Friday, November 6th, 2015

In a deal facilitated by the Trust for Public Land, with partners including Morris County, Morris Township and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, 21.5-acres of the 58-acre Vallevue Farm in scenic Washington Valley in Morris Township has been permanently preserved, according to a deal announced today.  


Scenic Washington Valley Farmland Preserved in Morris Township at Vallevue Farm
One view of the acreage preserved at Vallevue Farm

The property, purchased for $1.6 million, is located in the historic and environmentally sensitive area, just two miles from downtown Morristown. 

Today’s acquisition will provide new hiking trail corridors and permanently preserve scenic views across Washington Valley, as well as offer groundwater protection in a high recharge area.

Scenic Washington Valley Farmland Preserved in Morris Township at Vallevue Farm
John Cesaro

“This is a great natural space that is a perfect target for preservation, that can enhance recreational opportunities for our residents while protecting our groundwater, ’’ said Deputy Freeholder Director John Cesaro, who is the county governing board’s liaison on preservation issues.

“By conserving Vallevue Farm and making it available to the public for walking and community farming, we have protected a special part of Morris County and we are giving area residents more opportunities to connect with nature,” said Anthony Cucchi, New Jersey State Director of The Trust for Public Land. “We appreciate Morris County and Morris Township’s commitment to conserve the Washington Valley area for the benefit of future generations.” 

The tract was purchased from Albert Rosenhaus and had long been used as gentleman’s (or family) farm.

It will be owned and managed by Morris Township. A portion of the land acquired at Vallevue Farm contains farmland utilized for a small community supported agriculture program (CSA) which the township expects to convert into a much-desired community garden.

“I’m pleased to see Morris Township continue its decades-long commitment to preservation of appropriate open space sites. In this case, there is the added benefit of knowing the property will never be extensively developed,’’ said Morris Township Mayor Daniel. W. Caffrey. 

Scenic Washington Valley Farmland Preserved in Morris Township at Vallevue Farm
Another view of the preserved Vallevue tract

The project was funded from the County’s Preservation Trust Fund as follows: $800,000 from the Municipal/Non-Profit grant program and $100,000 from the MUA’s portion of the trust fund. The remaining $700,000 came from Morris Twp. municipal trust fund. 

This site links to another Trust for Public Land assisted project, 188-acres of open space acquired from St Mary’s Abbey by Morris County and Morris Township in 2009. The new trails will provide walking access from nearby neighborhoods to these existing parklands.

The preserved tract potentially could have been subdivided into 12 residential lots. Instead, the landowner chose to sell this acreage for conservation and restrict the balance of the retained land, with their family home, to no more than three oversized lots.

This will maintain the historic footprint of the property, which was very important to the family, as well as preserve views of the property from across the valley.

“The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority is very happy to be able to provide the last piece of funding to help complete this project,” said Glenn Schweizer, MUA Executive Director.

“Much of Washington Valley was purchased by the MUA decades ago for a potential reservoir project that was later abandoned. The MUA continues to help preserve nearby environmentally sensitive property in this area, whenever possible.’’

Scenic Washington Valley Farmland Preserved in Morris Township at Vallevue Farm

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org

For more information on the Morris County preservation program, visit: http://www.morrisplanning.org/divisions/prestrust/

For more information on the Morris County MUA, visit: http://www.mcmua.com/