Friday, April 7th, 2017
JOINT EFFORT OF FREEHOLDERS, BOROUGH, COUNTY MUA, AND THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND
The Trust for Public Land, Kinnelon Borough and the Morris County Board of Freeholders are announcing the acquisition of 63 acres of natural land in Kinnelon, which has taken ownership of the property for use as public open space in the North Jersey Highlands.
The $1.6 million acquisition, facilitated by the Trust for Public Land, will help protect drinking water and provide new recreation opportunities for local residents and visitors to North New Jersey.
A majority of funding came from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space Preservation Program. Kinnelon also provided $150,000 from its open space fund and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority added $100,000.
A second acquisition of an additional 114 acres in this section of Kinnelon, including Untermeyer Lake, is pending. The Trust for Public Land was awarded a $1.7 million county grant for both Kinnelon projects in 2016: http://planning.morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Untermeyer-Lake.pdf
“Our mission is to protect land for people and this is a great example because it protects drinking water, and also provides more land for recreation for people in New Jersey,” said Anthony Cucchi, NJ State Director of The Trust for Public Land.
“Preserving great natural tracts like this is why residents of Morris County have long supported our open space preservation program,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers. “This purchase protects the environment, offers great recreational opportunities, and helps maintain a high quality of life for our residents, making Morris County a perfect place to live and work.’’
The preserved 63-acre tract connects to Pequannock’s Mountainside Park to the east. It also compliments a protected area of nearly 1,000 acres known as the Waughaw Mountain Greenway, which is a Morris County Park Commission initiative.
The property is a high groundwater recharge area in the New Jersey Highlands, which provides drinking water for millions of New Jersey’s families. It consists of a mature mixed hardwood forest, steep slopes and some freshwater wetlands, and offers diverse habitat that supports a variety of state threatened and endangered species
The property is what remained after the Highlands Act curtailed a multi-phased subdivision of high-end homes on large lots in this section of Kinnelon. Nine additional homes known as Badanco Heights Section VI were planned for these 63 acres.
“The borough is a partner in purchasing this property for open space preservation, which will maintain Kinnelon’s natural beauty and quality of life,’’ said Kinnelon Mayor Bob Collins. “It also may provide needed mitigation, required by state law, to allow us to proceed on a plan to build athletic fields and a community center at another location.’’
The property can be accessed through Mountainside Park in Pequannock Township or off Denise Drive in Kinnelon.
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. For more information on The Trust for Public Land, visit www.tpl.org.