AMC Celebrates Highlands Success

Exploring the Tract
The AMC and the Highlands Coalition joined with partners to celebrate the conservation of 835 pristine acres of open space in New Jersey, made possible with almost $2 million in federal Highlands Conservation Act dollars. The New Jersey Highlands provide clean drinking water supplies to over five and half million residents of the state and the protection of this key parcel will not only permanently protect one of the highest valued conservation areas in the region, but will also provide expanded recreational opportunities for residents and families, including wildlife watchers, hikers, and sportsman.

The Highlands Conservation Act, passed in 2004, is funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses funds from offshore oil and gas leasing revenues to help protect the most important parks and open space in the country. Through the federal Highlands program, New Jersey has protected over 1,200 acres and leveraged an average match of 6 dollars for every federal dollar invested.

Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen
Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, who sponsored the Highlands Conservation Act and has been a strong voice in the protection the region's natural and recreational resources, attended the celebration. "The Federal Highlands Conservation Act was established in 2004 for just this purpose - to preserve environmentally sensitive areas that sit amid congestion of northern New Jersey's densely popular suburban areas," said Frelinghuysen.

Senators Mendendez and Lautenberg also voiced their support for the project. Both have been stalwart supporters of federal funding through the Highlands Act and Land and Water Conservation Fund to help protect New Jersey's parks, forests, and open space.

A beaver pond on the property
This acquisition in Jefferson Township, Morris County, will add about 650 acres to the State of New Jersey's Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area, with an additional 188 acres to be owned and managed by the Township. The celebration was hosted by the Trust for Public Land, and featured Congressman Frelinghuysen, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Assistant Commissioner Rich Boornazian, Morris County Freeholder Ann F. Grossi, Jefferson Mayor Russell Felter, and other key partners.

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