DEP PRESERVES 900 ACRES IN SUSSEX COUNTY
(07/27) TRENTON -Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the purchase of two Sussex County properties totaling almost 900 acres--534 acres in Vernon Township and 350 acres in Stillwater Township.
"We succeeded in preserving an important piece of our state's history--a rare Native American archeological site in Vernon Valley," Commissioner Jackson said. "We're also linking two significant tracts of open space in the northwestern part of the state, creating a green corridor that will protect wildlife habitat."
The DEP Green Acres program purchased the Vernon parcel from Maple Grange Realty for $2.5 million and acquired the Stillwater tract from a private owner for $2.6 million.
Both properties provide habitat for endangered wildlife and connect to larger preserved lands. The Vernon parcel is located in the Highlands and links the Black Creek archeological site to Wawayanda State Park. Listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, the Black Creek site is considered one of the most important archeological and cultural sites in the tri-state area. The site contains evidence that Native Americans inhabited the area more than 10,000 years ago. In addition, the property's creek and wetlands provide habitat for the state endangered bog turtle, american bittern and the state threatened wood turtle.
The Stillwater property will link the 2,472-acre Swartswood State Park with the 1,518-acre Trout Brook Wildlife Management area. The expanded greenway provides habitat for the state endangered bobcat and the black bear.
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 forests, wildlife management areas and natural areas.
In 2006, Green Acres preserved or assisted in preserving 16,000 acres of open space. Since its inception in 1961, the program has protected more than 615,000 acres of open space, in addition to providing funding for the development of hundreds of parks throughout New Jersey. New Jersey's statewide system of preserved open space and farmland now amounts to over 1.3 million acres.
For more information about the DEP's Green Acres Program, visit www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres.