Morris County Master Plan: Open Space Element | Groundwater | Wetland

Morris County Master Plan

Prepared by:
Morris County Planning Board
Adopted: .
October 6, 1988
Cover Photo Courtesy of:
James Del Giudice
Specialized Photodesign
Convent Station, NewJersey
Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Michael Dedio, Director
John C. O'Keeffe
Anthony R. Bucco
PatricJ. Hyland
Carol J. Murphy
Peter J. O'Hagan, Jr.
John R. Sette
Morris County Planning Board
.. William J. Mathews, Chairman
Me1veme E. Cooke,
James Nelson,
John Kuhnast,
Acting County Engineer
Michael Dedio .
John C. O'Keeffe
Vincent Fox
Barry Marell
Donald F. Roos
Morris County Department of Planning and Development
Walter P. Krich, Jr.
Director of Planning and Development
Dudley Woodbridge,
Planning Director
* Raymond Zabihach,
Assistant Planning Director
James Woodruff,
Assistant Planning Director
Heywood Sommers
Christine Fuertges
Renee Raffetto
Linda Levinson
Carol Simmons
Marta Milos
Gene Cass
*Project Director
Table of Contents
Table of Contents Private Open Space 32
List of Figures, Charts, Tables 11 Commercial Recreational Facilities 32
Preface ill Not-for-Profit Recreational Lands 32
Non-Profit Conservation Organizations 32
Non-Profit Camps 34
Historical Perspective, Principles, Goals
Property Owners and Homeowners
and Objectives
Associations 34
HistoI}cal Perspective 1
Outdoor Clubs 34
Principles, Goals and Objectives 4
Principals 4
Goals 4
Open Space Needs Determination
Objectives 5
Recreational Carrying Capacity 93
Open Space Standards 95
Acres Per Population Standards 96
Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Balanced Land Use Standards 98
Aquifers and Recharge Zones 7
Freshwater Wetlands 8
Methods of Open Space Acquisition
Stream Corridors 9
Direct Acquisition 101
Steep Slopes 11
Other Means of Obtaining Open Space 102
Agricultural Lands 11
Habitat for Endangered and
Methods of Financing Open Space
Threatened Species 12
Federal Funding 107
State Programs 108
Open Space Inventory County Programs 109
Federal Open Space 15 Municipal Financing 109
State Open Space 18 Private Sources 109
County Open Space 22 Open Space: What It's Worth 110
Municipal Open Space 29
Quasi-Public Open Space 31
School Recreational Lands 31
Summary and Recommendations
Watershed Lands 31
Summary 111
Recommendations 114
1972 Open Space
Flood Plains
Slope 15% or More
Rare Species and Natural Communities
1987 Open Space
Morris County Park Commission Acreage Totals
Acres Per Population Open Space Standards
Adequacy of Open Space in Morris County
Federal Open Space in Morris County
State Open Space in Morris County
County Open Space Trends
Municipally Owned Open Space
Balanced Land Use Standards
Adequacy of Open Space in Morris County
Municipal Open Space Deficits
Following Page
Open Space is undeveloped land that serves a
varietyoffunctions and that provides essential
character to a particular region. Open space
can protect the quality and quantity of surface
and groundwater resources, preserve distinc-
tive natural, cultural and historic resources,
and provide space for developing facilities to
satisfy the recreation needs of citizens. Open
space can also provide visual relief in densely
populated areas and preserve natural beauty.
Because,open space nearly a l w a ~ performs
more than one function, it is: difficult to calcu-
late exact figures for future need.
The 1988 Morris County "Open Space Ele-
ment" is intended to provide a framework for
county and municipal planning efforts so that
open space can be preserved for an increasing
population. This element contains basicinfor-
mation that should be used to facilitate coor-
dination of recreation and open space plan-
ning with other planning programs to achieve
mutual goals. County and local governments
should ensure, through open space planning,
a proper balance between natural resource
protections, adequate recreation space, and
other competing land uses.
Planning for future open space is urgent be-
cause the county remains one of the dynamic
growth counties in New Jersey, and develop-
ment in Morris County is taking place rapidly.
Lands assumed to be forever open have been
sold and developed. Examples include water-
shed lands, golf courses and private recreation
clubs. Opportunities to preserve open space
are rapidly being lost.
