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The History of Camp Taylor Campground
Uploaded 6/13/16

Joe and Aimee Taylor bought the first 127 acres of what would become Camp Taylor in 1953 after the State of New Jersey took 13 acres of their riverfront farm through eminent domain to build Route 46 (now Interstate 80). The land was all wooded. It had been farmed up to about the time of the Great Depression. The last remaining evidence of which was the stone rubble of a house and barn foundation and the many stone rows that once lined the field edges. Joe cleared the old farm lane and the field where the swimming pond is now with an axe as he didn’t own a chainsaw at the time. The swimming pond was built between 1957 and 1958. In 1959, he began building vacation cottages which were first rented in 1960 and Camp Taylor began.

By 1963, the traffic on route 46 which now ran through the front yard of their formerly riverfront farmhouse became so heavy that they bought additional property with a house next to the original land and moved their family of four boys to the mountain.

In the summer of 1964 a family who had heard about Camp Taylor through a mutual friend showed up with a tent and asked if there was a place that they could pitch it for the weekend. And so Camp Taylor became Camp Taylor Campground. We had our first camper before we even had a campsite.

The vacation cottages were created as a way to support the land, and Joe thought that having more campsites to supplement that might be a good idea.

With the help of his four sons, they started building the roads, campsites, and facilities of the campground. The camp office was the front room of the family home, just down mount pleasant road from the current office. During the late 60s and early 70s, they began running electricity and water connections to many of the campsites. As the campground grew and the years passed, the Taylors acquired additional pieces of land adjoining the property. Today the family properties are in excess of 400 acres. Joe and Aimee’s two oldest sons went off to concentrate on other careers coming back to help on their vacations and when they had time. Their third son, Clayton, started managing the campground, working summers and college breaks, building site and adding other facilities like the picnic shelter. In 1976, he left graduate school and started running the family business full time. In 1980, the first section of the current office was completed, providing flush toilets and shower facilities as well as a registration office. Slowly a few items, like tee shirts and candy and eventually camping supplies and souvenirs were added for sale in the office as Clayton’s wife Jean became more involved.

In the early 90s, we started adding rental trailers to a few campsites to give people who didn’t own equipment an opportunity to give camping a try.

In 1997, we were approached by Dan Bacon about moving his wolf preserve from Colorado to our property. The wolf preserve sounded like a great idea so we decided to let them use a portion of our land at no charge and Camp Taylor Campground became the home of the Lakota Wolf Preserve. The following year we added three rustic cabins to the rental units.

The next improvement to the campground was the expansion of the gift shop and the addition of the activity lounge, game room, new shower rooms and family bathroom, which was completed in the fall of 2001.

The rental cabins and trailers were becoming so popular that in the spring of 2013 we added two deluxe cabins which had all of the amenities of the rental trailer but all of the charm of the cabins. We also started renting the first of our glamping tents. The pre-tarped, tent with a regular full sized bed became an instant hit for people who didn’t own, or didn’t want to pack their own tent as well as those who wanted to not quite “rough it” while camping. The next year we added a second tent and last year built platforms to get them off the ground.

This year we have added two more glamping tents and are installing a third deluxe cabin which will be ready to rent sometime this summer.


What to Bring on a Hike and How to Choose a Hike that is Right for You
Uploaded 5/1/2016

 

Hiking is one of the easiest ways to get in touch with nature and get a little exercise at the same time. If you can walk, you can hike, but hiking in the woods is different than taking a stroll through your neighborhood. Here are some tips to make your hike an enjoyable diversion and not an arduous trek.

Pair the weather with the walk. Look at the weather forecast, not just for rain, but for high and low temperature and wind. If it is likely to be hot and humid, look for a short, low impact walk on a shaded trail. Short walks are also great for days when the weather is uncertain. If it starts to rain, you’ll be able to get back to shelter quickly. Cooler, even cold, breezy days are perfect for longer, more strenuous hikes. The exercise will warm you up and the breeze will feel refreshing rather than chilly.

