DEP Green Acres Preserves 45 Acres in Highlands
Property Will Provide Fishing Access to Musconetcong
(04/89) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today
announced that the DEP Green Acres program purchased 45
acres of wooded land along the Musconetcong River in Bloomsbury
Borough, Hunterdon County. The land is located within the
Highlands region and will be managed for passive recreation
and fishing by the DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife.
"Every acre that we preserve in the Highlands region
helps protect our most precious natural resource - clean
drinking water," said Governor James E. McGreevey.
"The health of the Musconetcong River is especially
important, as the river is a popular attraction among the
14 million people who visit the Highlands each year."
The preservation of this property will increase fishing
access, help to protect the quality of the Musconetcong
River and preserve the habitat of native plants and animals.
This acquisition will provide an additional 1,925 feet of
river frontage to the Musconetcong River. The DEP Green
Acres Program paid $125,000 for the land, which is contiguous
to a 60-acre State-owned property as well as Hunterdon County's
Musconetcong Gorge Preserve. The addition of this half-mile
link will provide public access to a total of 2.3 contiguous
miles along the Musconetcong River.
"Protecting this land in its natural state will safeguard
the water quality of the Musconetcong, which is the only
river located exclusively within the New Jersey Highlands,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "At the same time, this
land will give residents statewide the opportunity to enjoy
one of New Jersey's premier trout fishing and canoeing locales."
The purchase of this property reflects Governor McGreevey's
commitment to expand access to fishing waters by purchasing
easements. On April 15, 2002, Governor McGreevey directed
DEP to use Green Acres funds to purchase permanent easements
for access rights (separate from development rights) along
productive fishing streams that allow the public to wade
and walk along the streambed and banks in key areas of the
"The Musconetcong River is one of the finest examples
of an East Coast limestone stream," said Agust Gudmundsson,
Chairman of the New Jersey State Council of Trout Unlimited.
"The clean cool spring waters and diverse aquatic insect
population make it trout heaven. With the dreadnought of
sprawl always looming in the Highlands, Trout Unlimited
welcomes the addition of all open space, especially along
a Riparian corrider as important as the Musconetcong River."
The Musconetcong River is a major tributary of the Delaware
River that offers excellent fishing opportunities throughout
the year. The DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife each Spring
stocks the Bloomsbury area of the Musconetcong River with
2,500 brown, rainbow and brook trout. The Musconetcong River
is one of New Jersey's premier trout waters, which contributes
to Warren County's rank as the third most popular fishing
destination of New Jersey's 21 counties.
The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering
legislation that would include portions of the Musconetcong
River in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
The New Jersey Highlands is a 1,250 square mile area in
the northwest part of the State noted for its rugged hills,
lush forests and scenic lakes. It stretches from Phillipsburg
in the southwest to Ringwood in the northeast, and lies
within portions of 7 counties (Hunterdon, Somerset, Sussex,
Warren, Morris, Passaic and Bergen) and 87 municipalities.
The larger Highlands region runs from Connecticut through
New York and New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
The Highlands region is a critical source of drinking water.
Surface and ground water sources in the Highlands supply
water to 292 municipalities and 16 counties in New Jersey.
The region produces one-third of the state's potable water
and supplies some or all of the drinking water to approximately
64% of New Jersey residents. In addition to water resources,
the Highlands region contains exceptional natural resources
such as contiguous forests, wetlands, pristine watersheds
and plant and wildlife species habitat.
Since Governor McGreevey took office, the Green Acres Program
has acquired 65,164 acres of open space-43,668 acres for
state projects, 10,703 acres for local projects and 10,793
acres for nonprofit groups. To date, the Green Acres Program
has protected more than 547,557 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.