Gnome Hollow Protected for NJ Wilderness Camp

A conservation deal completed today will protect more than 133 acres in Frelinghuysen Township, The Trust for Public Land, the Ridge and Valley Conservancy, Kids Corporation, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and Warren County announced.

Nearly 5,000 children from Newark, N.J. venture to Kids Camp each year to experience the Warren County wilderness in the New Jersey Highlands. As the program has grown, the camp’s operator, Kids Corp, has sought to utilize adjacent land to expand their environmental education programs. In 2009, Kids Corp invited The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, to negotiate an agreement with the landowner to purchase an adjacent 133.7-acre property known as Gnome Hollow. The conservation transaction will allow use by the public, including kids attending Kids Camp. TPL is conveying the property to the Ridge and Valley Conservancy (RVC), a local land trust based in Blairstown, New Jersey. RVC management of the property as a preserve will be aided by a $20,000 donation to RVC by TPL and the landowner.

“We are thrilled that this beautiful property will be spared from development and become a great natural resource for Warren County residents,” said Michaela Murray-Nolan, Kids Corp’s executive director. “Access to the trails, wildlife and plant species will enliven the environmental education programs Kids Corp offers to Newark’s kids, so they can learn about and appreciate the beauty and importance of the natural world. The people of Warren County and the children of Newark owe a debt of gratitude to TPL, RVC, the Johanson Family, and the State for their partnership and persistent effort on this project.”

“The permanent preservation of the Gnome Hollow property adds critical deep forest to Ridge and Valley Conservancy’s Limestone Forest Project,” said Bob Canace, RVC president. “The site will enhance wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreational opportunities in the region. We plan on installing a hiking trail to provide access for the public. RVC is grateful to the landowner, The Trust for Public Land, and Kids Corporation for protecting this magnificent property and trusting us with its ongoing stewardship.”

“As a people-focused conservation group, we’re thrilled to help deepen the connection to nature that Newark children experience at Kids Camp,” said Anthony Cucchi, TPL’s New Jersey director. “We are grateful to the Ridge and Valley Conservancy, Kids Corp, the Johanson family, Warren County, and the State, for coming together to make a very unique and important conservation success possible.”

Conservation of Gnome Hollow also protects clean drinking water from the Paulins Kill and vernal pool and forest habitats. RVC plans to establish a scenic public loop trail through the property.

Funding for the $950,000 purchase included $400,000 from the Warren County Open Space Trust Fund, $450,000 granted from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres program to Kids Corp and TPL, and $100,000 from an anonymous donor.

“Green Acres is honored to have participated in this unique project,” said New Jersey DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “We applaud our partners’ commitment to preserving this beautiful property and making it available to urban youths so they can have a greater appreciation for New Jersey’s great natural spaces.”

“Warren County is pleased to play a role in funding the preservation of Gnome Hollow and salutes the partnership that made it possible,” said Warren County Freeholder Director Richard Gardner. “This critical parcel contributes to the water quality of the Paulinskill River and will forever remain a resource to residents of Warren County and beyond.”

Announcement of the conservation project came at a public event at Kids Camp in Newton, N.J.

The Ridge and Valley Conservancy (RVC) is a non-profit land trust formed in 1990 by people dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Appalachian Valley and Ridge Region of New Jersey. RVC’s efforts have a positive impact on air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreation in northwestern New Jersey. Visit

Kids Corporation was founded in 1971 to address the lack of educational opportunities confronting Newark’s low-income children. Kids Corp changes the lives of more than 4,500 kids annually through after-school and summer academic programs, a year-round environmental science camp and a free health clinic. Learn more at

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.