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PHONE: 908-234-1225, EXT. 104

Key addition made to Sourland Mountain Preserve


New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Thompson property, Hillsborough Township
If you take out a map and trace your finger between New York and Philadelphia, you'll find some of America's most densely developed suburbs. But midway between the two cities, you'll come across the expansive green swath of the Sourland Mountains.

The Sourlands'' 17-mile ridge extends from the Delaware River near Lambertville to Neshanic in Somerset County, encompassing Central Jersey's largest unbroken forest. For more than two decades, New Jersey Conservation Foundation has worked to permanently preserve these lands.

Persistence pays! Three hundred and fifty pristine, wooded acres in Hillsborough Township were recently preserved. The property enlarges Somerset County's Sourland Mountain Preserve, which now stands at more than 5,900 acres.

It all started with land investor Bryce Thompson, who had worked with New Jersey Conservation Foundation on several previous occasions to preserve forests and farmland. In 2012, we began to finalize the purchase of 350 acres in the Sourlands from Mr. Thompson.

In a stroke of good luck, Somerset County was interested expanding the Sourland Mountain Preserve and wanted the land. The county bought the first 55 acres last summer and the remaining 295 acres in December.

Somerset County and New Jersey Conservation Foundation will work together on a management plan for the health and public enjoyment of the newly-preserved property, which will remain largely in its natural state.

The Sourland Mountains include over 20,000 contiguous forested acres that protect the headwater of several significant water supply streams flowing to the D&R Canal, Millstone, Raritan and Delaware rivers. Many rare plant and animal species, along with nesting and migratory stopover habitat for over 100 bird species, exist in the Sourlands.

"We are pleased to have worked with New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Hillsborough Township toward the common goal of preserving this property,"said County Freeholder Peter S. Palmer. "The acquisition adds significant acreage to the county's growing Sourland Mountain Preserve, providing opportunities for connections with preserved lands in Hunterdon County. The ongoing partnership with New Jersey Conservation Foundation to maintain the property will ensure that this significant environmental resource is protected for future generations."

"Land preservation remains a top priority in Hillsborough Township,"said Deputy Mayor Doug Tomson, liaison to the township's Open Space Advisory Committee. "The acquisition of this tract of land is a fine example of how the joint forces of Somerset County, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and municipalities, specifically Hillsborough, can continue to realize that initiative."

"The New Jersey Conservation Foundation would like to extend its thanks to Bryce Thompson for preserving this critical property, which will serve as a cornerstone of the Sourlands Mountain Preserve,"said Greg Romano, assistant director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

"On behalf of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, we are delighted to provide grant funds for the preservation of this key tract, which was identified as a priority in the recent Raritan Piedmont Wildlife Habitat Partnership comprehensive conservation plan," said Michael Catania, president of Conservation Resources Inc.

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