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First Lady and Attorney General Tour Pinelands National Reserve

Jun 18, 2019

First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal joined NJ Conservation Foundation and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance today in touring the Pinelands National Reserve, an internationally recognized natural area encompassing over one million acres in southern New Jersey that supplies clean drinking water to millions.

“We were so pleased to have the opportunity to show the First Lady and Attorney General the beauty of this natural treasure in person,” said Michele Byers, Executive Director of NJ Conservation Foundation. “Their visit helps to highlight what a special place it is, and the need to remain steadfast in protecting it.”

The tour included a visit to NJ Conservation Foundation’s Franklin Parker Preserve, a crown jewel of the Pinelands spanning over 10,000 acres, and site of a 1000-acre wetlands restoration, the largest freshwater wetlands restoration in the eastern United States, funded by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

The First Lady and Attorney General were also shown recent prescribed burns at the Franklin Parker Preserve, where the New Jersey Forest Fire Service is working to mimic the hot, natural wildfires that have shaped the Pine Barrens ecosystem for dozens of centuries, and remain essential to preserving New Jersey’s most unique natural landscape.

The tour also highlighted the significant damage that illegal off-road vehicle use is causing to the Pinelands, where hundreds of wetlands and sand dunes remain at risk from the destructive forces of illegal motorized riding, threatening many species of rare plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, and fish that inhabit these ancient and unique microhabitats.

“For this magnificent ecosystem to remain protected, the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan, now 40 years old, must be kept strong and the Pinelands Commissioners must remain dedicated to upholding the tenets of the plan,” said Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director of Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “Thankfully, Governor Murphy has made strong nominations to the Commission.”

“Every day, the Murphy Administration is working hard to protect New Jersey’s environment for future generations,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “But sometimes, it’s helpful to get out of Trenton and see for ourselves what we’re fighting for. The Pinelands is one of New Jersey’s most precious environmental treasures, and I am grateful to the New Jersey Conversation Foundation and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance for everything they do to safeguard it. Today’s visit was an important reminder of the need for robust environmental enforcement and a commitment to environmental justice for all New Jersey residents.”

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By Michele S. Byers,
Executive Director