HomeHopewell Valley NewsHopewell NewsD&R Greenway Land Trust preserves 'piece of heaven' from Marino family

D&R Greenway Land Trust preserves ‘piece of heaven’ from Marino family

D&R Greenway Land Trust announces the permanent preservation of its 316th property since its 1989 founding, less than a half mile from where the land trust first purchased land for preservation.
This multigenerational half acre, made up of scenic woodland along Hopewell-Wertsville Road, is the second parcel of land preserved by the Marino family with D&R Greenway. Donated by the Marino siblings, preservation of this roadside woodland ensures continuation of the rural character of the area.
During its first decade, the Marino family was among the earliest preservationists with D&R Greenway. Their initial preserved property contributed to the core of the land trust’s Sourlands Ecosystem Preserve that now protects over 3,000 acres within New Jersey’s largest contiguous forest.
Gary Marino said, “On behalf of the Marino family, I would like to thank D&R Greenway and attorney Richard Goldman for accepting our donation of property in Hopewell. This property had been owned for 100 years by three generations of Marinos. Many family memories are associated with the property. We are so happy that the land will be preserved in its natural state by D&R Greenway for many generations to come.”
This sparsely populated area known as the Sourlands includes parts of Somerset, Hunterdon and Mercer counties. Groundwater recharge and healthy Sourlands streams that flow into the Delaware & Raritan Canal and the Millstone River protect drinking water for over 1.2 million New Jerseyans.
The new preserve, which D&R Greenway CEO/President Linda J. Mead refers to as “a piece of heaven,” also connects to the Hunterdon Sourlands Preserve.
Among the fascinating aspects of this latest preservation success, says Mead, is that, “The first property protected by D&R Greenway was also the very first acquisition in New Jersey completed with the new, at the time, NJ Green Acres nonprofit grant funds. This acquisition brings us full circle, occurring in the same year that we are celebrating the NJ Green Acres Program’s 60th anniversary.”
New Jersey has the distinction of having the first state-funded open space protection program in the nation. Initially focused on direct state acquisitions, and municipal and county grants, in 1990, the year after D&R Greenway was founded, the state began its nonprofit grant program.
Protection of land in the Sourlands, where the headwaters of many streams begin, was among D&R Greenway’s top priorities.
Protection of this land prevents incursions of houses, driveways and hardscapes, ensuring natural habitat for wild creatures. Among avian species present in the Sourlands in spring and fall migration seasons, and that depend on this habitat for breeding and survival, are the red-bellied, downy, hairy, and the rare pileated woodpecker; vivid northern flicker; eastern towhee, American woodcock; red-tailed hawks and other significant raptors.
The Sourland Mountain region has been designated an official Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. The Sourland Mountain Region contains approximately 25,000 acres of mature, contiguous forest, 7,500 acres of wetlands and 20,000 acres of agricultural land in active production.
* This article was provided by D&R Greenway Land Trust.
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