Schiff has a storied past, beginning with the construction of a grand manor house in 1912 for Col. Richard Henry Williams, Jr. The Mendham, NJ estate, known as Brookrace, was eventually sold to the Schiff family who donated it to the Boy Scouts of America in 1932 where it served as the BSA National Training Center for more than 40 years. The estate became known as Schiff Reservation until it was sold in 1979 for potential development by AT&T. A concerned group of local neighbors and activists successfully stopped the construction of a sprawling corporate campus, and ultimately, Schiff Natural Lands Trust took title to 310 acres to manage as public open space. The mansion is again a private residence.
Schiff's Preserves now include Schiff Nature Preserve and the Mosle Preserve in Mendham Township, McVickers Brook Preserve in Mendham Borough, and Mt. Paul Preserve in Chester. In total, we own 768 acres and maintain 14 miles of groomed trails for passive recreation.
Schiff Nature Center is located at 339 Pleasant Valley Road in Mendham Township. The Center is home to our environmental education programs, historic and nature displays, and children's library. Popular programs include class field trips, scouting programs, guided hikes, and birthday parties.
Schiff's Summer Nature Program for Kids, now in its 15th year, is beloved by local families looking to provide their children ages 4-15 with a healthy dose of fresh air, nature-inspired fun, and the joy of discovery through
Friend-Raising Projects such as our Environmental Film Festival, Music in the Woods, and Paws for the Preserve serve to bring nature-lovers together in our shared open space.
Schiff Natural Lands Trust, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that is tax-exempt, but receives no operational funding from local, state, or federal resources. Schiff is managed by an all-volunteer board of trustees. We depend on membership fees, program revenues, fundraising efforts, and generous donors to keep the trails groomed, our buildings in good repair, and to protect and preserve 768 acres of open space for public enjoyment.
Invitations to follow. Interested in receiving an invitation? Contact .