Addition to Morristown Historical Park (NJ)

Morristown, New Jersey 8/28/2003: TPL protected nine acres within the Tempe Wick Road National Historic District as a buffer for the Morristown National Historic Park in Harding Township. The land, known as Jockey Hollow Meadow, will buffer the park’s Jockey Hollow Encampment from residential development, provide a new site location for park office headquarters, and offer a critical new linkage point for Patriot’s Path, a network of bicycling, hiking, and equestrian paths and trails.

The Trust for Public Land, which has acquired other critical parcels for the Morristown National Historical Park in the past, stepped in to purchase Jockey Hollow Meadow from an estate, which needed to dispose of the property quickly. The estate had received interest from developers who planned to build on the Meadow facing Tempe Wick Road. After a twelve-month effort, TPL was able to raise a $340,000 shortfall between the purchase price and available public funds through the National Park Service (NPS).

“TPL is proud to have worked together with our funding partners to ensure the permanent protection of a parcel that was once imminently threatened for development but now will become a public resource,” said Terrence Nolan, TPL project manager for the Highlands region.

Funding for the $1.5 million purchase price came from the National Park Service, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Johanette Wallerstein Institute, and area residents who rallied to raise funds for the protection of the property. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in securing the NPS funds to support this acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“We can’t thank Congressman Frelinghuysen enough for his unwavering support to see critical lands like this protected for future generations,” said Nolan. “The federal dollars were then leveraged with private funds, an important component that makes conservation efforts throughout New Jersey possible.”

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has been a major contributor to land conservation in the New Jersey Highlands region for many years and named the Trust for Public Land co-manager, along with The Nature Conservancy, of an $8 million matching grant to protect ecologically significant landscapes in New Jersey.

The Morristown National Historical Park is an oasis of green, preserving both the natural resources and cultural heritage of Morris County, where the last patches of unprotected open space are under imminent threat of development. The park, established in 1933 as the nation’s first national historical park, contains more than 1,700 acres of woodland, fields and floodplain. It is home to more than 120 bird species at various times throughout the year. The Jockey Hollow Meadow property provides critical habitat for ground nesting birds and tall grass songbirds.

Morristown National Historical Park preserves sites in the Morristown, New Jersey area occupied by General George Washington and the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War from 1779-1780. Morristown National Historical Park offers over 27 miles of hiking trails that cross through the New York Brigade area and the New Jersey Brigade areas, located in the Jockey Hollow Unit of the park.

In addition to enhancing the current historical park, and protecting archaeological resources from the encampment period, the site offers wonderful passive recreational opportunities such as hiking, picnicking and bird watching. The property’s strategic location will permit a safer crossing for an extension of Patriot’s Path across Tempe Wick Road to link with the New Jersey Brigade.

“I’m very pleased with the acquisition of this parcel because it provides an important connection between the Jockey Hollow and the adjacent Girl Scout Camp. This will provide a much safer route for hikers,” said Michael D. Henderson, Morristown National Historical Park superintendent. “Many thanks to the Trust for Public Land, without whom we could not have closed this deal.”

Jockey Hollow Meadow is an important spot within a larger expanse of more than 3,000 acres of protected open space in the Highlands region, including Jockey Hollow, Lewis Morris County Park, and New Jersey Audubon’s Schermann-Hoffman Sanctuaries. Additionally, the property’s close proximity to General Hand’s Brigade Encampment suggests that there may be extremely significant archaeological finds yet to be uncovered on the site.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.5 million acres of land nationwide, including more than 18,000 acres in New Jersey. TPL, with its New Jersey Field Office in Morristown, has been active in the protection of the Highlands for more than a decade. To date, TPL has helped protect approximately 27,000 acres in the New York – New Jersey Highlands. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.