Historical Perspective, Principles,
Goals and Objectives
The open space planning process in Morris
County began in 1956 when the Board of
Chosen Freeholders created the Morris
County Park Commission. Within one year,
the commission prepared a report entitled,
"Master Plan and Program for a County Park
System." The acquisition program initiated by
that plan accounted for approximately 4,200
acres of countyowned parkland by 1966, when
the first "Open Space Element" of the Morris
County Master Plan was adopted. The 1966
"Open Space Element" was the result of a
cooperative effort of the Morris County Plan-
ning Board and the Morris County Park Com-
mission. In the sixyear span following the 1966
element, an additional 1,250 acres of open
space were acquired by the Morris County
Park Commission. Furthermore, during that
period, other levels of government, from
municipal to federal, effected increases in
their open space. These acquisition activities
will be discussed further in Chapter Three.
The cooperation between the two agencies
was so successful that both county agencies
combined their efforts and resources in
preparing the 1972 "Open Space Element".
Three additional master plan elements
relevant to open space planning, the "Future
Land Use Element," "Historic Preservation"
and "Bikeways", were adopted in 1975, 1976
and 1977 respectively.
Open space efforts in the county are guided
by those principles established in 1957 by the
Morris County Park Commission. Four dis-
tinct categories of public parkland continue to
be recommended.
This is the basic unit which forms the back-
bone of the park system. General purpose
parks will usually contain places of scenic
beautysuited to family recreation. While there
may be limited space for active sports within
such a park, it is primarily an area for simpler
forms of o.utdoor recreatio.n as opposed to
those found in Special Purpose Parks.
Some park sites must be acquired to serve a
special purpose or meet a specific need, such
as a water area, a golf course or a zoo. Without
such facilities, the system is not complete and
they must be provided for. These parks are
usually expensive to develop, but in return can
provide a source of revenue. Some may be-
come self-supporting. Due to cost, however,
their development should be deferred until
the acquisition program is substantially com-
Certain portions of the county are particular-
1y suitable to the preservation and conserva-
tion of animal and plant life in its natural state
as a living museum for the study of nature
first-hand. Such areas are to be found in the
large swamps in the eastern third of the county
or the wooded mountain sides of Jefferson
Township and would require a minimum of
These parks consist of elongated lands fol-
lowing a stream, ridge line or similar natural
feature and, wherever possible, planned to
link together other park sites. Such a facility,
by controlling the use of river frontage, could
Morris County Open Space Element 2
serve to reduce pollution, protect future
watersheds and provide flood protection.
Linear parks along existing or proposed high-
ways (parkways) should be used wherever
suitable. The acquisition of properties along
certain county roads could result in the
development of scenic drives, preserving
smaller areas of natural beauty or scenic views
otherwise lost forever.
The following are descriptions of and
abstracts from six earlier open space plans:
1957Park Plan
The 1957 "Master Plan and Program for a
County Park System" remains the guiding
force behind the open space activities under;.
takenbyMorris Countyand its various depart-
ments, especially the county park commission.
The plan advocated an aggressive program of
land acquisition by the newly created county
park commission to compensate for its late
start in the creation of a county parks system.
It shouldbe noted that counties to the east and
south had created extensive park systems
many years earlier. Within 10 years of im-
plementing this plan, the Morris County park
system was becoming the largest and best
managed in the state. By the mid 1970's, it was
the largest in New Jersey.
The report behind this extraordinary ac-
complishment expressly stated that "Land for
county park sites should be acquired' or-
reserved for future acquisition by every avail-
able method, in all sections of the county, but
primarilyin those areas where open land is fast
vanishing before the developer."l
1966 Open Space Plan
The 1966"Open Space Element" was the first
adopted element ofthe Morris County Master
Plan. It represented a comprehensive revision
of the 1957 park plan in recognition of the
needto make newopenspace proposals predi-
cated by changing conditions.
The main thrust of the 1966 element was the
expansion of existing county facilities by ac-
quiring land adjacent to those facilities. The
plan also encouraged the coordination of the
dedicated open space around the proposed
Morris County Municipal Utility Authority
reservoir sites.
In the interim between the 1957 and the
1966 Open Space Elements, open space
standardS were developed independently, in
separate studies, by the State of New Jersey
and jointly by the Metropolitan Regional
Council and the Regional Plan Association.
