The New Jersey Conservation Foundation announced that it has purchased a 44-acre property in Washington Township. This will add to more than 1,000 acres of preserved farmland and open space already in the Schooley’s Mountain area,
The property was purchased using funds from the Morris County Preservation Trust, the Victoria Foundation, the state Green Acres program and the Washington Township Land Trust.
This is land that is the “special environmental zone” designated in the Highlands Regional Master Plan. That gives it the highest priority ranking for preservation as part of the plan's attempt to protect the region’s water supply. The South Branch headwaters, Schooley’s Mountain and Musconetcong Mountain are all recognized as “Highlands Critical Treasures” by the Highlands Coalition.
The property will be open to the public for “passive recreation” which can include hiking and nature observation. The area is habitat for several endangered and threatened species, including the bobcat, barred owl and longtail salamander.