‘During tumultuous times, when many of us feel divided, it’s wonderful to have one thing everyone agrees on,” says D&R Greenway Land Trust President & CEO Linda Mead. “We all cherish a green environment surrounding the place where we live.”

Since 1989, D&R Greenway has worked with landowners to preserve 20,000 acres—a gift of life for everyone—and is pleased to announce four new preserved properties.

In summer 2016 D&R Greenway acquired the Csapo property in Bordentown, preserving 60 acres of wetlands and 11 acres of upland woods, adding 71 acres of public access land to Abbott Marshlands. The 3,000-acre Marsh—formerly Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh—supports a rich system of plants and wildlife, from the tiniest phytoplankton to the largest birds. Tidal freshwater marshes “are among the most productive ecosystems in the world,” says Rider University Botany Professor Emeritus Mary Leck, who has identified 159 species of plants on the Csapo property, including Green Fringed Orchid and American Chestnut. The Csapo tract is part of the Delaware River estuary, which provides critical habitat for species under extreme pressure from development and pollution, including the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon and Shortnose Sturgeon.

In a state of 4.492 million acres, how significant can one acre be? In the case of the William Peters property, important enough for D&R Greenway to preserve. The Peters site opens the way for a trail that will draw attention to a nearly forgotten settlement of free African-Americans: Honey Hollow, in Hopewell Township. “Many people in the preservation community tend to focus on preserving large tracts of land, but we cannot miss the opportunity to have that small transaction that makes a critical link or preserves a unique opportunity or habitat,” says D&R Greenway Vice President Jay Watson. “It is our collective hope to provide interpretive signage explaining this unique community with the intent of getting more people of color out onto our trails and diversifying the stories told in our landscape.”

For many years, Princeton residents John and Janet Powell enjoyed looking out their kitchen window onto open fields bordered by trees. They savored the beauty of “the red buds of the maple trees, lit like fire in the sun,” John recalls. Now, thanks to D&R Greenway, working with Mercer County through its Open Space Program, their view has been preserved forever, and it can be enjoyed by everyone. The Powells’ property, along Snowden Lane and Poor Farm Road, adds 4.3 acres to Mercer County’s Herrontown Woods Preserve: 142 acres of forest that is part of 590 protected acres within the Princeton Ridge Conservation Area.

Princeton Land Partners, a private landowner, donated six lushly wooded acres lining a placid stretch of the Millstone River in Cranbury, to D&R Greenway, which will convey the land to Cranbury for connection to the Township’s Greenway. East Windsor has preserved open space directly across the river, creating a contiguous protected landscape.

In addition to its value for wildlife habitat and recreation, the forested floodplain buffers storm water’s effects on the Millstone, protecting the quality of the public water supply.

“As you can see, land preservation contributes to the health of our communities and all its members,” continues Mead. “Our work bridges the gap.”

Visit D&R Greenway Land Trust’s art galleries at the Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton, and learn more about protected lands you can enjoy this holiday season! www.drgreenway.org

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