New Nature Preserve and Trail Dedicated in Mendham, NJ

Mendham Borough, NJ, 10/18/2008: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), Mendham Borough, and the Schiff Natural Lands Trust dedicated the new 107-acre McVickers Brook Preserve adjacent to the Schiff Nature Preserve, the largest nonprofit nature preserve in Morris County. The preserve is named for the Raritan River tributary which flows through the property, and includes the Franklin Parker Trail, honoring the New Jersey conservationist who passed away in February.

Located in both Mendham Borough and Mendham Township, the new preserve will increase recreational opportunities for nearby residents and conserve the property’s mature, diverse forest. Existing trails on the property will be improved and linked with those on the adjacent Schiff Preserve providing the public with over 450 acres of uninterrupted open space. Mendham Borough and the Schiff Natural Lands Trust jointly own and manage the McVickers Brook Preserve.

At the event, The Trust for Public Land gave a $50,000 check to the Schiff Natural Lands Trust to help manage the land and the Franklin Parker Trail. Parker was the founding director of TPL’s New Jersey Field Office and the first board chair of the Schiff Natural Lands Trust.

“Frank recognized that parks are an essential element of healthy, livable communities. His determined and positive attitude inspired all of us who worked alongside him in the effort to preserve New Jersey’s vital landscapes,” said Tom Gravel, field representative for The Trust for Public Land.

“Through his work with the Trust for Public Land and the Schiff Natural Lands Trust, Frank was a pioneer who made enormous contributions to conservation and open space throughout New Jersey ” said Michael Catania, president of the Schiff Natural Lands Trust. “I am delighted that this trail will serve as a local tribute to his wonderful legacy to be enjoyed by his many friends and neighbors in the Mendham area.”

Funding for the acquisition was provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program, Mendham Borough, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, and the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant from the Morris County Preservation Trust, which awarded its second largest grant in the program’s history to the project.

“This tract of land had been identified as a priority by our open space committee. Mendham Borough had not used any of its open space tax until we helped acquire this land and the governing body can’t think of a better return on our open space tax dollars than the McVickers Brook Preserve,” said Mendham Borough Mayor Neil Henry.

“This property is the first project acquired by Mendham Borough through the municipal grant program of the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund,” said Morris County Freeholder Jack Schrier, liaison to the county’s open space program. “The county’s trust fund has assisted with the purchase of over 17,000 acres of open space and farmland since 1994 with over 4,500 acres pending.”

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 more than 2.4 million acres nationwide, including more than 25,000 acres in New Jersey.

The Schiff Natural Lands Trust is a local conservation organization, which Schiff has a three-fold mission to help acquire open space in the Mendham area, to improve our wildlife habitat through science-based natural resource management practices, and to inspire environmental stewardship through educational programming. For more information, visit