Both studies recommended a standard of 12
acres of county park land per 1,000 county
population. Each was described in the ele-
ment. The 1957 plan had used a 15 acre per
1,000 population standard for computing fu-
ture park land needs of the Morris County
ParkCommission. The 1966"OpenSpace Ele-
ment" recommended utilizing the 12 acre
standard which reduced the 1957 plan's goal
of 10,000 acres to 7,500 acres of county
parkland. Since the county park system now
contained 13 facilities, totaling 4,200 acres,
most of the open space recommendations ad-
vocated expanding existing facilities. Nine
county parks were designated to be enlarged
a total of2,528 acres. In addition, county parks
were proposed for the Pulaski and
Washington Valley Reservoir sites.
Another important change included in the
1966Plan was the concept of "Other Prospec-
tive Public Lands". This categorywas included
to emphasize the importance of future reser-
vation ofland along selected rivers and stream
valleys. These linear parks would serve as links
between various open space facilities in addi-
tion to preserving the integrity of the rivers at
these locations.
Morris County Open Space Element 3
1972 Open Space Element
In 1972, the Morris County Planning Board
adopted an updated "Open Space Element" of
the Morris County Master Plan. It basically
reinforced the principles and policies of the
two previous openspace plans. As in 1966, the
element was ajoint cooperative effort with the
Morris County Park Commission.
A major feature of the 1972 element was the
recommendation to expand the linear park
system. In the 1966 plan, linear parks were
delineated for sections of the Passaic River
and Whippany Rivers. In the 1972 "Open
Space Element", all major rivers and streams
were given a proposed linear designation as
"land with recreational potential". Additional-
ly, linear strips of land, identified from aerial
photographs as undeveloped, were designated
as connectors between various open space
facilities without regard to the governmental
level of ownership, whether federal, state or
1975 Future Land Use Element
The Morris County master plan elements
prior to 1975 culminated in the "Future Land
Use Element". Open space recommendations
from the 1972 "Open Space Element" were an
important component of this plan. Additional
environmental constraints (such as wetlands
and steep slopes) not included in the 1972
"Open Space Element", were also utilized in
development of the "Future Land Use Ele-
ment". In addition, many goals and objectives
from the "Future Land Use Element" rein-
forced the specific open space goals and ob-
jectives in the 1972 "Open Space Element".
1976 Historic Preservation Element
This element complements the open space
planning process. The goals of historic preser-
vation as defined in the 1976 "Historic Preser-
vation Element" were to develop a recognition
of the county's historic and architectural
heritage and to establish a system to protect
and preserve it. Historic preservation is in-
tended to not only save buildings but also to
adapt significant buildings and their grounds
and incorporate them into the environment.
The results range from individual buildings to
historic districts with tree lined streets as well
as individual sites primarily identified by the
public as parks which link history with open
Therefore, when actions are taken towards
historic preservation, open space may very
often besaved as a result. The Moms County
park system has five park facilities which in-
volve historic or architectural preservation.
1977Bikeway Element
The Morris County Planning Board adopted
the "Bikeway Element" with the intention of
promoting bikeways for recreation and
transportation purposes. The plan recognized
that in order for bicycles to be a viable mode
of transportation, an extensive recreational
bikeway network would first have to be estab-
lished. While a number of municipalities have
implementedlocal recreational bike paths, the
Morris County Park Commission has done
extensive work in developing a recreational
bike path system. The park commission is the
lead coordinating agency with participating
municipalities in developing Patriots Path, a
linear park which unites major park facilities
throughout the county. This recreational trail
and bikeway will eventually cross Morris
County from East Hanover to Washington
Township, and tie in with areas within the
Whippany and Rockaway watersheds
throughout the county.
The Morris County Planning Board and the
Morris County Park Commission share a com-
Morris County Open Space Element 4
mon goal, the conservation of open space for
future generations while providingrecreation-
al opportunities for present generations.
