DEP Green Acres Program
Preserves 480-Acre Forest in Sussex and Warren Counties
(04/72) TRENTON -- Emphasizing the importance
of conserving open space, Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the
preservation of the 480-acre Blair Creek Preserve in Warren
and Sussex Counties. The purchase of this property through
the DEP Green Acres Program will protect water resources
and threatened and endangered species habitat.
"The Blair Creek Preserve is an important asset to
our state and is critical to protecting New Jersey's water
supply," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "By
preserving environmentally-sensitive areas such as this,
we are keeping our promise to protect open spaces and maintain
the high quality of life New Jersey residents enjoy."
The Blair Creek Preserve, which is located at the base
of Kittatinny Ridge and borders Fairview Lake, is habitat
to species requiring interior forest habitat such as bobcats,
black bears, red fox, gray fox and coyote. The forest also
provides habitat for migratory neo-tropical birds and threatened
and endangered species including the timber rattlesnake,
the barred owl, the wood turtle and the red-shouldered hawk.
"The preservation of this forested area advances Governor
McGreevey's goal to protect New Jersey's water quality and
provides habitat for threatened and endangered species,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "In addition, DEP's collaboration
with the Ridge and Valley Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy
underscores the importance of partnerships to save New Jersey's
The tract consists of contiguous forests that span the
border of Hardwick Township, Warren County and Stillwater
Township, Sussex County within the Upper Delaware Watershed
Area and the Paulinskill River drainage basin. The property
contains an open aquifer that provides recharge to groundwater
The Blair Creek Preserve is adjacent to several significant
parcels of protected open space, including 71 acres owned
by the Bergen Council Boy Scouts, 163 acres owned by Stillwater
Township and the 495-acre Orange YMCA Camp. The forest is
also connected to the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National
The New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, The Nature Conservancy
and the Ridge and Valley Conservancy will jointly manage
the Blair Creek Preserve as a passive recreation area to
maintain the site's biodiversity. A trail system and parking
will be developed to enhance public access to the site for
activities such as hiking, bird watching, photography and
"We are delighted to be a part of the agreement to
preserve the land and to share in the stewardship of this
valuable natural treasure," stated RVC President Bob
Canace. "I would like to acknowledge Blair Academy's
foresight in ensuring the permanent protection of the land
and thank The Nature Conservancy and the Green Acres Program
for making the acquisition a reality."
The Green Acres Program purchased the $1.5 million Blair
Creek Preserve through a partnership with Ridge and Valley
Conservancy (RVC). The Green Acres Program contributed $500,000
through the State Land Acquisition Program and an additional
$500,000 through a local assistance nonprofit matching grant
to Ridge and Valley Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy
($302,250), Warren County ($170,000), and Hardwick Township
($27,750) provided funding for the matching contribution
required of RVC. In addition, the Johanette Wallerstein
Institute provided a stewardship donation to The Nature
Conservancy. RVC negotiated the purchase of the property
from Blair Academy.
"This partnership project will help preserve New Jersey's
rich biodiversity and conserve valuable water resources,"
said Barbara Brummer, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Nature
Conservancy in New Jersey.
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 forest, wildlife
management areas and natural areas.
Since Governor McGreevey took office, the Green Acres Program
has acquired 57,914 acres of open space -37,064 acres for
state projects, 10,362 acres for local projects and 10,488
acres for nonprofit groups. To date, the Green Acres Program
has protected more than 540,214 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 1.26 million acres.