Press release courtesy NJConservation.org.
Long Valley preserve expands by four acres
WASHINGTON TWP. – The Drakestown Preserve in Long Valley just grew by four acres, increasing recreation opportunities and enhancing protection of the public drinking water supply.
New Jersey Conservation Foundation purchased the land near the intersection of Drakestown and Flocktown roads - which had been approved for the construction of one house - in early May.
“It’s a relatively small property, but it borders the 228-acre Drakestown Preserve, an environmentally sensitive property,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “We’re always looking for opportunities to expand our preserves by acquiring adjacent land, and adding these four acres helps protect drinking water and wildlife habitat.”
The newly-acquired property contains wooded “uplands” that buffer a wetlands complex within the Preserve. These wetlands are associated with pristine headwater streams flowing into the South Branch of the Raritan River, a source of drinking water for 1.5 million New Jersey residents.
New Jersey Conservation Foundation received a grant from the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund to cover most of the acquisition cost.
“This property contains both wetland and upland forests at the headwaters of the South Branch Raritan River,” said Morris County Freeholder Ann Grossi. “It is adjacent to a remote parcel of the South Branch Headwaters Preserve project, which was also funded with the assistance of a county open space grant. Acquisition of this property will build upon lands that are already preserved in the region and will promote passive recreational opportunities.”
The Drakestown Preserve sits high atop Schooley’s Mountain. The original 228-acre tract was acquired in December 2010 from the estate of the late Jack Borgenicht, a businessman, mountain climber and philanthropist who amassed a substantial amount of land in the Long Valley area during his 93 years.
The Drakestown Preserve is open to the public for passive recreation such as hiking and nature observation, and can be entered from Drakestown Road or Fairview Avenue. For more information, go to www.njconservation.org/