One benefit to Election Season: A lot of these deals move through much quicker, as to help the ruling party look better. When it comes to acres, I'll take it!
Post originally appeared on Ocean County Family & Community News:
The $1.1 million agreement with the Scout Council will preserve the
Joseph A. Citta Boy Scout Reservation Camp in Ocean Township, which
contains camping facilities used by the Boy Scouts and many other
outdoor user groups. The property, which offers public hiking trails,
also is environmentally important, containing Pine Barrens habitat in
the headwaters of the Oyster Creek, which is a tributary to Barnegat
The preserved land will link Ocean County’s Wells Mill Park to other
preserve land in the Forked River Mountains, an ecologically unique area
of rolling forests in the Pinelands National Reserve. The Scouts will
be able to continue to own and manage the camp for camping and
recreational use, and in turn have extinguished their development rights
on the property while agreeing to providing a public trail system
linking other open space.
As part of the 544-acre preservation deal, the Conservation
Foundation assigned to the DEP an 84-acre conservation easement that it
held since the 1970s on a portion of the Citta Camp. This acreage was
included in the purchase agreement at no cost to the state.
This 544-acre easement acquisition brings the state’s total of
preserved land in the Barnegat Bay watershed to 2,895 acres since
Governor Christie announced his comprehensive 10-point Barnegat Bay
restoration plan in December of 2010.
“New Jersey Conservation Foundation is pleased to play a role in the
preservation of the Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation,” said Michele S.
Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “The
Boy Scouts had the foresight to preserve 84 acres of the camp with New
Jersey Conservation Foundation back in 1979, and we congratulate them
and the Department of Environmental Protection for now preserving the
Byers noted that over the past 30 years, New Jersey Conservation
Foundation and the DEP have worked together, and with other partners, to
preserve thousands of acres in the Forked River Mountain area of Ocean
and Lacey townships.
The easement purchase is financed by $1.1 million in voter-approved
state Green Acres Program funds. Ocean County provided funding for the
survey work needed for the acquisition.
Stewardship of this easement will be provided by DEP’s Green Acres
Program and the Division of Parks and Forestry as part of Brendan T.
Byrne State Forest. The trails through the Boy Scout Camp will be an
expansion of the trail system at Wells Mill County Park and open for
Commissioner Martin first announced a pending deal for the Citta Camp
in December, 2011 at an event to mark the first anniversary of Governor
Christie’s Barnegat Bay plan. At that time the agreement called for a
436-acre easement purchase. But detailed surveying of the Scout
Council’s tract found it to be much larger, resulting in a 544-acres
easement purchase, with an adjusted extra cost of $56,681.