 years ago and has long been home to deer, muskrats and other wildlife.