High Marks for Green Acres in Boosting NJ Quality of Life



Normal Natural beauty: A walking tour of the Holly Farm residence, now preserved, is led by Inexperienced Acres staff users on June 3. (Photo by Jay Watson/New Jersey Conservation Foundation)
At any time surprise what the Environmentally friendly Acres symptoms are about all around New Jersey? No, they are not an ad for a amusing, outdated Tv show!
Green Acres is the name of New Jersey’s massively successful 60-year-old software of land preservation. You may perhaps not know that the New Jersey Eco-friendly Acres Method is a countrywide leader in the preservation of hundreds of 1000’s of acres of parks, open up space, historic landscapes and flood-inclined attributes.
How considerably of a chief is New Jersey? A modern research when compared the 50 states and observed that ours is next only to Alaska in the share of its full land mass set aside for parks and wildlife!
The review completed by outside gear company CLIQ Merchandise uncovered that Alaska – which is extra than 77 moments the dimensions of New Jersey – has 36.4% of its land committed to parks and wildlife. New Jersey, the nation’s fourth smallest and most urbanized point out, has 20.1%. Driving New Jersey in the prime 5 are California, with 19.7% of land committed to parks and wildlife Hawaii, 17.7% and Washington, 13.1%.
The New Jersey numbers, nevertheless, do not involve the state’s Farmland Preservation System, also a countrywide success story. Included jointly, New Jersey has preserved over 30% of its land foundation.
The New Jersey Green Acres Application celebrated two milestones previously this month. The very first was the preservation of 1,400 attractive acres in Cumberland County – the fruits of additional than 30 decades of advocacy to block a multitude of enhancement proposals that would have ruined the area’s pristine river and forest ecosystem. This Pine Barrens ecological jewel, recognised as the Holly Farm, has the greatest concentration of exceptional species in New Jersey and is now portion of the state’s Menantico Ponds Wildlife Management Area. The second celebrated milestone was the 60th anniversary of the Inexperienced Acres Method itself.
Eco-friendly Acres was established on June 3, 1961 – approximately a decade right before the initial Earth Working day – when then-Gov. Robert B. Meyner signed the initial Inexperienced Acres Bond Act, effortlessly handed by New Jersey voters later on that very same calendar year.
“As one particular of the initial condition land acquisition programs, Green Acres was groundbreaking in 1961 and is now the longest-operating continuous program of its form in the nation, preserving approximately 700,000 acres of land and hundreds of recreation services across New Jersey,” mentioned Shawn M. LaTourette, performing commissioner of the New Jersey Division of Environmental Security.
Illustrations of early purchases include things like 10,000 acres for Wawayanda Point out Park in Sussex County, almost 5,000 acres for the Assunpink Wildlife Management Place in Monmouth and Mercer counties, and 3,000 acres of cranberry and blueberry fields in the Pine Barrens of Burlington and Ocean counties, now section of Brendan Byrne Condition Forest. Other acquisitions involved over 280 acres for Liberty Condition Park in Hudson County and 8,000 acres in Higher Township, Cape May perhaps County.
New Jersey’s software has proved wildly prosperous and well known. Considering the fact that 1961, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly to approve a dozen subsequent ballot steps to keep on its funding. Much more a short while ago, in 2014, voters endorsed a constitutional modification to establish a focused and everlasting supply of funding – a portion of the state’s corporate organization tax – for land preservation.
The administrator of the Eco-friendly Acres Software, Martha Sullivan Sapp, is the daughter of the to start with commissioner of the Section of Environmental Safety, the late Richard J. Sullivan. “As we rejoice the 60th anniversary of the initially Environmentally friendly Acres bond act, we thank New Jersey people for consistently supporting funding to increase condition parks and forests, preserve wildlife administration areas, make local parks in cities and towns throughout the point out, and considerably more,” she claimed. “Our purpose has been and will keep on being furnishing a little something for absolutely everyone.”
And she is suitable. New Jersey has everything from city parks to remote wilderness areas, from the mountains to the seashores, and almost everything in amongst. New Jersey has 51 condition parks, forests, recreation regions and historic web-sites, with places in every county. Between the most frequented are Liberty Condition Park, Island Seaside State Park, High Level State Park, D&R Canal State Park, Cape May Point Condition Park and, proper here on Extended Seaside Island, Barnegat Lighthouse Point out Park.
New Jersey also has 124 wildlife management locations – preserved lands retained typically in their normal state, with fewer amenities than parks. Most of New Jersey’s parks and wildlife management parts have been made or expanded via the Eco-friendly Acres Plan.
The program can obtain lands straight, but it also provides grants to municipal and county governments, and conservation nonprofits, to purchase land for long-lasting protection. Initiatives can take decades, or even many years, to occur to fruition, like the most latest obtain of the Holly Farm.
Not only do parks and preserved open spaces protect New Jersey’s significant excellent of lifestyle, they also provide economic gains. The CLIQ examine identified that New Jersey’s parks and wildlife lands generated outside recreational functions valued at $1,320 per capita. With about 9 million citizens dwelling in New Jersey, which is a good deal of bucks.
Congratulations to Green Acres on the Holly Farm acquisition! It is named for an old orchard on the residence, but almost all of the land is normal forest among the pristine waterways of the Menantico Creek and Manumuskin River. And a incredibly special thank-you to the wonderful crew at the Eco-friendly Acres Software for all of their do the job in excess of 60 decades to make New Jersey a special location!
Michele S. Byers is executive director of the New Jersey Conservation Basis, based in Far Hills, N.J.

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