New Public Access to Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area

May 11, 2011
Boonton Township

Sixty-one undeveloped acres along scenic Rockaway Valley Road in Boonton Township, New Jersey, have been conserved and will offer new public access to Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, The Trust for Public Land, the State of New Jersey, Morris County, and the Township announced today. With the support of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the forested property will be managed by the Morris County Park Commission as parkland for hiking, horseback riding, and other passive public use.

Conserving the land, known as Ellinwood Forest, was a priority for the partners. The New Jersey office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, negotiated an agreement to protect the property as an addition to a network of more than 3,000 acres of protected land.

"Morris County has made conservation areas such as Pyramid Mountain a priority, and this addition will be terrific public parkland and sustain water and habitat resources," said Anthony Cucchi, TPL's New Jersey director. "Ellinwood Forest marks the 13th land acquisition project that TPL has accomplished in partnership with Morris County and we continue to be inspired by the County's commitment to link existing protected areas with newly protected lands like this one."

The majority of funding for the $1.2 million purchase price came from Morris County. The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders provided $850,000 through a grant from the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund. Additionally, $150,000 came from the Morris County Park Commission. $200,000 in New Jersey Green Acres funding came through Boonton Township as a Planning Incentive Grant and The Trust for Public Land as a non-profit conservation grant.

"By preserving this land and keeping it green, we've enabled its natural beauty to be enjoyed by generations of citizens for years to come," said Morris County Freeholder Director William Chegwidden.

"With this acquisition, the park will have nearly 1,500 acres preserved, providing the public an opportunity to interact with the areas significant natural resources, learn about the local historic legacy and hike some of the best trails in the region," David Helmer, Executive Director, Morris County Park Commission.

"We are grateful to Morris County Preservation Trust, the County Freeholders, Boonton Township, and New Jersey's state Green Acres program, without which this opportunity would have been lost," said Philip Nicholas, TPL Project Manager.

This year the Green Acres Program celebrates its 50th anniversary. "The Green Acres Program is proud to be a partner in this project," said Rich Boornazian, Administrator of the Green Acres Program. "The Ellinwood acquisition demonstrates how collaborations are essential to the successful expansion of popular regional parks and conservation areas."

"Residents of Boonton Township cherish our open space and we are very pleased to be able to preserve the Ellinwood Forest. We are proud to be part of such a wonderful partnership that made this preservation a reality," said Boonton Township Mayor Michele Rankin.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect nearly 3 million acres nationwide, including more than 24,000 acres in New Jersey. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.