DEP DEDICATES PORTION OF
LIBERTY STATE PARK TO HONOR RICHARD J. SULLIVAN - STATE'S FIRST
(05/128) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection
Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today dedicated a natural area
in Liberty State Park to honor Richard J. Sullivan, New Jersey's
first environmental protection commissioner.
"Richard Sullivan began his career at the start of our nation's
environmental movement. He spearheaded environmental protections
that enabled New Jersey to become a national leader in coastal protection,
land preservation, and pollution control," said Acting Governor
Richard J. Codey. "He is one of New Jersey's most respected
conservationists, a gifted writer and speaker who epitomizes the
very best in public service."
The Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area in Liberty State Park consists
mainly of a 36-acre salt marsh in the heart of the New York Bay
supporting the Hudson River estuary. During his tenure, Commissioner
Sullivan helped establish Liberty State Park, including the natural
area that now bears his name. Designated as a natural area in 1978,
it is enjoyed by many of the more than five million visitors to
the park annually.
"With great appreciation and pride, we are celebrating the
legacy of a true statesman in environmental protection who devoted
his entire career to making New Jersey a cleaner, healthier place
to live, work and raise our families," Campbell said. "It
is a privilege to give back to Commissioner Sullivan by dedicating
a popular, special open space to honor his lasting contributions."
Appointed by former Gov. William T. Cahill and the only Democrat
in Cahill's Cabinet, Sullivan served as the first commissioner of
the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, created on
America's first official Earth Day -- April 22, 1970, until his
resignation in 1974. New Jersey was the third state in the nation
to consolidate its programs into a major, unified agency to administer
aggressive environmental protection and conservation efforts.
Today, the DEP is recognized as a national leader in pollution
prevention, open space preservation and innovative environmental
Campbell also thanked the Liberty State Park Friends Group for
their support in the special recognition of Sullivan.
Raised in Jersey City, Sullivan, 78, also is regarded as the architect
of the Pinelands Commission and served as its chairman from 1988
to 1998. Further, his contributions to New Jersey's state park system
are significant. A tireless advocate for additional land preservation
funding during his tenure as commissioner, Sullivan has since testified
against inappropriate development of Liberty State Park and facilitated
the funding and construction of the Island Beach State Park Nature
Well-known New Jersey environmentalists and former colleagues of
Sullivan say his impact on the Garden State's environmental resources
cannot be overstated.
"Richard is dean of environmental affairs in New Jersey,"
said Helen Fenske, a former DEP assistant commissioner who headed
Natural and Historic Resources. "There probably is no one more
respected by business and industry and the environmental community."
Another former DEP colleague, Michael Catania, who served as a
deputy commissioner, said, "Richard Sullivan is simply the
patron saint of environmental protection in New Jersey."
Former Executive Director of the Pinelands Commission Terrence
Moore said, "Richard is one of the most respected public officials
this State has been fortunate to have in its government. His sense
of fair play, integrity, and commitment to safeguarding our environmental
resources continually earns admiration from all with whom he works."