Coastal Landmark Preserved (NJ)

Ocean County, NJ, 1/6/1999: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today announced its acquisition of 365 acres of salt marsh, woods, and wetlands on Good Luck Point in Berkeley Township. Boaters have long considered Good Luck Point one of the most significant landmarks on the New Jersey shoreline due to its location at the mouth of the Toms River.

Working on behalf of Ocean County, the national conservation group negotiated the $771,250 purchase from Lifetime Homes, a private development company that had previously planned to build several hundred housing units on the Barnegat Bay property. The acquisition was the second purchase funded by the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund, a dedicated land acquisition fund established by County voters in 1997. Ocean County will manage most of the land as wildlife habitat, but is planning some public access to the waterfront portion of the property.

“Thanks to the foresight of its public officials and citizens, Ocean County is reaping the benefits of having its own land acquisition fund,” said John Klevins, the TPL project manager who negotiated the purchase. “This project would not have happened without County funding.” In 1997, TPL staff helped County officials craft and build support for the Fund, which generates more than $4 million in acquisition funding each year. “The Good Luck Point area has already seen significant development, and was threatened with a lot more,” added Klevins. “This purchase effectively puts a stop to further development on the Point.”

Good Luck Point lies in the midst of a chain of undeveloped lands along the western shore of Barnegat Bay. This “emerald necklace” includes Sloop Creek, Maple Creek, and Sands Point Harbor, which have also benefitted from TPL preservation efforts. The Good Luck Point area is an important bird migration and wintering spot along the Atlantic Flyway. Birds found at the site include the endangered peregrine falcon and threatened American bittern, bald eagle, and osprey. The land purchased comprises salt marshes, woods and freshwater wetlands that include an Atlantic white cedar swamp. Ocean County is now working on a long-term habitat management plan for the land, and plans to create trails for low-intensity recreation on the waterfront portion of the property.

“The Trust for Public Land is doing great things for Ocean County,” said County Freeholder John Bartlett. “This property would be well worth the money just to give our residents access to the waterfront; the fact that we’re also conserving wildlife habitat makes the purchase an even better investment.” On the Good Luck Point project, TPL worked closely with the Trust Fund’s Advisory Committee, chaired by John Peterson, to put together the funding package.

Since 1994, the Trust for Public Land’s Barnegat Bay Initiative has been protecting watershed, habitat, and recreational land in Ocean County’s rapidly-developing Barnegat Bay watershed. The Trust for Public Land has so far permanently protected 36 individual properties in the watershed totaling almost 5,500 acres. In addition to land acquisition, the Initiative has sponsored intensive scientific research, two publically-released studies, and yearly grants to local conservation groups.