This element encompasses all levels of
government. While each has its own open
space jurisdiction, there is a need for greater
regional coordination among governmental
entities. This need underscores the impor-
tance of a coordinated open space preserva-
tion process. It is hoped that the 1988 "Open
Space Element" will assist in fulfilling this ob-
jective. The purpose of the 1988 "Open Space
Element" can be identified with the following
three principles:
1) Enhancement of the quality of life in
Morris County
2) Protection of the environment
3) Expansion of recreational opportunity
These principles are supported by the follow-
ing goals and objectives:
1) To preserve unique natural features and
to protect natural resources, especially
water supply sources.
2) To provide adequate recreational
facilities to all Morris COunty residents
through both public and private sectors.
3) To provide open space in balance; with.
other land uses throughout the county.
4) To maintain and protect dedicated open
space in perpetuity so that its value as a
resource is not diminished for the use of
future generations
5) To encourage a balance of open space
facilities as provided by the various levels
of government and the private sector.
6) To establish attractive communitydesign,
consistingof a visually pleasant landscape
with environmental amenity.
7) To continue maintaining a comrehen-
sive and responsive county park system.
A. Broad-based objectives
1) Governmental regulation and activity
should incorporate concerns for open
space as an important decision making
2) All newdevelopment and redevelopment
efforts shouldbe designed to enhance the
existing environmental amenities which
abound in the county.
3) All unique and important natural resour-
features should be identified
for protection and preser-
4) Futurewater supply, in the formofwater-
sheds, prime aquifer recharge areas,
reservoir or well field areas, headwaters
of major streams, steep slopes, wetlands
and major wild life habitats should be
preserved and protected from distur-
bance and pollution.
5) Recreational facilities and programs
should be accessible to all Morris County
residents within a reasonable travel dis-
6) Recreational facilities of both the public
and private sectors should have the
flexibility to respond to changing recrea-
tional needs.
7) Openspace facilities should bewell diver-
sified to provide an optimum variety of
Morris County Open Space Element 5
recreational opportunity throughout the
8) It is imperative that a balance of open
space facilities be achieved and main-
tained among all levels of government.
9) Existing conditions around parks and
dedicated open space should be
monitored so that any adverse impacts
can be mitigated.
10)Direct and indirect acquisition techni-
ques should be used to maximize:. the
amount of open space preserved in per-
11:Open space facilities should have a com-
plementary relationship with surround-
ing land uses.
12) Open space facilities should be available
throughout the county based on uniform
criteria of population and land use.
B. Specific Objectives for the
County Park System
13)The park system must serve all county
residents. Parks must be located so all
sections of the county have equal oppor-
tunities to share in their recreational
14)The goal in park acreage should be
reviewed periodically in terms of chang-
ing population trends. Adjustments to the
long range program should attempt to
meet greatest needs first, being flexible·
enough to cope with sudden changes in
15)The total complexofparks and recreation
areas within the county should reflect a
balance among municipal, county, state
and federal systems. The facilities within
county parks shouldsupplement, not sup-
plant, those developed in municipal, state
or federal parks.
16)County parklands should be located in
relation to other land uses appropriate to
the area andshouldbeintegratedwith the
County MasterPlan, as well as the master
plans of individual municipalities.
17)Land for county park sites should be ac-
quired or reserved for acquisition in all
sections of the county, but primarily in
those areas where open land is fast being
converted to other uses.
The Morris County Park Commission has
actively implemented and pursued actions
which reinforce the above principles, goals
and objectives. Morris County's park facilities
offer a wide range of recreational oppor-
tunities, protect substantial areas of environ-
mental concern and are conveniently located
throughout the county. The parkcommission,
as will be discussed in greater detail in sub-
sequent chapters, has pursued acommendable
acquisition program.
The Morris County Planning Board has vir-
tually no implementation power with respect
to preserving open space. However, the coun-
ty planning board, through its staff, has incor-
porated the recommendations of its 1972
"Open Space Element" into the site plan and
1. Master Plan and Program for a County Park System. 1957. p. 157
subdivision review process wherever ap-
plicable. Between 1972 and 1986, 108 open
space recommendations were made as part of
the county site plan and subdivision review
process. Recommendations were made only
when the application interfaced with areas
designated as having "recreational potential"
in the 1972 plan (See Figure 1-1).
To date, the response to these comments and
recommendations has not been overwhelming
and only 21 applications have been imple-
mented. Nonetheless, these have resulted in
the dedication of 198 acres of open space. and
the creation of conservation easements rang-
ing in width from 30 to 300 feet. Currently, 16
of the 108 applications are active and may yet
result in additional open space dedication
and/or easement. These efforts represent a
small portion of the overall open space ac-
quisition and protection process described in
this element.
