Posted Thursday, January 10th, 2013

A $5.1 million grant from the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund has helped to preserve Primrose Farm Estates, a 113-acre property off Brook Drive in Harding Township.

The property, previously approved for a 13-lot residential development, was protected through a partnership that included the county, the municipality and several local nonprofits, and is now open to the public.

The property’s proximity to Harding Township’s Barrett Field will let trails be developed so the public can safely park and enter the property for hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.

Besides the county’s Open Space Trust, funding for the project also came from a Harding Land Trust Green Acres grant, a Harding Township Green Acres grant, the Harding Township Open Space Trust Fund, a Trust for Public Land Green Acres grant, the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority and a Great Swamp Watershed Association Green Acres grant.

Most of the site, approximately 97 acres, will now be owned and managed by the Harding Land Trust, which will maintain some of the existing farm fields and possibly restore others while developing a trail network for public use.

The Morris County MUA will place its conservation easement on the Harding Land Trust portion of the property because of the watershed value of its location between the Primrose Brook and the Passaic River.

Harding Township accepted 16 acres for future expansion of the adjacent ball fields at Barrett Park.