Office of the Governor
“Celebrates New Jersey” in Burlington County
Renames Lebanon State Forest in honor of former
Governor Brendan Byrne and eats dinner at Fort Dix
(New Lisbon) – Celebrating New Jersey in Burlington County, Governor James E. McGreevey today signed an Executive Order renaming Lebanon State Forest the “Brendan T. Byrne State Forest” in recognition of the former Governor’s contributions to protecting the Pinelands National Reserve. Later in the day, the Governor McGreevey will eat dinner with troops at Fort Dix.
“Governor Byrne has long been one of the major forces behind the protection of the New Jersey Pinelands,” McGreevey said. “He signed the Pinelands Preservation Act in 1979, creating the Nation’s first National Reserve, and has consistently been a strong advocate of protecting this natural resource.”
Covering 1.1 million acres and occupying 22 percent of New Jersey’s land area, the Pinelands are home to globally-rare wildlife communities and are the largest body of open space between Boston and Richmond on the East Coast. Aquifers underlying the Pinelands contain over 17 trillion gallons of water, a major resource for South Jersey residents.”
At a news conference with Governor Byrne and Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell, McGreevey signed the Executive Order, which also, for the first time, delineates the Pinelands region and the Brendan T. Byrne Forest on State of New Jersey maps.
“By identifying the Pinelands on State maps, we will underscore the value the region provides for all New Jerseyans as a source of clean drinking water and as an area with numerous recreational opportunities,” McGreevey said. “As Governor, I will continue Governor Byrne’s legacy of promoting and preserving the Pinelands for future generations.”
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has added the boundaries of the Pinelands and Brendan T. Byrne State Forest designation to State maps.
The newly renamed Brendan T. Byrne State Forest covers more than 34,000 acres in the center of the Pinelands region.
"Because of Governor Byrne's leadership to protect the Pinelands, our state continues to enjoy one the most valuable natural resource areas in the country," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "New Jersey once again has a strong environmental leader in Governor McGreevey who has clearly demonstrated his commitment to safeguard and strengthen protections of our environment and natural resources for future generations."
The forest contains several hiking trails and recreational facilities, as well as the historic village of Whitesbog, a major cranberry and blueberry producing community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. New Jersey’s only remaining population of the endangered American Chaffseed is found in the forest, along with the federally threatened swamp pink and other endangered plant species.
Brendan T. Byrne State Forest is also home of the Pinelands Institute for Natural and Environmental Studies, one of the first established schools of conservation education in the world.
THANKS TROOPS AT FT. DIX DURING DINNER
Later in the day, the Governor will dine with approximately 170 troops from the New Jersey National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Army National Guard, and the Command Group Air at Fort Dix.
Some of these troops served overseas in Afghanistan in the War on Terrorism, as well as at New Jersey’s three airports – Newark, Atlantic City, Trenton-Mercer. The National Guard has also provided security the bridges and tunnels crossing into New York City, and at nuclear power plants.
“Through your continuing service to our state and nation you have earned our undying respect and gratitude,” said Governor McGreevey. “I will continue to be there for you as Governor, today and in the future.”
“Celebrate New Jersey” is a 10-day tour throughout the State during which the Governor will celebrate New Jersey’s unique culture and heritage, while continuing to advance his Administration’s commitment to investing in New Jersey’s future through educational and economic development initiatives. “Celebrate New Jersey” will run through Wednesday, July 31st and will include stops in all 21 counties.
Today, the Governor also visited Camden and Ocean Counties and will “Celebrate New Jersey” in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties tomorrow.