Know your limits. Take into consideration how much exercise you are used to. Keep in mind that a couple miles on a steep, rough trail is as hard or harder than twice that distance on flat, level paths. Be honest with yourself and your group. Research and ask others about the path you plan to take. Is it steep or just hilly? Is it rough trail, or just unpaved? How many miles is the trail? Is it one long trail or can you take another branch and make it shorter if you need to? Try to keep track of where you are on the trail and take a break if you feel the need.

Be prepared! Wearing clothing and footwear appropriate for your hike is also important. Comfortable shoes are a must! Make sure your sneakers have good traction on the bottoms. Has it rained recently? If the trail is going to be muddy, you might not want to wear shoes that will be ruined if they get a little dirty. Rain in the forecast? Consider a poncho tucked in your pack. Dress in layers that pack down easily or can be easily tied around the waist or the shoulders. It might be chilly when you set out, but it gets warmer as the day goes on and you’ll be warming yourself up with exercise so that heavy sweater might become hot instead of cozy. Don’t forget sunblock, especially if you end up taking off layers!

Don’t forget water and snacks. Always bring more water than you think you’ll need. It is heavy, but it’s very important. Depending on the length of the hike, you should plan on at least two bottles of water or more per person. Snacks are also a great idea, but choose them carefully. Bring snacks that will not melt or spoil in the weather. Don’t forget to take any wrappers or lunch bags back with you to keep the trail as natural as possible.

Hike safe. Nature has its own set of perils. Know which plants, animals, and insects to be wary of are in the area you plan to hike. Never feed wildlife. Here in New Jersey, hikers should wear bug repellant, and be cautious of bears and snakes. Black bears can be discouraged by shouting, waving your arms, and using air horns. It is always a good idea to step on a log or rock before stepping over it to avoid stepping on a snake that may be sunning itself on the other side. If you do see a snake, poisonous or otherwise, go around, and leave it alone. In New Jersey, and much of the east coast, it’s a good idea to check each other for ticks periodically. Tuck your pants into your socks to keep insects out.

Communication Considerations. Most everyone carries their cell phones, but if you’re using your phone to take pictures, or if the service in the area is spotty, your battery can die fast. Bring a back up battery or have one of your group power down their phone to conserve their battery. Don’t assume there is cell service. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your whole group knows the name of the park and or trail you plan to be hiking in, just in case. Make sure someone knows where you are hiking and when to expect you back. Even if you intend to be back before dark, having a small lightweight flashlight is always a good idea.

So go on, take a hike! If you’re staying with us here at Camp Taylor, stop in to the office and ask for one of our hiking maps. We’ll be glad to set you on a path to enjoy nature at your own pace.


Seasonal Sites and Why You Might Want One
Uploaded 4/1/16


Have you ever considered a seasonal site? A seasonal site is a campsite you rent for the whole camping season. At Camp Taylor, our season runs from the end of April until the middle of October. During this time, you can leave you unit and equipment set up on the site and come and go as you please- no need to check in or check out. At the end of the season, if you are taking the site for the following year, you can keep your RV on the site over the winter. There’s no need to worry about getting reservations for holiday weekends or for that one night when you just feel like camping. Some of our seasonals don’t even own a tow vehicle or have a driveway to keep their camper. They just have their dealer deliver the unit to the campground. Not towing your unit every weekend saves money on fuel. If you usually only take a few longer trips during the summer, you can still hook up and go, but a seasonal site lets you get the most out of your unit. It makes camping every weekend much more feasible.

When you have a seasonal site, you get to know the other seasonals at your campground. At Camp Taylor, we have seasonals who have met at the campground and remained friends for decades. We have even had children of seasonals who grew up together and eventually married. A seasonal community is that friendly neighbor that waves and smiles as you walk by, a conversation and a cup of coffee by the main office, or a shared beverage by the lake.

