Montgomery Preserves Two More Properties along Rock Brook Greenway

Montgomery Preserves Two More Properties along Rock Brook Greenway

Posted on July 25, 2018

By vote of the Montgomery Township Committee, two back-to-back parcels within the ecologically-sensitive Sourland Mountain region, both candidates for development, will instead expand the ‘Rock Brook Greenway’.

“Our concept of a greenway to protect Montgomery’s highest quality waterway is taking further shape with these two parcels now added,” said Mayor Mark Conforti.

On Thursday, July 19th the Montgomery Township Committee approved purchase and preservation of a parcel on Dutchtown-Zion Road. This six-acre property will be purchased from DriftBuilt, LLC & Thomas Picone, who planned to develop the land. The purchase price is $270,000. Closing is anticipated to take place in the early fall.

Five acres of woodland next-door were already purchased by Montgomery Township from the Tarzia family for $267,500 earlier this spring, utilizing funds from the Township’s open space trust fund.

This land is located directly adjacent to 300 acres of other Montgomery, Hillsborough and Somerset County-owned open space. These new acquisitions will further expand the Township’s “Rock Brook Greenway” project area (see full map.) Rock Brook, with headwaters in the Sourlands, is Montgomery’s highest quality stream and trout-stocked waters. By preserving these properties, and others in the Sourlands, the Township is protecting water quality and securing contiguous forest canopy. When woodland is cleared for development, a “hole” in the tree canopy is created.  Many susceptible species, particularly birds which migrate through the Sourlands, require a certain area of contiguous forest to successfully forage, breed and nest.

“Considering the prevalence of open space surrounding these lots and proximity to the fragile Rock Brook corridor, their inclusion in our open space inventory makes perfect sense,” said Deputy Mayor Christine Madrid.

The new acquisitions also have passive recreation potential. This summer a Girl Scout project in cooperation with the Montgomery Friends of Open Space created a trail at the adjacent Zion Crossing property (purchased in 2015) at the north end of Hollow Road (see full map). The Township’s Public Works Department created a small parking area, and added a picnic table.  Interpretive signage will be added in the coming weeks in a kiosk. The Township plans to connect the new Tarzia and Drift acquisitions to the existing trail with a long-range goal of creating a pathway down Rock Brook all the way to Skillman Park.

Source: Montgomery Township Administration