Sunday, April 14, 2024

Conservation Organizations Partner to Protect 131-Acre Cedar Ridge Preserve in Stillwater

PRESS RELEASE: STILLWATER, N.J. – In a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Ridge and Valley Conservancy proudly announces the acquisition of 131 acres of pristine woodland, now officially known as “Cedar Ridge Preserve.” This acquisition marks a significant addition to the natural heritage protected by Ridge and Valley Conservancy, bringing the total number of preserves under their stewardship to 22.

Nestled a short distance from the Paulinskill Trail in Stillwater Township, Cedar Ridge Preserve is a haven of undeveloped raw land, boasting sweeping moss-covered limestone outcrops that warmly welcome hikers. Native wildflowers and ferns adorn the trails, leading to a dense forest of hemlock, pine, cedar, maple and oak trees.

“Collaborating with devoted landowners who have tirelessly nurtured and safeguarded the land has been an honor. Their unwavering commitment is a powerful testament to the vital importance of land preservation. We extend our gratitude to The Nature Conservancy for their continued support in preserving these invaluable landscapes.” said Susi Tilley, executive director of Ridge and Valley Conservancy.

The preserve is accessible via Cedar Ridge Road. Trail maps and signage are currently in development. A guided hike will be announced in the near future to introduce the public to the preserve.

“We are thrilled to celebrate another successful preservation project with Ridge and Valley Conservancy, a dedicated and trusted partner helping to advance our goals of protecting and connecting climate-resilient forests for wildlife in Bobcat Alley. Cedar Ridge Preserve is an important piece of the interconnected landscape in the New Jersey Appalachians that will now remain wild forever. We look forward to many generations enjoying the trails in this beautiful part of Stillwater,” said The Nature Conservancy’s land conservation manager, Tricia Aspinwall.

Ridge and Valley Conservancy extends heartfelt gratitude to the landowners, Richard Kelsky and Elenora Benz, as well as the dedicated efforts of The Nature Conservancy, whose relentless commitment made procuring Cedar Ridge Preserve possible. The financial backing provided by The Nature Conservancy, coupled with the generous support from the landowners, has played a pivotal role in successfully preserving this natural gem.

“Having managed this forest for 30 years, we chose conservation over development. We look forward to the continued good stewardship of this incredible property,” said Kelsky and Benz.

Cedar Ridge Preserve stands as a testament to the enduring commitment of both organizations toward preserving and nurturing our natural landscapes. Ridge and Valley Conservancy invites the community to explore and appreciate the beauty of Cedar Ridge Preserve, fostering a sense of environmental stewardship and appreciation for the wonders of nature.