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Sourland woodland set for preservation by Montgomery


New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Thompson property Rock Brook tributary
MONTGOMERY TWP. - A Spring Hill Road property, targeted for preservation on Montgomery Township's open space master plan due to its sensitive environmental characteristics, is now under contract for acquisition. This 62-acre Sourland tract remains undeveloped and contains two headwater streams (tributaries to the Rock Brook), wetlands, and steeply sloping hills, as well as mature upland beech, oak and tulip poplar forest habitat.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation approached the Township regarding this property in order to assist in brokering a deal with the landowner. The Conservation Foundation has successfully negotiated a number of land preservation deals recently with this property owner, Thompson Land, and has been a preservation partner with the Township for more than 20 years.

"This 62 acre tract is a key acquisition for the Township," said Mayor Patricia Graham. "By this purchase we are connecting several open space 'islands' to create and thereby preserve a larger contiguous tract, with more value for wildlife management and passive recreational uses."

New Jersey Conservation Foundation secured an option agreement with Thompson Land for a price of $17,000 per acre, a price which was later confirmed/ substantiated by appraisals. The purchase price for the property is approximately $1.05 million, half of which will be funded by grants provided by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program, and the other half will be funded by the Township's Open Space Tax.

"We are thrilled to preserve another large tract of land in town," said Deputy Mayor Ed Trzaska. "This land is amazing. It includes several environmentally sensitive areas and provides access from Spring Hill Road both to this piece and other adjacent open space. It also prevents development that could strain the water supply in this section of town. Along with the recent preservation of the land on Route 601 in the northern part of Montgomery, we have added over 120 acres to our open space portfolio this year. That's exciting."

"We're delighted to partner with Montgomery Township to preserve land in the Sourland Mountains," said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. "Montgomery Township is a wonderful place to hike and enjoy nature, and we are happy to see the natural resources protected on these 62 acres."

According to Montgomery Open Space Coordinator Lauren Wasilauski, some possible passive uses of the property the
Township will consider include woodland management and deer hunting, both of which now take place under the current ownership, as well as hiking trail development. "We are so pleased to be able to add this beautiful property to our open space inventory," she stated.

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