Pequannock River Greenway
West Milford Woodlands Greenway
PRC worked for many years to address the vital issue of river access. Sadly, there was little open space preservation along the lower Pequannock River. Despite the fact that the river was recognized as an important amenity, in the entire lower Pequannock watershed only 3 parks once provided public entry and most access persists at the whim of private landowners.
While vacant land still borders the river, many of these tracts are small and have not attracted the interest of larger land conservation groups. This has been complicated by intense development pressure due to our urban proximity and the fact that many elected officials in these communities have been slow to embrace riverside open space preservation or acknowledge the need for river access. As an example the Mayor of one town recently justified their lack of dedicated open space funding by stating "We have no open space left to preserve." However, there are at least a dozen significant riverside tracts worthy of preservation in this community alone.
To preserve public access we began reviewing vacant land parcels, gathering the necessary information to promote the involvement and support of local citizens and officials, while partnering with larger land preservation groups - particularly the Passaic River Coalition - toward negotiating easements or purchase. Our goal is a greenway corridor that will protect water quality, revitalize riverside communities and restore the essential relationship between this splendid river and its people.
We also hoped to establish river-related open space acquisition as an integral function in our watershed communities. In 2003 we were successful in obtaining grant funding from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation to purchase GIS software, upgrade our hardware and train staff in GIS fundamentals. In 2002 and 2003 the New Jersey Conservation Foundation provided funding through their "Grants-In-Aid" program to establish the framework for our greenway project by identifying and mapping potential sites into GIS maps or "layers."
Through intensive networking with land preservation groups and presentations in local communities we have propmoted the conservation of specific land parcels. We also worked with private developers where development and redevelopment projects were proposed along the river so they incorporated greenway designs and concepts. Since then our efforts have borne fruit.
In 2005/2006 the Boroughs of Riverdale and Kinnelon established Open Space taxes and Open Space programs. The Glenburn Estate in Riverdale, the Weber Tract in Kinnelon, and the Raceway Tract in Butler have already been preserved through cooperation with the Passaic River Coalition, Morris County, Kinnelon, Butler, and Riverdale. Additional lands are under consideration. The future of our Greenway is bright!