DEP Expands Waywayanda
(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
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
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.