Somerset County Park Commission Launches Lord Stirling Stable Public Survey
Survey Looking for Public Input on Restoring Stable Programs, Interest in Park Utilization
SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission’s Lord Stirling Stable Advisory Group is looking for public input about programs and public utilization of the 450-acre stable property as part of developing a strategic plan for reopening the facility following the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey will be sent via email to everyone who has registered with any park program in the past, and it will be available for completion by the public by visiting https://somersetriding.questionpro.com.
“Lord Stirling Stable has been a crown jewel of the Somerset County Park Commission for more than 50 years, and we are committed to maximizing its benefits to our visitors while protecting its environmental sensitivity and diversity,” said Somerset County Park Commission President Mark Caliguire. “This survey and the input from the public will help us determine how to improve our current programs and expand permissible uses of the property for the residents of Somerset County and their guests.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activities at the stable were significantly curtailed during the 2020 season and will continue to be limited during 2021. Current services include the boarding of horses, horse activity including riding on trails as well as use of the indoor & outdoor rings and regular organized dog walks. The Commission is interested in increasing activities in the near future.
“Lord Stirling is a beautiful park with so much to offer the public, and we want to be sure everyone has a chance to enjoy it,” said Barbara Roche, Advisory Group member. “We’re asking for feedback on programs we’ve traditionally run in the past as well as what activities and opportunities the public would like to see at this county park.”
From its founding, Lord Stirling Stable had been dedicated to environmental and equestrian activities, and the Advisory Group is exploring how to best restart equestrian activity programs as well as new, expanded uses to allow more people to enjoy the park.
Lord Stirling Park, on the western portion of the Great Swamp, is anchored by the 429-acre Astor property that forms its foundation. The Astor property was purchased by the Somerset County Park Commission on Dec. 21, 1967 to fulfill the Park Commission Master Plan designating that a riding stable be built in the northern part of Somerset County. Lord Stirling Stable, located within Lord Stirling Park, opened in the spring of 1969 with 30 horses.
The facilities on the 450 acres of Lord Stirling Stable consist of the main barn and office building, a viewing area overlooking the 80’ x 240’ indoor ring, a pony party pavilion, maintenance areas, and three outdoor rings -- a Dressage Ring, a round ring, and a stadium jumping ring. There are also 14 miles of well-maintained equestrian trails that weave through fields and woods.
The Somerset County Park Commission stewards nearly 15,000 acres of county-owned open space, which is visited by 2 million park users each year. Five golf courses have three driving ranges, a pitch and putt course and a recreational putting course. Other attractions include Lord Stirling Stable, an environmental education center, two tennis facilities, an outdoor pool, paddle boating, a rock and rare plant garden, an award-winning rose garden, arboretum, and a sensory and fragrance garden. Six county parks also offer amenities such as athletic fields, picnic facilities, bike paths, fishing, birdwatching, cross country skiing, and hiking.
Keep up with the Somerset County Park Commission at somersetcountyparks.org, or on social media at https://www.facebook.com/scparksnj, http://www.twitter.com/scparksnj, and https://www.instagram.com/somerset.parks/.