94 Acres Preserved in Delaware Township

Jun 5, 2013

Speaker talking to an audience

Assemblywoman Donna Simon speaks as NJCF’s Greg Romano looks on.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation and its partners today announced the preservation of a 94-acre property encompassing woods, hayfields, a historic cemetery and more than a quarter-mile of frontage along the Plum Brook.

The property, which stretches between Pavlica and Pine Hill roads, provides habitat for wood turtles, a threatened species in New Jersey.

Surrounded by other preserved properties, it adds to a 1,000-acre green belt around the hamlet of Sergeantsville. Trails linking preserved lands are planned.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation purchased the property in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, Hunterdon County, Delaware Township and the 1772 Foundation.

”New Jersey Conservation Foundation has had its eye on this property for a long time, and we’re thrilled to finally preserve it,” said Michele S. Byers, Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “It provides a missing link in our trail system, and it protects water resources and wildlife habitat.”

The property was purchased from W. Bryce Thompson, a land investor who has sold over 4,000 acres for conservation.

“It is truly a celebration when organizations work together with such success: envisioning the goal, bringing resources to the table and making it a reality,” said Martha Sapp, Administrator of the Green Acres Program. “The preservation of this beautiful property will contribute dramatically to enhanced water quality, protection of important wildlife species, and the quality of life for the people of New Jersey.”

The property has numerous spring seeps and small streams feeding the Plum Brook, a tributary of the Wickecheoke Creek. The Wickecheoke flows into the D&R Canal, a major water supply source.

Henry Patterson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, said the acquisition brings the amount of critical preserved watershed lands to nearly 4,000 acres.

“Water quality in the D&R Canal will be further protected by this acquisition, which was made possible by a special rate component paid by our water customers,” Patterson said. “The Authority is pleased to partner once again with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation on this project and looks forward to future projects with NJCF.”

Jim Borders, open space coordinator for Delaware Township, said the property was ideal for preservation because of its mix of open space, farmland, watershed land and historical significance. “If there is anything worthy of preservation, this property would be it,” he commented. “Everybody loves this piece, and it really adds to the township’s portfolio of preserved land.”

“I am pleased we are able to continue our efforts of keeping Hunterdon County bucolic by adding this wonderful property to our growing list of preserved open spaces,” added Hunterdon County Freeholder Director Rob Walton. “I thank our partners, too, for all the work they did in¬†acquiring this land.”

“The 1772 Foundation is delighted to partner with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation in the acquisition of a 94-acre parcel of the Thompson property in Delaware Township, and by so doing, preserve more open space for the enjoyment of the public in Delaware Township,” said Dan Ely, President of the 1772 Foundation.

The property includes the tiny Pine Hill Cemetery, which has markers dating back as far as the late 1700s. According to local historian Marfy Goodspeed, the cemetery is located on what was once the Williamson family farm, and has graves belonging to members of the Williamson, Sergeant, Larew, Heath, Lake and Rounsavell families.

Family members in the area maintain the cemetery with the assistance of local Boy Scouts, and will continue to do so under New Jersey Conservation Foundation ownership.

The acquisition expands the Wickecheoke Creek Preserve, a green belt of preserved open space and farmland along the stream for which it is named. With its partners, New Jersey Conservation Foundation has helped preserve almost 4,000 acres in the Wickecheoke Creek region since 1984.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private, member-supported nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, it has protected 125,000 acres of open space – from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation’s programs and preserves, click here or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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By Michele S. Byers,
Executive Director