Sparta Mountain Greenway
Sparta Mountain Greenway
The Sparta Mountain Greenway project area is located at the westernmost ridge of the New Jersey Highlands. The greenway offers magnificent vistas overlooking pristine lakes and ponds and a diversity of natural communities. Mature forests and steep ridges protect threatened red-shouldered hawk, wood turtle, blue-spotted salamander and bobcat. The forests provide critical groundwater aquifer and water quality protections. Wetlands and ponds provide flood control and habitat for amphibians and wading and migratory birds.
The Sparta Mountain project area was identified by Garden State Greenways, New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s online open space planning program, as an important regional natural area because it is located near other preserved lands.
In the southern portion of the Sparta Mountains in Byram and Andover Townships and Hopatcong Borough, there is an opportunity to preserve more than 5,000 acres of land that can connect natural areas between state parks and wildlife management areas from Hamburg to Allamuchy. In the northern Sparta Mountains, more than 5,700 acres are already preserved and New Jersey Conservation Foundation has played a key role in these conservation efforts dating back to the 1990s.
Recent preservation projects in the region have included:
- 47 acres of woodlands in Byram Township overlooking Cranberry Lake
- 50 acres inside the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area, the highlight of which is a 17-acre spring fed lake
- 118-acre addition to Allamuchy State Park
- NJCF also helped New Jersey acquire $1.8 million in federal Forest Legacy Program funding to support preservation efforts
New Jersey Highlands
The New Jersey Highlands are part of the great green sweep of the Appalachians that shadow the East Coast from Georgia to Maine. The Highlands region stretches from eastern Pennsylvania through New Jersey and New York to northwestern Connecticut, forming a vital linkage between the Berkshires and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Highlands form a greenbelt of forest and farmland around the New York metropolitan area and provide fresh air, natural areas and recreation opportunities for millions of residents of the greater New Jersey metropolitan area.
Over 1,300 square miles in the northwest part of the state are noted for its scenic beauty and environmental significance, the Highlands stretch from Phillipsburg in the southwest to Ringwood in the northeast and lies within portions of seven counties (Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren), including 88 municipalities that are home for more than 750,000 people.
The Highlands diverse natural communities are important statewide. With extensive forests, wetlands, rivers and streams, over 70 percent of the Highlands are environmentally sensitive while providing water supply for more than half of New Jersey’s families – over 5.2 million people.
To learn more about New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s preservation efforts in the Highlands, please contact Ingrid Vandegaer, Highlands Regional Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-LANDSAVE (1-888-526-3728). For information on our public policy initiatives in the Highlands, please contact Wilma Frey, Highlands Project Manager, at email@example.com or 1-888-LANDSAVE (1-888-526-3728).
By Michele S. Byers,