The Mission of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission is to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands National Reserve, and to encourage compatible economic and other human activities consistent with that purpose.
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The New Jersey Pinelands is truly a special place. Its vast unbroken forests of pine, oak and cedar make the Pinelands the largest tract of open space on the mid-Atlantic coast, yet it is found in the most urbanized state in the nation.
Here a visitor can search shady cedar swamps for the rare curly grass fern or hike through a forest of "pygmy" pines no taller than a man. Slow moving streams fed by a huge underground aquifer system supply the marshes and bays of southern New Jersey with some of the cleanest water in the world.
In 1978 and 1979 Congress and the State of New Jersey passed legislation to protect the Pinelands and its unique natural and cultural resources.
The Pinelands is now our country's first National Reserve. In 1983, the Pinelands was designated a Biosphere Reserve by the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This designation means, simply, that the Pinelands is an example of the world's major ecosystem types. It's really quite a place, and it's right here in New Jersey!
Today, the Pinelands is protected and its future development guided by the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan. The plan is administered by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission in cooperation with units of local, state and federal governments.