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  • Kate Munning

Building Climate Resilience at Yards Creek

We just expanded Yards Creek Preserve again! Purchasing this new piece of land brings our newest nature preserve to a grand total of 286 acres, further protecting the Delaware River watershed’s forest and water resources.

Yards Creek Preserve is near the Appalachian Trail and adjacent to more than 76,000 acres of public land in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The goal is for the preserve to act as a carbon sink using native vegetation, mature forests of oak and hickory, and healthy soils. Conservation of this ecologically sensitive land is creating a resilient ecosystem that will better adapt to climate change while supporting diverse populations of native plants and animals. Slowly but surely, The Land Conservancy’s efforts are connecting significant amounts of green forested habitat along the slopes of the Kitatinny Ridge to enable the movement of wildlife without interference by human activity.

This forward-thinking project helps local people, too, by providing resource-based recreation opportunities, especially for people who live nearby and can now walk off-road through a forest in their leisure time. Yards Creek Preserve was established in 2019 as an ambitious conservation project that will help protect drinking water for millions of the region’s inhabitants and curb encroaching development. TLCNJ has identified over 1,000 acres of particularly vulnerable and richly diverse land to preserve in the Delaware River Basin, one of the most important watersheds on the East Coast. Fifteen million people rely on the basin for clean drinking water—including the cities of Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and New York City.

It's a pleasure to work on land preservation in Blairstown, where residents, leaders and landowners all seem to have a conservation ethic. Since its inception, Yards Creek Preserve has been warmly welcomed by many neighbors. Our own Sandy Urgo says, "We especially appreciate Wes Jones working with us to preserve his land and add it to the preserve, as well as the generous contributions from all of our funders. This land sits high in the landscape, it is a lovely forest with many beautiful mature hickories and other tree species and is very worthy of protection.”

The new property boasts a lovely scenic overlook that we've named in honor of landowner Wes Jones, whose family has long been passionate about land conservation. He says, “I am glad my land on Four Corners Road will always be available for all to enjoy. It was a pleasure working with Sandy from Land Conservancy of New Jersey to preserve my property. Just as my parents, John and Stella, and Uncle Walter Jones sold their Lambert Road parcel to become Sycamore Park to be enjoyed for future generations. Let's all work together to keep Blairstown and surrounding communities green. And support your local Farmer.”

TLCNJ is grateful to the Open Space Institute, which funded the preservation of this property through both its Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund and its Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund.

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