Scenic Vallevue Farm Protected From Development

The Trust for Public Land and its partners, including the Township of Morris, the Morris County Preservation Trust, and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority announced today the permanent protection of 21.5 acres of the scenic Vallevue Farm on Picatinny Road.

The property is located in the historic and environmentally sensitive Washington Valley, just two short miles from downtown Morristown. Today's acquisition will provide new hiking trail corridors and scenic views across the Washington Valley as well as protection of groundwater in this high recharge area.

"This is a great natural space that is a perfect target for preservation, that can enhance recreational opportunities for our residents while protecting our groundwater,'' said Deputy Freeholder Director John Cesaro, who is the county governing board's liaison on preservation issues.

This project links to another Trust for Public Land assisted project, 188 acres of open space acquired from St. Mary's Abbey by Morris Township and Morris County in 2009. The new trails will provide walking access from nearby neighborhoods to these existing parklands.

"By conserving Vallevue Farm and making it available to the public for walking and community farming, we have protected a special part of Morris County and we are giving area residents more opportunities to connect with nature," said Anthony Cucchi, New Jersey State Director of The Trust for Public Land. "We appreciate Morris County and Morris Township's commitment to conserve the Washington Valley area for the benefit of future generations."

Vallevue Farm could potentially have been subdivided into 12 residential lots. Instead, the landowner chose to sell this acreage for conservation and restrict the balance of the retained land with their family home to no more than three oversized lots. This will maintain the historic footprint of the property, which was important to the family, as well as preserve views of the property from across the valley.

Mayor Daniel W. Caffrey said: "I'm pleased to see the Township continue its decades-long commitment to preservation of appropriate open-space sites. In this case, there is the added benefit of knowing the property will never be extensively developed."

A portion of the land acquired at Vallevue Farm contains farmland utilized for a small community supported agriculture program (CSA) which the Township expects to convert into a much desired community garden.

Funding for the $1,600,000 acquisition came from the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund, Morris Township Open Space Trust Fund and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority.

"The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority is very happy to be able to provide the last piece of funding to help complete this project," said Glenn Schweizer, MUA Executive Director. "Much of Washington Valley was purchased by the MUA decades ago for a potential reservoir project that was later abandoned. The MUA continues to help preserve nearby environmentally sensitive property, whenever possible."