Thank you for your extraordinary support for our End of Fiscal Year Campaign! We were able to raise $82,681 for our most urgent projects, and an additional $117,945 from memberships, bringing the total to $200,626.
Donors were able to choose where their gift would be used. Our most important projects under way are the launch of the Pinelands Preservation Fund, expanding Yards Creek Preserve, continuing restoration work on the West Brook, growing Ramapo Mountain Preserve, and finalizing the transfer of Split Rock Mountain to the Ramapo Munsee Land Alliance. This campaign allowed us to make progress on each of these.
There was extraordinary support for our new Pinelands Preservation Fund, and we made a wonderful start toward matching the generous challenge gift of $250,000. We can now begin mapping the northern portion of the Pinelands to find key parcels for preservation and will begin reaching out to landowners this fall.
At Yards Creek Preserve in Blairstown, we acquired a critical 53-acre addition in the shadow of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Appalachian Trail. This preserve now totals over 300 acres!
In 2020 we completed the first phase of restoring the West Brook at our Nancy Conger West Brook Preserve in West Milford. Last month we received our permit to commence work on the second phase, removing a dam to put more cold water in the stream to benefit trout and other fish. Wetland flora will be planted along the newly exposed banks and invasive plants will be removed. We also removed a dilapidated barn, fences, and well, and are planting hundreds of native trees and shrubs in their place.
We have 17 acres under contract to add to our Ramapo Mountain Preserve in Mahwah, but the process has been held up by a neighbor’s encroachment. We hope to resolve this shortly and complete the acquisition by the end of the year.
Over at Split Rock Mountain, we are working closely with the Sewer District that owns this property to complete the purchase. After co-hosting 11 cleanups involving 300 volunteers with our partner MEVO (Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization), we have removed nine dumpsters filled with garbage and over 1,000 tires. Meahwile, we helped the Ramapough Lenape Nation establish the first Native American land trust in New Jersey—the Ramapo Munsee Land Alliance—and we are donating Split Rock Mountain to this nonprofit organization. Soon, Split Rock Mountain will be owned and managed by local indigenous people for the first time since colonization.
We are immensely proud of what we've been able to accomplish so far, but none of this would have been possible without the support of our members and volunteers. Thank you for coming on this journey with us!