NJ WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS
SURPASS 300,000-ACRE MARK
(06/07) TRENTON - Department of Environmental
Protection Acting Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced that
New Jersey's network of wildlife management areas has topped 304,000
acres, making it one of the largest in the Northeast.
"As the nation's most densely populated state and the fifth
smallest, New Jersey now boasts more acreage for wildlife management
areas than New York and even outpaces Vermont, Massachusetts and
Rhode Island combined," Acting Commissioner Jackson said. "That
achievement is a testament to our commitment to preserving open
space, protecting our unique wildlife and habitats and providing
countless recreational opportunities for residents and visitors
As of January, the state's 121 wildlife management areas totaled
304,735 acres, up 8,000 acres during the past year. Located throughout
19 counties, the total acreage represents more than 44 percent of
New Jersey's state-owned open space.
Administered by the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife, the state's
system of wildlife management areas dates to 1932 when the Board
of Fish and Game Commissioners, now known as the Fish and Game Council,
acquired the 387-acre Walpack Tract in Sussex County as a "public
shooting and fishing ground."
For nearly 30 years, New Jersey relied entirely on sales of fishing
and hunting licenses to purchase land for wildlife management areas,
and those fees funded the state's first 100,000 acres. The public
began participating in the system's development in 1961 when voters
approved the first Green Acres bond issue. Today, the DEP's Green
Acres program continues its critical role in open-space acquisition.
In fact, Green Acres preserved a record number of acres - more than
38,000 - during 2005, the program's most successful year since its
For more information on New Jersey's Wildlife Management Areas,
visit the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site at www.njfishandwildlife.com.