Originally appeared on DailyRecord.com.
In June, Montville Township purchased and preserved 36 acres known as “Market Place” along River Road across from Robert Lazar Middle School; in July The Land Conservancy purchased the 12-acre Heart of the Farny Highlands property in Rockaway Township.
The Montville property will be utilized for flood storage protection and hiking; it was purchased with a $1.35 million grant from the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund and is the 17th property Montville Township preserved since the inception of its open space program in 1990, which includes 1,100 acres.
“The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is proud of its accomplishments in Montville Township,” said Linda Gloshinski, land preservation specialist with The Land Conservancy. “From protecting the Towaco Aquifer, to creating new parks for ball fields, to expanding the protected lands along the Rockaway River, the Market Place property will further enhance the open space and recreational opportunities available to Township residents.”
The site has access points at River Road and Old Changebridge Road. The township decided to preserve the space instead of developing it with 14 single-family houses after considering the impact on water quality and flood protection, including the riparian corridor of Crooked Brook, which traverses the eastern portion of the site.
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey purchased the Farny Highlands in Roxbury with funds provided by the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority and Morris County Park Commission. The property lies within a 35,000-acre region of watershed land and is surrounded by more than 8,000 acres of public parkland and will be owned and managed by the Park Commission.
The property is situated on the eastern border of Rockaway Township and Kinnelon Borough within the Highland’s Preservation Area. It is located within 300 feet of the Split Rock Reservoir and an unnamed tributary to the Timber Brook runs through the southern portion of the lot and the property. The parcel is completely forested and according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, offers suitable habitat for bobcat, Coopers Hawk and foraging for great blue heron.
The property was previously owned by the Timothy family who had owned it since the 1990s and approached the conservancy about preservation options in 2011.
“We thank Lynne Timothy for her foresight in preserving this critical property,” said conservancy President David Epstein. “Lynne’s commitment to conservation has helped to make New Jersey is a better place to live.”
Dave Helmer, executive director, Morris County Park Commission said the preservation of the Timothy property will provide the final necessary link connecting the two arms of the 1,498-acre Silas Condict County Park.
“Without the support of the residents and businesses of Morris County, open space preservation projects like this one would not occur,” he said.
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is headquarters in Montville Township on the 44-acre WildAcres preserve. The Fred Hierwarter WildAcres Trail consists of three walking trails, of varying difficulty, where hikers can enjoy the scenic vistas and experience the property’s varied wildlife habitat. WildAcres Garden features native plants and has been certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.