Additionally the Morris County Park Com-
mission will continue to pursue an active ac-
quisition program for open space that w.ill ~ o t
only complement and protect eXIstmg
parkland and facilities, but also protect en-
vironmentally sensitive areas and preserve
remarkable natural and historical sites. The
commission will also continue to cooperate
with municipalities to achieve mutual goals.
Morris County Open Space Element 6
Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Environmentally sensitive areas are those
areas of land and water, which due to their
particular physical characteristics (i.e. hydrol-·.;.;·
ogy, geology, soils, vegetation) are greatly im-
paired by the modifications of development
activities. The loss or disturbance of environ-
mentally sensitive areas may result in
detrimental impacts not only to the environ-
ment, but economically and socially as well.
The destruction of these areas may immedi-
ately impact surrounding communities in a
number of ways: flood hazards, surface and
groundwater supplycontamination, or the loss
of productive lands and renewable resources.
In Morris County, environmentally sensitive
areas include steep slopes, stream corridors,
wetlands, sole source aquifers and their
recharge zones, agricultural lands, threatened
Morris County Open Space Element 7
and endangered flora and fauna. Some of
these, such as stream corridors, wetlands and
steep slopes, demonstrate significant develop-
ment constraints because of their physical and
hydrological factors. Environmentally sensi-
tive areas are important natural resources be-
cause of the ecological, historical, recreational
and aesthetic values they provide to com-
Aquifers and Recharge Zones
An aquifer may be defined as a geological
formation that contains sufficient saturated
permeable material to yield significant quan-
tities ofwater to wells and springs. The storage
and movement of water in aquifers are con-
trolled largelyby the porosity and permeability
of the consolidated and unconsolidated rock
and soil formations through which the water
flows. An aquifer recharge area can be
described as porous soil or rock formations
where water can percolate from the earth's
surface into the aquifer. It is in these areas that
precipitation replenishes our groundwater
supply. Each aquifer type has unique charac-
teristics, based on the surficial topography and
bedrock conditions, that determines its
productivity and susceptibility to contamina-
While Morris County's water supplies are
derived from both surface and groundwater
sources," groundwater accounts for a far
greater percentage of water' consumed within
the county. In Morris County nearly all the
groundwater originates from local precipita-
tion. When rainfall is low, groundwater helps
to maintain streamflow. And, conversely,
during periods of high precipitation, surface
waters recharge depleted aquifers.
While encroachment on aquifer recharge
areas or the improper management of land
could contaminate both ground and surface
water resources, the long termimplications for
groundwater are far more serious. Once con-
taminated, an aquifer cannot flush itself clean.
Sources of contamination include leakage
from underground storage or septic tanks, sur-
face runoff, pesticides and other sources. The
contamination of an aquifer can result in
higher water treatment costs or even the ir-
retrievable loss of a water supply.
In recognition of the sensitivity of Morris
County's groundwater aquifers and their im-
portance as drinking water sources, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has
declared three aquifer systems underlying
Morris County to be "Sole Source Aquifers."
These are the Buried Valley System of the
Central Passaic Basin of Eastern Morris
County and Western Essex County, the Un-
consolidated QuaternaryAquifer in the Rock-
away River Area; and the Highlands Aquifer
in Northwestern Morris and Passaic Counties.
Morris County Open Space Element 8
As detailed in the "WATERSUPPLYELE-
MENT', the implications of growth require
that both county and municipal officials take
steps to preserve and protect ground water
resources. Open space and lowdensity zoning
are among the primary measures that should
be used to protect aquifer recharge areas.
Freshwater Wetlands
A freshwater wetland is defined by the newly
enacted state law as "... an area that is inun-
dated or saturated by surface or ground water
at a frequency and duration sufficient to sup-
port, and that under normal circumstances
does support, a prevalence of vegetation typi-
cally adapted for life in saturated soil condi-
Common types of freshwater wet-
lands include swamps, bogs, and marshes,
usually located in upland depressions or in
periodically flooded areas next to lakes and
Freshwater wetlands have always been an
integral, hydrological part of the natural
landscape in Morris County. However, their
ecological significance and functions have
only recently been recognized. Wetlands left
as open space resources are nowrecognized as
valuable, irreplaceable water resources that
benefit both the natural environment and
man. They have great value to man in that they
protect and preserve drinking water supplies,
provide a natural means of flood and storm
damage protection, serve to buffer waterways
from sedimentation, provide essential habitat
for a major portion of the state's fish and
wildlife, and maintain critical base flow to sur-
face waters.
