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Tewksbury ag preserve expands by 41 acres

TEWKSBURY TOWNSHIP — Forty-one agricultural acres have been added to New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s Hill & Dale property, enlarging it to 142 acres and boosting farmland preservation in the area.
The newly-preserved property is at the intersection of Hill & Dale and Parsonage Lot roads, and includes corn and hay fields, a wooded stream corridor and two small cottages.
It abuts the original 101 acres preserved last summer as a nature and agricultural preserve.
“We’re very excited to expand the Hill & Dale Preserve, and are grateful to all of the donors and partners who made this possible,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “To us, a preserve that protects both agriculture and open space is the best of all worlds.”
The land was purchased using funding from the State Agriculture Development Committee, Hunterdon County and numerous private donors from the community.
“The State Agriculture Develop-ment Committee is very pleased to partner in this cooperative project to permanently protect this farm to ensure the land forever remains available for agricultural use, and to further farmland preservation efforts in the Highlands Preservation Area,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher.
Farm lanes and trails surrounding the preserve’s cultivated agricultural fields are open to the public for hiking, horseback riding and nature observation.
The upper section of the preserve offers a spectacular view of the surrounding Hunterdon County countryside, while the lower section provides access to the Rockaway Creek and two tributaries.
“This land acquisition represents the continued commitment to land preservation by Hunterdon County and its partners,” said Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt. “Having walked this site several times, I can say it is one of the jewels in preserved sites in the northern part of our county. We look forward to continuing to preserve great land parcels such as the Hill & Dale Preserve.”
The Hill & Dale Preserve is part of the landmark 310-acre Hill & Dale Farm, whose distinctive Dutch barns were originally built nearly a century ago for dairy farming. More recently, the farm has been used for horses.
“We’re delighted that the second phase closed and that the property is now in the hands of New Jersey Conservation Foundation,” said seller Michael Rothpletz.
He noted that in addition to purchasing 142 acres, New Jersey Conservation Foundation is helping his family with farmland preservation on its 150 remaining acres.
New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all.
Since 1960, the foundation has helped preserve more than 120,000 acres of open space and farmland.
For more information on the foundation’s programs and preserves, visit www.njconservation.org or call 1-888-526-3728.