Green Acres celebrates the preservation of nearly 1,500 acres in the Forked River Mountains, an area of the New Jersey Pine Barrens in Lacey and Ocean townships, Ocean County.
Green Acres provided grant funding to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to help purchase 617 acres from the Interboro Holding Company and will be providing funding to Ocean County to acquire a nearby 877 acre property known as the Horner Tract.
“The Interboro property is virtually pristine, encompassing classic Pinelands pitch pine and scrub oak forest studded with beautiful and ecologically important cedar swamps,” DEP Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello said. “The DEP is proud to be playing such a pivotal role in the preservation of this truly special place.”
New Jersey Conservation Foundation's preservation efforts in the Forked River Mountains are aimed at protecting the ecological integrity of the wilderness area. This acquisition brings their total holdings in the Forked River Mountains region to nearly 4,000 acres.
Funding and assistance for the Interboro acquisition also came from the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust, the Pinelands Commission's Pinelands Conservation Fund, the Victoria Foundation and Conservation Resources Inc.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provided more than $1 million toward the purchase. The DEP's Office of Natural Resource Restoration secured the money as part of Natural Resource Damage settlement with Rohm and Haas Corp. involving the Woodland Township Route 72 and Route 538 Superfund sites in Burlington County.
The Forked River Mountains, two gravelly hills that rise to 180 feet amid otherwise flat terrain, are at the heart of a 20,000–acre Pine Barrens wilderness that has remained relatively unchanged in the last 40 years due to preservation efforts by the conservation community, many funded by Green Acres.
The headwaters of three watersheds — the Cedar Creek, Forked River and Oyster Creek — originate in the Forked River Mountains area and flow into Barnegat Bay. The largely undisturbed land features both pitch pine upland forests and Atlantic White Cedar swamps, both of which are home to rare and endangered plant and animal species.
(Photo and map courtesy of New Jersey Conservation Foundation)