Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Additional Sourland Mountain Land Purchased

Always wonderful to hear of new preservation in the Sourland Mountain region.

This originally appeared in the Hunterdon County Democrat.

EAST AMWELL TWP. — The township is buying open space in two areas for conservation and to expand trail networks. Both sets of properties are wooded.

The Township Committee unanimously approved the acquisitions this month of two lots on South Hill Road, the Polhemus properties, and two at the intersection of Rocktown and Mountain Roads, the Wiedemer properties.

Each set of properties adds about 10 acres to existing public lands for passive recreation.
The Polhemus properties cost $49,200 and the cost is being split with D&R Greenway Land Trust. Professional fees are an additional $2,000, the township reported.

These lots will become part of the Cat Tail Brook Preserve in the Sourland Mountains.
Glorianne Robbi, township Farmland and Open Space Preservation Committee chairwoman, said that D&R Greenway has been preserving land for the Cat Tail Brook Preserve for many years and the Polhemus properties were particularly attractive.

“They are completely wooded,” she said. “And they haven’t been logged in a long time.”

Therefore they provide uninterrupted forest canopy for birds. The Polhemus properties are land-locked, near Lindbergh Road.

The Wiedemer properties are across Rocktown Road from the Omick Preserve, which started with 63 acres and was previously expanded this year with the purchase of the 23-acre Lang property.

The original Omick tract fronted on Route 31, said Robbi, and the township wanted safer access. Visitors now may park on Rocktown Road to enter the preserve, but Robbi said the township has applied for a state grant to build a small parking area, and should receive word in the spring.

She said that acquiring the Wiedemer property will allow expansion of the Omick Preserve’s trails, which have been cut by township and D&R Greenway volunteers. The Wiedemer property is costing $180,000, plus $5,000 in professional costs. Half of that will be covered by state Green Acres grant money, said Robbi.

The township’s share of both properties will be paid from the open space trust fund.
Township property owners pay a dedicated open space tax of 4 cents per $100 of assessed value.

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