(Hardwick, NJ - August 18, 2021) - Ridge and Valley Conservancy (RVC) is proud to announce the preservation of 22 acres in beautiful Hardwick, New Jersey. This acreage adds a final puzzle piece connecting three larger preserves: RVC’s Limestone Forest Preserve, RVC’s Shuster Pond Preserve, and The Nature Conservancy’s Paulinskill Preserve. This large, forested greenway will continue to grow in the future, thanks to pledges from adjoining private landowners.
“The value of this property just can’t be overstated,” said Ridge and Valley Conservancy Board President Margaret Schiller. “This acquisition connects almost 800 contiguous acres in some of
the state’s most significant natural area. It is so important to protect our natural, cultural, and aesthetic resources. We are thrilled this project does all three of those things.”
The acreage (and surrounding area) is part of the Shuster Pond Natural Heritage Priority Site.
According to NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s website, “The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program identifies the state's most significant natural areas through a comprehensive inventory of rare plant and animal species and representative ecological communities.”
This project targets the preservation of habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the Eastern bobcat, wood duck, great blue heron, red-shouldered hawk and wood turtle. The
Shuster Pond uplands form part of the forested headwaters of the Paulinskill River, within the larger Delaware River Watershed, lands that are essential for regional water-quality protection.
RVC will be extending the public trail in Shuster Pond Preserve into this new acreage, taking nature lovers deeper among the limestone outcrops of the forest.
"This acquisition is consistent with Hardwick's Open Space Plan and will provide residents and visitors with additional opportunities to experience and enjoy these preserved properties. We
greatly appreciate RVC's commitment to identify, preserve and connect these parcels that will be shared and enjoyed by current and future residents and visitors.” Hardwick Mayor Kevin Duffy said.
Ridge and Valley Conservancy prides itself on strategic local partnerships. This project has taken years of work by many organizations and donors. Our goal is always to make the right connections for the environment and our community.
The aerial photo, courtesy of RVC, shows Shuster Pond and the surrounding forest acreage.