DEP CELEBRATES WITH NJ CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
SIGNIFICANT PINELANDS OPEN SPACE ACQUISITION
9,400 Acres to be Managed as Nature Preserve
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today joined former Governor
James Florio, Congressman Rush Holt, Senator Martha Bark,
and members of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF)
to celebrate the dedication of 9,400 acres of open space
in the Pinelands to be managed as the Franklin Parker Preserve.
open space acquisition marks the final chapter in a story
that began with a serious threat to wetlands protection
and now ends with preservation and restoration of environmentally
sensitive wetlands," said Commissioner Campbell. "The
New Jersey Conservation Foundation's acquisition of this
property, aided by DEP funds, will protect the unique Pinelands
former owner, A.R. DeMarco Enterprises, sold the 14-square
mile property to NJCF for $12 million. The DEP contributed
$3.5 million from the State Land Acquisition Fund towards
the purchase and retains a 40-percent ownership in the property, which
will be managed and maintained by NJCF.
site includes several hundred acres of reservoirs and wetlands,
including 600 acres of Atlantic white cedar swamp. The property
will be managed as a preserve by NJCF to provide passive
recreational opportunities such as hiking and bird watching.
The property is home to critical habitat for several threatened
and endangered species including the bald eagle and the
Pine Barrens tree frog.
This year, DEP
finalized a penalty settlement with A.R. DeMarco Enterprises
concluding a long-standing issue over DeMarco's conversion
of 22 acres of wetlands into cranberry bogs in 1998. Under
the settlement agreement, the company agreed to a $400,000
fine and agreed to restore the impacted wetlands.