Each autumn we offer motor tours of what we call the Core Sanctuary. This is an area that is just over 2,000 acres that lies outside of our 75 acre Pocket Sanctuary, where the trails and museums are located. The Core is not a part of the public area and these tours offer a glimpse of the Sanctuary that Arthur D. Norcross envisioned.
So what is a New England Safari? You’re not seeing lions, elephants and giraffes here; rather, you have a great opportunity to observe bluebirds, white-tailed deer, beaver or wild turkey in addition to the plethora of plant life. Mr. Norcross was a plant lover and re-created habitats for some of his favorites, like the New Jersey pine barrens for the pine barrens gentian or the limestone cobbles for ferns such as the maidenhair spleenwort.
While on a tour it is hard not to notice the stone walls and cellar holes. Once subsistence farms, most of these homesteads were abandoned by the mid-1800’s. The Town of Wales was fortunate to have a resident, Absalom Gardner, who in 1873 published A Compendium of the History, Genealogy and Biography Town of Wales and its Principal Families and Individual Inhabitants. This work provides detailed and sometimes colorful insight into the lives of the people who first settled here. Mr. Gardner’s almost one hundred and fifty year old commentary accentuates the New England character of our woods.
No two tours are alike. A script is not set. The wild animals are not caged. You never know what might observe on a New England Safari.