- Kate Munning
Scenic Warren County Farm Saved by Locals & TLCNJ
Updated: May 19, 2021
A view of the Delaware Water Gap from Murlan Farm
Residents of beautiful, agricultural Frelinghuysen Township in Warren County can rest a little easier knowing that Murlan Farm has been preserved in perpetuity. Many years ago these 224 acres on Kerrs Corner Road were on track to become a residential subdivision, but a Township resident stepped up to protect it. Now it has been permanently preserved with the assistance of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.
This story has played out over two decades. In 2003, Murlan Farm was almost purchased by a real estate developer, until Frelinghuysen’s mayor convinced local landowner Rick Murphy to buy it instead. Murphy held on to the farm and prevented it from being developed, but that wasn’t a permanent solution.
In 2015, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey applied for and was awarded cost-share grants from the New Jersey State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) and Warren County. The project took a lot of time and met many obstacles, but TLCNJ was finally able to secure a farmland preservation easement that officially closed in March 2021.
Rick Murphy is pleased with the outcome. “This is a beautiful, rural area and very worthy of preservation. I am relieved to know that while the farm may be sold, it will never be developed. Some properties should never be developed. It is important to honor our history, our culture and our unique landscapes. I am very happy to have been a part of preserving this special place.”
Mayor Chris Stracco expressed Frelinghhuysen’s support as well: “Frelinghuysen Township is very pleased that the 224 acres of the Murlan Farm on Kerrs Corner Road has been preserved. It is delighted that Rick Murphy, the owner of the farm, proactively addressed the preservation of this incredible virgin farmland which will remain in agriculture for years to come.”
The Land Conservancy is grateful to all the help received along the way, especially from the Warren County Agriculture Development Board and its knowledgeable staff, who helped in getting this one over the finish line. Thanks to the State Agriculture Development Committee, Warren County, and others, this old farm will remain productive and retain its natural beauty, permanently.