Joins Forces with Nonprofit and Local Governments to Preserve
Horse Farm in Developed Area of Camden County
Push for November
Open Space Ballot Initiative Continues
(03/151) VOORHEES TOWNSHIP
- Partnering with the Trust for Public Land, Camden County
and Voorhees Township, Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley Campbell and Secretary of Agriculture
Charles Kuperus today announced a joint effort to preserve
141-acre Stafford Farm - one of the last remaining significant
open space parcels in Voorhees Township.
"Every effort must be made to prevent
development from consuming properties like Stafford Farm
that are the last significant parcel of open space in a
densely developed area," said DEP Commissioner Bradley
Campbell. "Thanks to a strong cooperative effort between
the nonprofit community and all levels of government, area
families and future generations will be ensured public access
to this open space without the threat of future development."
Stafford Farm is approximately 141 acres
of open fields and woodland. Approximately 70 acres are
devoted to an equine operation. An additional 30 acres of
fields and 40 acres of mature forest will be protected for
passive recreation. While a portion of the property will
be preserved as farmland, an old stagecoach trail on the
remaining 70 acres will be minimally cleared to provide
a public recreational trail between the local high school
and the middle school. The woods on the property have been
identified by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation as a rest
over spot for migratory birds.
The land is being preserved using a combination
of state farmland preservation funds, Green Acres funding,
Camden County and Voorhees Township open space and farmland
preservation funds, and private funding from the nonprofit
Trust for Public Land.
With state and local funding support, the
Trust for Public Land has executed a contract with the landowners,
and closing is expected to occur by the end of 2003.
"The partnership to preserve Stafford
Farm is a model for cooperative preservation efforts,"
said Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus. "As
a result, this beautiful horse farm will forever remain
open and productive, and an asset to this community and
our agricultural industry for generations to come."
"This is a wonderful example of how
government works together for the people," said Freeholder
Director Jeffrey L. Nash. "I commend the members of
our county open-space committee, Voorhees Mayor Harry Platt,
the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the state Department
of Environmental Protection and, of course, The Trust for
Public Land for their considerable effort and co-operation
in preserving this beautiful, high-profile property for
all of Camden County's residents to enjoy."
Since Governor McGreevey took office last
year, the state Green Acres program has acquired 43,492
acres of open space, and the State Agriculture Development
Committee has preserved 310 farms covering 25,516 acres.
Five years ago, voters approved a constitutional
dedication of $98 million annually over the next 30 years
to provide a stable source of funding for open space purchases,
farmland preservation and historic preservation. Public
Question No. 1, a constitutional amendment, proposes to
increase the bonding capacity of the Garden State Preservation
Trust to $1.15 billion, an increase of $150 million from
the $1 billion voters approved. The increased bonding would
place no additional costs on New Jersey taxpayers. The sales
tax dedicated in 1998 to pay off Garden State Preservation
Trust bonds would cover these additional bonds by taking
advantage of today's lower interest rates.
At least $50 million of the additional
funding will be used to create and improve parks in cities
and suburbs over the next three years as part of Governor
McGreevey's reforms to the Green Acres program. The additional
money would help meet New Jersey's growing demand for open
space. A minimum of $50 million also would be spent on open
space purchases and farmland preservation in the Highlands,
a critical environmental resource that is the source of
drinking water for more than a third of New Jersey's residents.
"Preservation of our open space and
farmland resources today helps ensure livable communities
and desirable landscapes for tomorrow. New Jersey voters
have consistently supported measures to provide funding
for the preservation of our natural resources. We expect
that this November 4 will be no different," said Leigh
Rae, New Jersey field office director of the Trust for Public
The farm property has been in the Stafford
family for more than 225 years. It became a horse farm in
the 1960s and is the last reflection of Voorhees Township's
agrarian past. Voorhees Township consists of five percent
remaining open space.