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New York Times: An Oasis of Wilderness, in the Middle of Jersey City?

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Posted by GET NJ on May 15, 2005 at 09:44:57:

An Oasis of Wilderness, in the Middle of Jersey City?


Our Towns
New York Times
Published: May 15, 2005

Jersey City
STEVE LATHAM had just finished giving an informal inventory of the fauna and flora flourishing against all odds in the oasis in the middle of Jersey City: red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons, swans and egrets, perch and goldfish, red oaks and birch, mulberries and black cherry trees.

And then suddenly, standing on a rock at the water's edge, as long, thin and angular as a great blue heron, he looked up as if stunned.

"Look at this," he said, gesturing toward the black forms of a half-dozen good-size large-mouthed bass swimming near the shore at the abandoned city reservoir in the Jersey City Heights. "Look how big they are. It's amazing they're even there, and look how many. I've never seen them like this before."

You would think that if anyone knew all there was to know about the secret world of Reservoir 3 - built from 1871 to 1880, abandoned and forgotten around 1989, and now suddenly a public crusade - it would be Steve Latham. Mr. Latham, 49, a restaurateur on hiatus from the restaurant business, first began to explore the abandoned 14.3 acres a few years back, adopted it as a place to kayak and teach his kids about nature, and then slowly turned it into something between a cause and an obsession.

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