Wetlands are also considered significant in
their role as a productive environment for fish
and wildlife resources. They provide per-
manent and temporary habitat such as breed-
ing, feeding and nursery areas for bird and
other animal species. These populations are
supported by the tremendous capacity of wet-
lands to produce basic plant materials and
nutrients. Wetlands also serve to control or-
ganic and inorganic polluting substances
through oxidation, respiration and metabolic
processes, which are their self-cleaning func-
As wetlands perform these functions, they
also serve as open space resources which offer
recreational opportunities as well as scenic
views and vistas. Wetland-related recreation
and education opportunities available in Mor-
ris County include hunting, fishing, nature
study, photography and scientific research.
Wetlands also provide attractive settings for
hiking, picnicking, camping and horseback
riding fromthe adjacent u p l ~ n d areas. During
the winter seasons, wetlands also provide ice
skatingand cross countryskiingopportunities.
In Morris County, freshwater wetlands ac-
count for approximately 40,264 acres or 13
percent of the county.2 Figure 2-1 shows the
wetlands of Morris County. The largest wet-
lands complex in Morris County is associated
with the Passaic River. These wetlands include
Black Meadows, Troy Meadows, Bog and Vly
Meadows, Hatfield Swamp, Lee Meadows,
Washington Valley Meadows and the Great
Swamp which lie in the Central Passaic Basin
in the eastern part of Morris County. Other
substantial wetlands in the county include the
Budd Lake Bog in the Raritan watershed,
Mount Hope Swamp in the Upper Rockaway
River watershed, a rare, black spruce-
tamarack bog, and two large wetland areas
adjacent to Burnt Brook in Rockaway
Township. Morris County contains numerous
other, smaller wetlands areas integral to the
hydrology of each watershed.
The recently enacted NewJerseyFreshwater
Wetlands Protection Act will now assure
statewide protection of freshwater wetlands.
The Act, effective on July 1, 1988, is intended
to preserve the integrity of freshwater wet-
lands through the use of a regulatory permit
program. Preservation of freshwater wetlands
as open space at the local and county level will
enhance substantially the effectiveness of the
new state regulatory program. Wetlands in
Morris County Open Space Element 9
Morris County provide important ecological
functions to both the environment and man.
As many competing uses continue to threaten
wetlands, the preservation of them as open
space areas ensures the perpetuation of their
special ecological functions and recreational
Stream Corridors
A stream corridor is a watercourse (i.e. river,
stream, or tributary) and the adjoining natural
border area that is ecologically and hydrologi-
cally related. This adjacent border area is the
flood plain, which can be a meadow, marsh,
swamp, steep slope or a strip of grass, bushes
or trees that serve to protect the waterway.
Stream corridors serve many valuable func-
tions. In their natural state, they protect water
supply quality and quantity, contribute to the
stability of the ecological community, help
control erosion, and provide potential recrea-
tional areas. Stream corridors are regional
natural resources, not confined by political
boundaries. Vegetated buffers help maintain
high water quality by filtering pollutants, in
much the same way that wetlands filter out
pollutants. Vegetation also controls soil
erosion by preventing siltation which helps to
maintain the integrity of a streams banks.
These buffers also provide habitats for fish,
plants and other wildlife.
Undeveloped lands adjacent to trout produc-
tion waters are especially important buffer
areas. Trout require high quality water and
habitat for spawning, nursery purposes, or for
survival throughout the year. The NewJersey
Department ofEnvironmental Protection (NJ
DEP) identifies trout waters and recognizes
them in the State Surface Water Quality
Because the quality of trout
production water is so high and the availability
of these waters is limited, adequate protection
should be provided to help maintain the in-
tegrity of these waters.
