New Jersey Highlands in Sussex
The Sparta Mountain Greenway project area is located at the westernmost
ridge of the New Jersey Highlands. The greenway offers magnificent
vistas overlooking pristine lakes and ponds and a diversity of natural
communities. Mature forests and steep ridges protect threatened
red shouldered hawk, wood turtle, blue-spotted salamander and bobcat.
The forests provide critical groundwater aquifer and water quality
protections. Wetlands and ponds provide flood control and habitat
for amphibians and wading and migratory birds.
The Sparta Mountain project area was identified by Garden
State Greenways, New Jersey Conservation Foundation's online open space planning program,
as an important regional natural area because it is located near
other preserved lands.
In the southern portion of the Sparta Mountains
in Byram and Andover Townships and Hopatcong Borough, there is an
opportunity to preserve more than 5,000 acres of land that can connect
natural areas between state parks and wildlife management areas
from Hamburg to Allamuchy. In the northern Sparta Mountains, more
than 5,700 acres are already preserved and New Jersey Conservation Foundation has played a key
role in these conservation efforts dating back to the 1990s.
Recent preservation projects in the region have included:
- 47 acres of woodlands in Byram Township overlooking Cranberry
- 50 acres inside the Sparta
Mountain Wildlife Management Area, the highlight of which
is a 17-acre spring fed lake
- 118-acre addition to Allamuchy
- NJCF also helped New Jersey acquire $1.8 million in federal
Forest Legacy Program funding to support preservation efforts
The New Jersey Highlands are part of the great green sweep of the
Appalachians that shadow the East Coast from Georgia to Maine. The
Highlands region stretches from eastern Pennsylvania through New
Jersey and New York to northwestern Connecticut, forming a vital
linkage between the Berkshires and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The
Highlands form a greenbelt of forest and farmland around the New
York metropolitan area and provide fresh air, natural areas and
recreation opportunities for millions of residents of the greater
New Jersey metropolitan area.
Over 1,300 square miles in the northwest part of the state are
noted for its scenic beauty and environmental significance, the
Highlands stretch from Phillipsburg in the southwest to Ringwood
in the northeast and lies within portions of seven counties (Bergen,
Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren), including
88 municipalities that are home for more than 750,000 people.
Highlands diverse natural communities are important statewide. With
extensive forests, wetlands, rivers and streams, over 70 percent
of the Highlands are environmentally sensitive while providing water
supply for more than half of New Jersey’s families – over 5.2 million
To learn more about New Jersey Conservation Foundation's preservation efforts in the Highlands,
please contact Ingrid Vandegaer, Highlands Regional Manager, at
or 1-888-LANDSAVE (1-888-526-3728). For information on our public
policy initiatives in the Highlands, please contact Wilma Frey,
Highlands Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 1-888-LANDSAVE (1-888-526-3728).