Caring for and Healing the Earth

The Pine Barrens of New Jersey

Pine Barrens Protected

This was taken from the Tracker School web site

    The New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF), the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife (DFG&W), and outdoorsman Tom Brown Jr. are teaming up to help protect nearly a thousand additional acres of wilderness in the Pine Barrens.
    In June, NJCF acquired 917 acres of property in the Forked River Mountain area of Ocean County with Green Acres funding and equal donations from landowners Cliff Frazee, and Annette and Alan Kirby. Previously, it acquired over 3,500 acres in the same region. As a result, the NJCF is protecting more than 4,400 total acres of the preserve for hiking and other outdoor activities.
    Brown, who has been teaching wilderness classes at the newly acquired site for many years through his tracking, nature and wilderness school, agreed to provide year-round caretakers for the preserve. They will be responsible for keeping an eye on the property and alerting officials to any problems.
    "The Pine Barrens are my home away from home and whatever I can do to help ensure their beauty, I will do," said Brown, whose backyard growing up was the Pine Barrens. "This is a great thing. A victory for the Pine Barrens. The Foundation should be commended. The Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife should be commended. I am glad that we can be a partner in this project."
    Officials from both NJCF and DFG&W are not only excited about the purchase, but also with the extensive co-operative effort mounted to save and protect the land on a long-term basis.
    "Large Open space gains like these protect our quality of life in so many ways, including saving us tax dollars," according to the NJCF Director of Communications. "We're thrilled to be working with Tom Brown's Tracker School and the DFG&W to keep the Forked River Mountain Wildlife Management Area a natural wonder for all to see."
    The Forked River Mountains, which are situated along the Garden State Parkway, are a place of natural wonder and rich history. They feature cedar swamps, pitch pine and oak forests, open bogs and marshland.
    The wilderness houses the highest concentration of endangered species in the northeastern half of the Pine Barrens. These are the rarest and most endangered plants and animals north of Atlantic City and include the Saw-Whet Owl, Hermit Thrush, Pine Snake, Timber Rattlesnake, the Pine Barrens Gardenia (a small blue bell-shaped flower), meadows of federally endangered Swamp Pink ( a lily with a grapefruit-sized pink lily blossom), and thousands of Turkey Beard (another lily). In addition there are extensive forests of Atlantic White Cedar.
    In the Standard Class, students learn how to observe nature, how to track and stalk animals, and how to survive in the wilderness without the benefit of modern conveniences. Students learn how to make shelter, find water, start a fire, and make tools using primitive methods.
    The New Jersey Conservation Foundation is devoted to preserving open spaces through New Jersey. Since its inception in 1960 it has saved more than 75,000 acres. For more information on this and other conservation projects, contact NJCF at 888-LAND-SAVE.


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