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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2005

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

HIGHLANDS PRESERVATION ADVANCES

DEP Expands Waywayanda State Park

(05/15) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the preservation of a 177-acre parcel in Vernon Township, Sussex County. DEP will manage the property, which is part of the Highlands Preservation Area, as an addition to Waywayanda State Park.

"This Highlands acquisition project will preserve the Appalachian Trail's scenic views, protect threatened species habitat and provide valuable recreation opportunities for New Jersey's taxpayers," said Commissioner Campbell.

The preserved property is north of the Appalachian Trail and is adjacent to Wawayanda State Park, preserved farmland and the New York State line. It consists of upland forest areas and an emergent wetlands complex located along the Waywayanda Creek. The acquisition of this property through the DEP Green Acres Program will protect habitat for State-designated threatened species including the Wood Turtle. DEP will provide public access to the site for activities including horseback riding, bird watching, hiking and canoeing.

The 18,235-acre Waywayanda State Park includes diverse environmental features such as a 2,167-acre swamp, a vast forested area and a ravine. The park features over 60 miles of well-marked trails as well as picnic areas, campsites, the Barrett Farm Historic Site and Lake Waywayanda, which is a popular site for boating, fishing, ice skating, and swimming. In addition, the park offers opportunities for hunting, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

This acquisition complements DEP's existing preservation projects in the Highlands. Since January 2002, DEP has protected approximately 22,000 acres of open space in and around the Highlands and applied C1 designation to seven waterbodies in the region.

The New Jersey Highlands is a 1,000 square mile area in the Northwest part of the State, stretching from Phillipsburg in the Southwest to Ringwood in the Northeast. It lies within portions of seven counties and 87 municipalities. Sixty-four percent of New Jersey residents, about 5.4 million people, receive their water from the Highlands. In addition, the forests and wetlands of the Highlands are important habitat for many species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and resident and migrating birds.

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.

In 2004, the Green Acres Program acquired 23,237 acres of open space. To date, Green Acres has protected 557,113 acres of open space and provided funding to develop hundreds of parks statewide. The statewide system of preserved open space and farmland totals almost 1.25 million acres.

 

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Last Updated: February 22, 2005