Seasonal sites can also make your summer time away more convenient and less stressful. Since almost everything is set up all summer, you can keep most of the stuff you’d usually pack for a camping trip right at your site. All you need to do is get in the car and go. You can just slip away for one day, even leaving right from work to beat that Friday night traffic. A seasonal site makes camping with complicated schedules a little easier too. If one of you has to work, there’s no reason the rest of the family can’t go to camp. We even have some seasonals at Camp Taylor who commute from their campsite during the nicest part of the season.

A seasonal site becomes a home away from home. You quickly become familiar with the area around your campground. No need to haul bags of groceries from home when there is a supermarket just down the road. Local coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs will quickly become familiar favorites. Vacations can be stressful as you try to see everything in a week. When you have a site for the whole season, there is plenty of time to just relax at the campfire without missing out on nearby events and attractions. A seasonal site is really like having a vacation home at your favorite campground.

We still have some seasonal sites available for the 2016 season. This year’s seasonal rates are here. Please give us a call or stop in to see which sites are open and would be the best fit for your unit. See you this summer!


Having a seasonal site makes it easier to settle in and get comfortable as soon as you arrive.

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Making Maple Syrup at Camp Taylor Uploaded 3/22/2016

When you think about real maple syrup, New Jersey is probably not the first place that comes to mind. However, we do have plenty of maple trees and a suitable climate for making maple syrup.

This year, Phil, Clayton, and Josh really committed to our maple syrup operation. The last couple of years, Phil, Clayton’s brother, had tapped about a dozen trees. This year, we tapped ten times that with nearly one hundred and twenty taps. Most of the sugar maples we tapped were on the Taylor Family Tree Farm, where we have an incredibly dense population of maple trees. We did have several trees tapped throughout the campground, as well.

How does tree sap become maple syrup?

There are many kinds of Maple trees, but maple syrup is mostly only made from Sugar Maples or Hard Maples (Acer saccharum) because the sap of this kind of maple has a high sugar content. Syrup can be made from other kinds of trees such as Shagbark Hickory, Walnut, and Black Birch. Sugar Maples in our region are generally tapped mid to late February depending on the weather that season. A tap is a small spout inserted into a hole drilled into a maple tree. This year we used a tube system to connect our trees, though the ones in the campground used the more classic bucket system.

The lines are connected to a main line, which leads into a large tank.
Collection Tank
Then the sap, which looks like water and is just 2-4% sugar, is brought to another tank that feeds the evaporator. Our evaporator is a two stage system.

It is fueled by firewood from the Taylor Family Tree Farm and needs to be fed every 5 to 7 minutes to keep it at the optimal temperature.

Cold filtered sap comes into one side of the first stage of the evaporator, it boils down and becomes more concentrated. This concentrated sap then moves into the second stage, where it is concentrated further. When this highly concentrated sap is ready, it is drawn off and filtered. Then it moves on to a propane stove to be finished and thickened into syrup. The finished syrup is filtered again and bottled hot. This process boils off about 39 gallons of water for every gallon of syrup produced.

Syrup produced early in the season is lighter in color and has a milder, more delicate flavor. Syrup produced later in the season is darker in color and has a stronger maple flavor. Both are delicious!

The syrup produced here is available for sale at the Buck Stop Gift Shop located at Camp Taylor while supplies last. It’s delicious!

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Index of Blog Posts

The History of Camp Taylor Campground Uploaded 6/13/2016

What to Bring on a Hike and How to Choose a Hike that is Right for You Uploaded 5/1/2016

Seasonal Sites and Why You Might Want One Uploaded 4/1/2016

Making Maple Syrup at Camp Taylor Uploaded 3/22/2016

For reservations or more information call us during business hours at:(908) 496-4333
or 1-800-545-9662

Late April to October: Sunday thru Thursday, 9am - 6pm.
Friday & Sat, 9am - 9pm.

November to Late April: Tuesday thru Sunday, 9am - 5pm.
Closed Mondays

Camp Taylor Campground 85 Mt Pleasant Rd Columbia, NJ 07832

Copyright Camp Taylor Campground LLC 2017