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Donation adds 50 acres to Hill & Dale Preserve


New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Hill & Dale fields
TEWKSBURY TWP. - Jennifer Johnson Duke loves the scenic landscapes of her hometown: the peaceful green valleys, the rolling hills and steep forested ridges, and the historic farms nestled among them.

When she learned of New Jersey Conservation Foundation's plan to preserve most of the landmark Hill & Dale Farm, she and her husband, Joseph, were inspired to help.

"Tewksbury Township is one of the most beautiful places in the state, and we would love see it stay that way," she said.
The Dukes made a generous donation to help with the purchase of a 50-acre agricultural field on the south side of Hill & Dale Road. The field will be added to New Jersey Conservation's Hill & Dale Preserve, expanding it to 192 acres. New Jersey Conservation completed the purchase on Sept. 19.

Established in 2011, the Hill & Dale Preserve begins in the Rockaway Creek valley and climbs the steep Hell Mountain hillside. The preserve is becoming a recreational asset to the community, while the farming of hay and corn continues on the fields.

Hikers, horseback riders, dog walkers, bird watchers and other nature lovers are welcome on trails along Hill & Dale's fields and hedgerows, and in the surrounding woods. The upper fields offer a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, and fisherman can cast for trout in the pristine Rockaway Creek at the preserve's lower end.

"We're extremely grateful to the Dukes for making this new addition to the preserve possible," said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation. "This is beautiful land and we're thrilled to preserve it."

She added that the addition of the 50-acre parcel expands a green swath of preserved open space and farmland that extends from Hill & Dale Preserve eastward to Hunterdon County's Cold Brook Preserve in Oldwick village - which New Jersey Conservation helped preserve beginning in 1979.

For nearly a century, Hill & Dale Farm has operated as a dairy and horse farm that grows its own hay, corn and grains. Its graceful Dutch-style barns are an iconic sight along Rockaway Road. New Jersey Conservation Foundation began working in 2004 with the owners, the Rothpletz family.

"We greatly appreciate the Rothpletz family's commitment to preserving this land," said Byers. "We have been working with them on this project for many years and they are terrific conservation partners."

"We are very pleased to see this property added to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation's Hill and Dale Preserve," said Michael Rothpletz. "Through the efforts of their dedicated and highly effective staff, we are realizing our vision and long term plan for the preservation of this special property."

New Jersey Conservation is hoping to add additional lands to the Hill & Dale Preserve in the future.
Hill & Dale's fields drain to a tributary of the Rockaway Creek, the headwaters of the North Branch of the Raritan River. Permanently preserving these lands protects water quality in the Raritan watershed.

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