half of Atlantic County
The Elwood Corridor encompasses the western half of Atlantic County
and is a vital habitat for many rare and endangered wildlife and
plant species, including the Pine Barrens Treefrog, Northern Pine
Snake, Red-headed woodpecker and Pickering’s morning-glory. Its
preservation is essential to ensure that the entirety of the Pine
Barrens can continue to function as one, intact ecosystem. The largest
natural area on the Mid-Atlantic seaboard, the New Jersey Pine Barrens
is a heavily forested area covering 1.1 million acres and its underground
aquifers contain 17 trillion gallons of the purest drinking water
in the country.
The Pinelands Protection Act created New Jersey’s Pinelands Comprehensive
Management Plan, which protects the area’s largely intact and healthy
ecosystem. The plan created a Preservation Area where very little
development is permitted, surrounded by a carefully planned land
use system which allows various degrees of development.
The Elwood Corridor is an ecologically critical strip of forest
that connects the northern Preservation Area and the southern Pine
Barrens. The Pine Barrens plan identifies the Elwood Corridor as
very important, but because it is crossed by three major east-west
highways and is dotted with existing villages, the plan protects
only a narrow portion of the corridor. As a result, the Elwood Corridor
faces significant development pressure.
Preservation of the Elwood Corridor will enable a vital migratory
linkage between the northern Pinelands Preservation Area and large
protected tracts of forest lands to the south. New Jersey Conservation
Foundation and its preservation partners have worked to enhance
this conservation linkage – stepping stones of habitat – by preserving
comparatively small nature preserves, strategically located throughout
western Atlantic County. These forested areas will allow most plant
and wildlife to continue to effectively disperse, colonize and migrate
north and south between Cape May and Burlington Counties.
Just a few of the noteworthy preservation projects that have taken
place in the Elwood Corridor are the 337-acre Dorothy
Preserve in Estell Manor City, the 167-acre Bear
Creek Preserve in Egg Harbor City and the 138-acre
Hanselman Preserve in Galloway Township. Those interested in experiencing
this unique region should consider visiting the Dorothy Preserve
and hike the nature trail. Along the trial you will see our 28-acre,
solar-powered deer exclosure project that is enabling a young Atlantic
white-cedar forest to reestablish itself.
To learn more about NJCF’s preservation work in the Pine Barrens, please contact Stephanie Monahan, Pine Barrens Regional Manager, at 1-888-LANDSAVE (1-888-526-3728) or firstname.lastname@example.org.