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April 12, 2007 (rt23 news) - (07/17) TRENTON -- Emphasizing the importance of preserving the state’s biodiversity through land acquisition, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the purchase of 288 acres of open space in Warren County.

"Buying private land is one of the best ways we can safeguard the natural resources that make New Jersey so unique," Commissioner Jackson said. "By preserving this land, we are protecting precious wildlife and providing the public with a place to recreate and enjoy nature at its very best."

DEP and the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust purchased the property from private owners for $3.3 million. The Trust contributed $824,450 using funds provided by the New Jersey Wetlands Mitigation Council, and DEP’s Green Acres program contributed the balance of the purchase price through the State Land Acquisition program.

"While this acquisition provides an opportunity for enhanced recreation through the connection of extensive open space holdings, more importantly it protects critical habitat for rare plant and animal species," said Michael Catania, the Natural Lands Trust’s Chairman.

The newly acquired land will expand a greenway that extends from Jenny Jump State Forest in Hope to Allamuchy State Park in Hackettstown. Located in Frelinghuysen Township, the site consists of forested wetlands and is ideal habitat for the state-endangered and federally threatened bog turtle. The newly preserved tract is also home to a number of rare plants including the state-endangered few flower spike rush and large water plantain. The New Jersey Natural Lands Trust will manage the property as part of its 300-acre Bear Creek Preserve.

The DEP Green Acres program purchases land to protect environmentally sensitive open space, water resources and other significant natural and historical open space. Land acquired becomes part of the statewide system of parks and forests, wildlife management areas and natural areas.

In 2006, Green Acres preserved or assisted in preserving 16,000 acres of open space. Since its inception in 1961, the program has protected more than 600,000 acres of open space, in addition to providing funding for the development of hundreds of parks throughout New Jersey. New Jersey’s statewide system of preserved open space and farmland now amounts to over 1.3 million acres.

Posted by: Staff at
April 12, 2007


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