HILLSBOROUGH: Sourlands continue to expand with 151 acre addition


Weeks after a 58 acre land acquisition was added to the Sourland Mountain Preserve, officials from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation announced the addition of another plot of land nearly three times that size., On Feb. 28, 151 acres of land known as the Higgins property in Hunterdon County’s East Amwell Township was added to the already sprawling natural conservatory., The land was acquired for $2.3 million by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, with the assistance of East Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Green Acres Program, Raritan Headwaters, 1772 Foundation and Hunterdon Land Trust., “We’re thrilled to permanently preserve this beautiful property in the Sourlands for the public’s enjoyment and for wildlife habitat,” Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said. “We’re very grateful to all partners, and to landowner John Higgins for choosing to sell his land for preservation.”, The East Amwell land purchase was funded with Hunterdon County grants to New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Raritan Headwaters and East Amwell Township; and Green Acres funding to New Jersey Conservation Foundation and East Amwell Township. A grant from the 1772 Foundation to the Hunterdon Land Trust assisted with expenses., Located off North Hill Road, the property features farm fields and woodlands, with panoramic views of the Sourlands region., The land will now be open to the public for passive recreational activities, such as hiking, horseback riding, birding and nature observation., Officials with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation said they had been working with Higgins for years in an ongoing effort to preserve land in both East Amwell and Hillsborough townships., In 2015 and 2016, the foundation helped Somerset County preserve 78 acres of Higgins’ land in Hillsborough., Following this latest purchase, officials said the East Amwell and Hillsborough properties will be managed as a single preserve., “The Green Acres Program is excited to be part of this important public-private partnership to acquire this ecologically significant property in the Sourland Mountains,” Division of Natural and Historic Resources Assistant Commissioner Rich Boornazian said., The newly-preserved land is near Somerset County’s Sourland Mountain Preserve, as well as extensive preserved farmland in East Amwell., News of this latest acquisition came shortly after the Somerset County Open Space Preservation Program announced their purchase of 58.25 acres of land to be added to the preserve as well., That purchase, which was closed upon on Feb. 9, added a piece of property located at the intersection of Pleasant View Road and Route 601 in Montgomery Township to the now 6,321 acre preserve., That property was previously owned by W. Bryce Thompson IV, who sold it to the county for $1,980,704., The Sourland Mountain region is an expansive green swath of intact forest and farmland spanning parts of Hunterdon, Somerset and Mercer counties. It extends from the central part of Hillsborough Township southwest to the Delaware River in West Amwell, Hunterdon County, and Hopewell Township, Mercer County., The Sourlands contain over 20,000 contiguous forested acres that protect the water supply to the headwaters of several significant streams flowing to the D&R Canal, Millstone, Raritan and Delaware rivers. The Sourlands support many rare plant and animal species and provide nesting and migratory stopover habitat for over 100 species of migratory birds.

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