HISTORIC MAPLE GRANGE PROPERTY
Site Includes Native
(05/18) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the preservation
of a 134-acre parcel known as Maple Grange in Vernon Township,
Sussex County. The Highlands property contains the historic Black
Creek archaeological site, which once was inhabited by the Lenni
Lenape Native Americans.
"Preserving Maple Grange will protect the site from development
and enable the State to interpret the history of New Jersey's
indigenous Lenni Lenape population," said Commissioner Campbell.
"This acquisition also highlights the importance of non-governmental
efforts to preserve open space. While the state ultimately purchased
the site, the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape, National Trust for Historic
Preservation, Preservation New Jersey and the Vernon Civic Association
were instrumental in saving this archaeological gem from development."
The DEP Green Acres Program purchased Maple Grange from Vernon
Township at a cost of $804,000. DEP will manage the property as
part of Wawayanda State Park.
The property's creek and wetlands complex provide habitat for
the State-endangered American bittern and the State-threatened
wood turtle. The land, which is adjacent to the Appalachian Trail
Corridor, provides scenic views of the Hamburg, Pochuck and Wawayanda
The purchase of Maple Grange protects archaeological resources.
The 40-acre Black Creek site, which is listed on the state and
National Registers of Historic Places, is one of the last northern
New Jersey areas occupied by the Lenni Lenape. Thousands of artifacts,
including chert, stone and pottery, have been recovered from the
property and reflect 10,000 years of intermittent human habitation.
On December 7, 2004, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey signed
legislation that strengthened the state's ability to protect archaeological
sites and artifacts from unauthorized excavation and removal.
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 2005, the Green Acres Program has preserved 1,344 acres of
open space. To date, Green Acres has protected 558,632 acres of
open space and provided funding to develop hundreds of parks statewide.
The statewide system of preserved open space and farmland totals
almost 1.3 million acres.