TPL Praises Congress for Highlands Stewardship Act

Washington, D.C., 11/17/04: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today applauded Congress for passing the Highlands Stewardship Act, a bill that authorizes $10 million annually through 2014 for conservation projects in the Highlands, a two -million-acre area stretching from eastern Pennsylvania through the northern New Jersey and New York metropolitan areas into northwestern Connecticut.

U.S. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen and U.S. Senator Jon Corzine introduced their respective Highlands bills in May 2003, co-sponsored by members of Congress from the region’s four states (CT, NJ, NY and PA).

The national significance of the Highlands area has long been recognized by Congress, which previously has provided funding for conservation efforts here through an array of existing programs. The Highlands act, with its coordinated partnership approach, will offer new and targeted federal leverage to state and local efforts, resulting in even more significant on-the-ground accomplishments and ensuring the protection of the resource-rich Highlands region.

“Representative Frelinghuysen and Senator Corzine have been leaders in the effort to increase protection efforts for this regional treasure,” said Alan Front, TPL’s Senior Vice President. “Knowing the significance of the Highlands for clean and safe drinking water, for wildlife habitat and for recreational open space, they recognize the need for an enhanced federal-state-local partnership through increased coordination and a significant commitment of funds. We applaud their leadership and Congress for passing this bill.”

“This is a historic achievement and major victory for the preservation of the Highlands,” said Rep. Frelinghuysen. “With every step this legislation has taken, we’ve continued to put the Highlands on the map as a national priority for preserving open space and water supplies. And now we’ve reached the final step. This legislation will greatly strengthen our efforts to protect the region’s two million acres of critical land, drinking water for 3.5 million New Jerseyans, and recreational lands for the region’s 14 million annual visitors.”

“This legislation recognizes the Highlands as a national treasure that must be preserved,” said Sen. Corzine. “I am proud to have worked with Senator Lautenberg and Congressman Frelinghuysen to secure passage of much-needed financial and technical assistance to enable municipalities and homeowners throughout New Jersey preserve and protect open space in New Jersey.”

TPL has a long history of working in the Highlands. To date, TPL has helped protect approximately 27,500 in the NY and NJ Highlands alone. Earlier this year, TPL and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program and other local partners, partnered to protect the 433-acre Buckhorn Springs property in White Township (Warren County), the 1,200-acre Gerard Woods property in Hardyston Township (Sussex County), and 600 acres in Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Mount Olive Township (Morris County). In Rockland County, NY, TPL protected the 237-acre Johnsontown Road property. The land was identified by Rockland County as its highest conservation priority. Its protection preserves one of the most important and visible remaining open spaces in the county, and will link to existing parklands, including Harriman State Park and Dater Mountain County Park, of which it will become a part.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.9 million acres in 45 states. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.