Cape May County Property Conserved as Natural Area

CAPE MAY COUNTY, NJ, 12/22/2009: A private wooded property adjacent to New Jersey Audubon Society’s Fulling Mill Sanctuary has been protected as public open space, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

The New Jersey office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, facilitated the purchase of the property for Cape May County. At a little more than 13 acres, the property was being considered for subdivision into three developable lots, but proximity to existing habitat and open space prompted the county to consider a conservation solution. The effort is TPL’s first in Cape May County.

“TPL is grateful for the chance to help protect this land, which will enhance several natural Cape May County assets with one project,” said Cindy Roberts, TPL senior project manager.

The property is habitat for many important threatened species, including barred owl,red-shouldered hawk, and the southern gray treefrog, and is within a critical migratory raptor area, according to New Jersey’s Wildlife Action Plan.

“New Jersey Audubon applauds the outstanding work of The Trust Public Land and Cape May County to preserve this ecological gem,” said Eric Stiles, New Jersey Audubon Society Vice President for Conservation and Stewardship. “Wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife watching, hunting, and fishing, is a critical economic juggernaut in the greater Cape May region. Open space is the keystone to this thriving and growing tourism sector.”

The property sits to the east of the Villas community, a densely developed area of Lower Township. The public has used an existing trail through the property to access the network of vacant land that exists behind the property, totaling approximately 3,100 acres, including the New Jersey Audubon Society’s Fulling Mill Sanctuary, Cape May County Airport lands, Cape May County Park South, and the Bayshore Sportsman Club. The trail will remain.

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.