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
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
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 www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres.