Through a strategic effort, the Monmouth Conservation Foundation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program have purchased the last remaining large parcel of land connected to Allaire State Park, Wall Township, expanding the park by nearly 190 acres.
The announcement of the purchase was made in late August.
“This didn’t happen by chance,” said William Kastning, executive director of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, “Both the foundation and the state have had a long-held interest in seeing this land preserved.
“When the property heirs became interested in selling, we were proud to present the opportunity to the state and initiate the conversation. It’s very exciting to see this land protected forever as additions to Allaire State Park,” he said.
The once open landscape and farmland surrounding the park has experienced rapid development, including the Route 34 corridor in Wall Township where the newly acquired land is located, according to a press release from the foundation.
If not preserved, the land would have been developed into an office complex, homes, or a mixture of both, according to the foundation.
Unique plants and animals that seek homes in the Pinelands landscape will be safe to thrive in this habitat forever, according to the foundation.
Animals of special concern, including the hooded warbler, great blue heron, barred owl, wood turtle, cooper’s hawk and black crowned night heron, all call this land home.
“When you visit the park, you can easily spot some of the rare birds, frogs and amphibians that thrive in the Pine Barrens. It’s one of the best places around to view wildlife. I hope people will come experience it for themselves when the new trails open,” Kastning said.
Monmouth Conservation Foundation contributed more than $200,000 toward the purchase of the 190-acre expansion to Allaire State Park. The Green Acres program contributed about $3.6 million toward the purchase, according to the press release.
Allaire State Park is a regional destination drawing year-round crowds visiting the historic 19th century iron making Allaire Village, Pine Creek Railroad’s antique steam trains, a trail network, diverse natural features and an abundance of wildlife.
Although no plans have been formalized, it is expected the new addition will expand the existing park uses and connect into the existing trail system, according to the press release from the foundation.