DEP, NJCF and Partners Preserve
852-Acre Culvermere Property
(05/105) TRENTON -- The Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP), in partnership with the nonprofit conservation
and local government groups, acquired an 852-acre open space parcel
known as the Culvermere Property in Frankford and Hampton townships,
Sussex County. DEP will manage the $12.4 million preserved property,
as part of the 2,000-acre Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area.
"Preserving properties like Culvermere demonstrates New
Jersey's commitment to protect its natural resources and keep
the waterways and forests a pristine habitat for local wildlife,"
said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey.
"The preservation of the Culvermere property protects the
Kittatinny Ridge, whose contiguous forests stretch from High Point
to the Delaware Water Gap," said DEP Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell. "Culvermere was one of the largest privately
held properties in Sussex County, and its preservation from the
immediate threat of development is a credit to the persistence
and advocacy of local leaders who are helping to fund the acquisition."
The ecologically valuable parcel, located off Route 206 and Morris
Turnpike, is composed of rolling hills and oak, beech and sugar
maple forest. Culvermere provides critical habitat for threatened
or endangered species such as the bobcat, barred owl, northern
goshawk, timber rattlesnake and wood turtle.
The property is the site of the former Culvermere resort and
hotel. Built in 1892, the hotel became one of the most popular
summer getaways in New Jersey until its destruction in a fire
in the 1980s. Culvermere is zoned for both commercial and residential
use and has been the subject of multiple development plans.
"The New Jersey Conservation Foundation was approached by
a group of community leaders more than a year ago who wanted to
save this treasured parcel of land from intense development pressures
that had been building for 20 years," said Michele Byers,
NJCF Executive Director. "Working with our many preservation
partners statewide, today this dream is a reality. Culvermere
will now be a managed preserve allowing for the protection of
water quality and natural resources while providing public access
for generations to come."
NJCF led a partnership of public and private conservation organizations
and negotiated the acquisition of the property from Somerville-based
Culvermere Alliance, Inc. The acquisition was supported by the
DEP Green Acres Program, NJCF, the Nature Conservancy, Morris
Land Conservancy, Sussex County and the townships of Frankford
and Hampton. In addition, NJCF contributed a grant from the Victoria
Foundation and The Nature Conservancy provided a grant from the
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Conservation Resources, Inc.
of Chester, and the Coalition to Protect our Land, Lakes &
Watershed were instrumental in obtaining contributions, including
grants from the Conservation Fund, Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks
Unlimited, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, Sussex County Federation
of Sportsmen, New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp Committee, Ruffed Grouse
Society of New Jersey, and New Jersey Audubon Society.
"Conservation Resources was delighted to help facilitate
this unique project, which represents the first open space partnership
between Sussex County, sportsmen's organizations and state and
local conservation groups," said Michael Catania, president
of Conservation Resources.