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March 2, 2004

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP Green Acres Preserves Historic Cliff Dwellings

(04/12) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the purchase of a Native American cliff dwelling that may have been inhabited as early as 8000 BC. The cliff dwelling, which is known as Wildcat Rock Shelter, is located in Franklin Borough, Sussex County.

"DEP's acquisition of this property through our Green Acres program ensures that this archaeological treasure will be saved from the threat of development and honored for the great historic and cultural value it holds for New Jersey," said Commissioner Campbell. "A significant relic of New Jersey's early history has been preserved."

The cliff dwellings are located on a 3.373-acre parcel along the Wallkill Valley Mineral Heritage Trail. The parcel, which was purchased for $38,000 consists of a rock-strewn stream and wetlands at the base of granite rock ledges.

At least one of the rock ledges served as a shelter for ancestral Lenape or Delaware Indians during what has been termed the Late Woodland cultural historic period, dating from 400 to 1200 years ago.

Archeologists have unearthed evidence that suggests that Wildcat Rock served as a temporary dwelling throughout the Archaic and Woodland periods, or from as early as ten thousand years ago. The artifacts excavated include two fireplaces, bones, pottery fragments, turtle shells and projectile points. A smaller rock house and a small campsite were also found nearby.

Since Governor McGreevey took office, the Green Acres Program has acquired 51,026 acres of open space - 32,798 acres for state projects, 9,903 acres for local projects and 8,325 acres for nonprofit groups. To date, the Green Acres Program has protected more than 532,264 acres of open space and provided funding to develop hundreds of parks statewide. The statewide system of preserved open space and farmland totals more than 1.24 million acres.

DEP's 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 forest, wildlife management areas and natural areas.

DEP is also committed to providing parks and outdoor recreation facilities, urban wildlife preserves, and quality open spaces in cities, suburbs, and other developed communities throughout the state.

For more information about the Green Acres program, visit the website at





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