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100 acres added to Hill & Dale Preserve in Tewksbury


New Jersey Conservation Foundation
TEWKSBURY TWP. - The Hill & Dale Preserve just expanded to nearly 300 acres with the addition of 100 acres of farmland on the gently rolling south side of Hill & Dale Road.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation purchased the land on Dec. 20 for $1.2 million, an amount covered entirely by gifts from private donors and a grant from Hunterdon County.

The 100 acres will be added to the existing Hill & Dale Preserve, which is managed for public recreation and enjoyment. A portion of the preserve will continue to be farmed and grazed. A new marked trail system is in the planning stage.

"We're excited to expand Hill & Dale Preserve, and encourage the public to come out and enjoy this spectacular place," said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. "We're extremely grateful to all of the donors and funders for making this happen."

A free public hike will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8, to celebrate the new parcel and introduce community members to the preserve. To register, go to

Major funding for the land purchase was provided by the River Branch Foundation, whose trustee, Jennifer Johnson Duke, is a Tewksbury native. Other funding came from Hunterdon County, Victoria Foundation, Tewksbury Land Trust, 1772 Foundation and numerous private donors.

"We love the gorgeous views from the top of the Hill & Dale Preserve and want to make sure this vista stays unchanged for all to enjoy," said Mrs. Duke. "We're thrilled that the community will have more land for hiking, riding horses, fishing and enjoying nature."

Mrs. Duke and her husband, Joseph, also provided support to preserve 50 acres of Hill & Dale in September 2014.

From Creek to Mountainside

The Hill & Dale Preserve was created in 2011 from 115 acres of the landmark Hill & Dale Farm and enlarged through subsequent land purchases. The preserve begins in the Rockaway Creek valley and climbs the steep Hell Mountain hillside.

The newly-preserved land includes two tributaries of the Rockaway Creek, a pristine trout production stream that flows into the Raritan River, a major water supply source for central New Jersey residents. The land adjoins hundreds of previously preserved acres, including Tewksbury Township's Hell Mountain Preserve, bringing the contiguously preserved land tally to nearly 900 acres.

Funding from the River Branch Foundation will cover more than 80 percent of the purchase price. New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Tewksbury Land Trust each contributed $60,000 in grants from Hunterdon County, Victoria Foundation contributed $50,000, dozens of individual donors added another $56,000, and the 1772 Foundation gave $10,000.

"Victoria Foundation is delighted to partner with New Jersey Conservation Foundation in this successful effort to enlarge the Hill & Dale Preserve," said Irene Cooper-Basch, executive director of Victoria Foundation. "This multi-use preserve in the New Jersey Highlands is a wonderful community asset, providing outdoor recreation while supporting local agriculture."

For nearly a century, Hill & Dale Farm 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 longtime owners, the Rothpletz family, to preserve the majority of its acreage. The acquisition of the 100-acre property is last of several purchases from the family.

"We are delighted to complete our plan for preserving much of Hill and Dale Farm," said Michael Rothpletz. "We are very fortunate to have worked with New Jersey Conservation Foundation on this effort. Their dedicated and extremely effective staff was a great pleasure to work with and really deserve all the credit for making it happen. We look forward to continuing to work with NJ Conservation Foundation as our neighbor and friend."

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, New Jersey Conservation has protected 125,000 acres of open space - from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation's programs and preserves, go to or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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