Van Saun Park is a Bergen County park that straddles Paramus and River Edge near Forest Avenue. This park has a memorial tree grove, a duck pond, gardens, wilderness, places to play, picnic areas, and a zoo. Van Saun Park has been renovated from one end to the other over the years.
The south end of Van Saun Park abuts Howland Avenue. The DWI Memorial Tree Grove replaces the grassy field that once stood there. This memorial has over three dozen trees, each one with the name of a DWI victim. The fact that there are enough trees to make a grove is a somber reminder of how many people drunk driving kills.
The nearby duck pond underwent some changes several years ago. A riparian buffer and a ban on feeding the birds now fight eutrophication by reducing the amount of geese droppings that end up in the pond. New brickwork beautifies the area while two new piers make it easy to view the water fowl.
Walking north from the duck pond, a resident encounters picnic areas and various sports facilities. The path eventually takes the walker to Washington Spring. According to local lore, George Washington drank from Washington Spring when the Continental Army camped nearby in 1780. The gardens surrounding Washington Spring used to be fenced in and simple. Now they are open and ornate. The new landscaping includes nine small meditation areas for visitors to relax in.
A new playground and some wilderness are near Washington Spring. The playground has two ADA accessible structures for elementary school children and 2 structures for toddlers. There are also plenty of swings. The wild area includes a hill for sledding in the winter and the entrance to a hiking path. This unpaved hiking path runs through the forests along the length of Van Saun Park.
The north end of Van Saun Park has the carousel, the train, and the zoo. The Bergen County Zoo underwent many improvements over the decades. The barn was there as long as I can remember, but the aviary, visitor center, and many of the animal exhibits are relatively new.
Even though I've only lived in Bergen County for three decades, every section of Van Saun Park has changed during my time here. It just goes to show how dynamic our county is. Van Saun Park is an ever changing park for an ever changing county.