Final 209 Acres on Good Luck Pt. Preserved (NJ)
Berkeley, NJ, 2/28/2005 – The nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today the protection of 209 acres of forested wetlands and uplands adjacent to properties owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ocean County on Good Luck Point. TPL purchased the land with a federal Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant and donated it to the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust to expand their existing preserve. The land will be managed by Ocean County as wildlife habitat but will allow public access for passive recreation on the existing trails throughout the property. Conservation of the site will contribute to the preservation of the water quality of the Barnegat Bay.
“This area was outlined in our Century Plan as a priority for protection and it was the last large parcel on Good Luck Point. Seizing this opportunity to preserve it is far better than any other alternative use, which may have compromised the bay and surrounding environment,” said Kathy Haake, project manager for the Trust for Public Land.
“Ocean County is pleased to partner with the Trust for Public Land in this acquisition,” said Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Program. “As a result of this action, more than 700 acres in the Good Luck Point area is now under county ownership. This acquisition helps to buffer the county’s purchase of the Lifetime Homes tract, one of the first tracts of land preserved under the county’s Natural Lands program.”
The property was owned by Berkeley Township and was being considered for auction when TPL offered to buy it.
“Although they no longer wished to own the land, Berkeley township recognized the importance of its preservation and we appreciate them working with us,” said Haake.
Berkeley Township Mayor, Jason Varano said “The Berkeley Township Council and I wish to thank the Trust for Public Land for helping us to preserve yet another ecologically important park of Berkeley Township. Acquisitions such as this will go a long way to maintaining the quality of life we now enjoy in Berkeley Township for future generations to come.
” This is TPL’s third project to protect the natural and historic resources of Good Luck Point on Barnegat Bay. In 1999, TPL worked with the county and purchased 365 acres from Lifetime Homes, a private development company that planned to build several hundred housing units on the property. In 2003, the organization purchased 211 acres from AT&T and donated the land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for addition to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. The land is known as the “pole farm” because of the presence of hundreds of poles used for antennas once necessary for trans-Atlantic communication. The poles are now popular bird nesting spots.
These projects, along with a 126-acre Ocean County acquisition in 2000, comprise more than 900 acres of contiguous protected land, including woodland with hiking trails, tidal marsh habitat, and scenic views across the Barnegat Bay, all in one of the fastest growing parts of the state.
Good Luck Point is an important bird migration and wintering spot along the Atlantic Flyway. It provides a forested island for resting and feeding along this heavily developed migratory route of many neotropical birds. Due to abundant food in the Bay and tidal saltmarsh, herons, peregrine falcon, and osprey frequent the area.
The acquisition includes the railroad right-of-way used by the Pennsylvania Railroad to carry passengers and freight across the Bay into Seaside Park from 1881 until 1946. The right-of-way extends from the woodlands through the salt marsh to the edge of the bay and provides excellent bird watching opportunities.
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. Good Luck Point lies in the midst of a chain of undeveloped lands along the western shore of Barnegat Bay. This “emerald necklace” including Sloop Creek, Maple Creek, and other properties as far south as Sands Point Harbor, have also benefited from TPL preservation efforts.
Since 1990, when Congress passed the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working with coastal states to acquire, restore, manage, or enhance coastal wetlands through a matching grants program. To date, $139 million in grant monies have been awarded and about 167,000 acres of coastal wetlands have, or will be, acquired, protected, or restored.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) 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. With its state office in Morristown, TPL has protected approximately 23,000 acres throughout New Jersey, including nearly 10,000 acres in the Barnegat Bay. TPL’s Barnegat Bay Initiative, born nearly two decades ago, grew from The Century Plan, a 1995 study prioritizing sites for protection, and its sequel, Beyond the Century Plan (1997). Additional information on TPL’s Barnegat Bay Initiative is available at www.tpl.org/newjersey.