Monday, September 19, 2011

More Acreage Added to Montgomery's Cherry Brook Preserve


MONTGOMERY — The township has purchased a 16-acre forested parcel that completes the Cherry Brook Preserve in southern Montgomery. The property is surrounded by township-owned open space. This acquisition increases the acreage of the Cherry Brook Preserve to over 375 acres of contiguous open space.

   ”I am pleased to see that even in this economic downturn there is a continuing bi-partisan commitment to open space preservation,” said Mayor Mark Caliguire. “Over one third of the land in Montgomery is preserved as either public or private open space — that is critical to the character and quality of life in our town. We will continue to move forward when the money is there and when the deal is right to continue this preservation effort.”

   The total purchase price for this property was $110,000. The Montgomery Friends of Open Space assisted Montgomery Township with this acquisition, contributing $30,000 which was provided by a funding partner, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program. Montgomery Friends of Open Space own a 27 percent interest in the property.

   ”Montgomery Friends are proud to have partnered with Montgomery Township on acquiring this well-positioned piece of open space,” said Mary Penney, director of Montgomery Friends of Open Space.

   Cherry Brook Preserve is one of the largest forest complexes in the vicinity. Open Space Chairman Clem Fiori underscored the ecological significance of this purchase,
   ”We’ve been working on completing this forest preserve since 1995. Larger blocks of uninterrupted forest canopy are critically important today due to the decline in populations of migratory songbirds and other deep forest species. Unfragmented forest can provide them with the breeding habitat they need,” he said.

   Fragmenting forest into smaller sections creates more “edge” habitat, the boundary between forest and field. This increases impacts from species which thrive “on the edge” such as deer which over-browse and destroy the forest understory and nest predators, such as raccoons.

   The Montgomery Open Space Committee has its eye on the future. This parcel is directly adjacent to a 25-acre former farm field where volunteers have undertaken a reforestation project. Montgomery Township received a grant in 2007 from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and has planted over 1,000 trees and shrubs, which will foster ecological succession to forest, filling in this hole in the canopy.

   The Cherry Brook Preserve also contains exceptional resource value forested wetlands that are home to certain uncommon species of amphibians. The southern border of the new parcel is formed by a tributary of the Cherry Brook. The addition of this parcel to preserved open space will enhance surface water quality and aid stream protection.

   ”Look at some of the beautiful preserved parcels in town and imagine what things would have been like if we had not moved aggressively to preserve them,” said Mayor Caliguire.

   Cherry Brook Preserve contains an extensive recreational pathway system accessible from Birchwood Drive and the end of Linton Drive on Cherry Valley Road, as well as Cherry Brook Road across from the Waldorf School. For pathways maps, see “Recreation” at or go to

   Landowners interested in preserving their property or in participating in open space preservation as a conservation buyer should contact Lauren Wasilauski, Montgomery’s Open Space Coordinator, at 908-359-8211.

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