Stream corridors also provide open space
and recreational areas. They provide visually
attractive and healthy waterways for recrea-
tional activities, such as fishing and hiking and
other passive recreational activities. The loss
of stream corridors in developing areas has
contributed to the inability of watercourses,
the rivers and streams, to carry out their
natural functions as mentioned above. The
result is poor water quality, increased erosion,
the destruction of habitats for vegetation, fish
and other wildlife and the potential loss of
recreational areas.
Developed areas adjacent to streams and
rivers which are subject to periodic flooding
pose a serious threat to t h ~ public's health,
safety and general welfare. Development
within a flood plain often results in a decrease
in the natural flood storage capacity and in-
creased flood heights. Degradation to the
qualityof the streamalso occurs if floodwaters
mixwithsanitarysewage. Increasedlocal, state
and federal costs result when it becomes
necessary to remedy the above problems.
In Morris County, flood problems are
caused, in part, by development in the flood
plain, which is particularly evident in the Pas-
saic River Basin where development has
encroached upon the floodway, (the channel
of a stream and portions of the adjacent flood
plain), and in the flood hazard areas (the
floodway and additional portions of the flood
plain for a designated frequency of flood).
Figure 2-2 shows the 100-year flood plains in
Morris County. Flood hazard areas have been
delineated by NJ DEP and regulations have
been adopted which regulate construction
within the 100 year flood plain of non-
delineated streams and rivers and also within
the flood hazard area of delineated streams.
However, strategies to reduce flood damage
must be considered over much broader areas
than just within flood hazard limits.
Some county parks have suffered severe
damage caused by the lack of stream corridor
protection in areas upstream. For example,
development on Jackson Brook has caused
thousands of dollars of damage to Hedden
Morris County Open Space Element 10
Park; heavy sedimentation of Lake George in
Schooley's Mtn. Park has required costly res-
Other efforts to control flooding are the
utilization ofwetland and flood plains as open
space areas, land acquisition and home buyout
programs, and the dredging and cleaning of
streams to improve their flow. In the lowlying
areas of Lincoln Park and Pequannock, severe
periodic flooding has occurred along the
Pompton River. In Lincoln Park, efforts are
being made to convert a stretch of the Morris
Canal into a detention basin that could help
control flooding. At the same time, an ad-
jacent land area would be managed as a park,
preserving the area for both public recreation
and water conservation.
A key management strategy for flood control
involves the purchase and removal of fre-
quently flooded housing within the flood
plain. In Morris County, federal and state
buyout programs focus on the communities
whose homes are on or near the floodway and
suffering from repeated flooding. These
programs are the National Flood Insurance
Program (NFIP) under the Federal Emergen-
cy Management Agency (FEMA) and the NJ
DEP's Flood Plain Management Program. The
objectives of these programs are to provide 1)
natural open space areas for floodwaters, 2) an
insurance break and lower costs for the govern-
ments involved and 3) a new beginning for the
floodprone home owners.
Under these programs the homes would be
demolished and the area restored to its natural
conditions and used as a flood storage area
The preservation of streams and rivers along
with their adjacent, undeveloped flood plains
would help reduce increases inflooding, as well
as enhance and perpetuate the environmental
integrity of the flood plains. Stream corridors
would then retain their usefulness as natural
water storage areas with the added potential
of serving as recreational open space.
Steep Slopes
Natural slope represents the result of mil-
lions ofyears ofgeologicevents and the effects
ofweathering and erosioncaused byice, water
and wind. Slope is defined as the vertical
change in elevation per horizontal distance,
usually expressed in percent.
In this report, slopes are categorized based
on percent ofslope: 0-7 percent, 8-15 percent
and 16 percent or greater. Figure 2-3 is a
generalized representation of the slopes in
County. Lands with 0-7 percent slope
level to gently sloping land, generally
SUItable for all land use categories, assuming
acceptable soil conditions. The eastern part of
the county is characterized by areas with
slopes of 7 percent or less and are often wet-
lands and/or flood plains.
Lands with 8-15 percent slope show
moderately sloping topography, acceptable
for residential development at the lower end
of this category, and becoming more difficult
at the upper end. However, slopes ofless than
16 percent may still pose significant con-
straints to development, especially when soils
have a high erosion potential or the soil,
bedrock and vegetation complex is unstable.
Development on these slopes presents the
potential for negative environmental and
economic impacts. A 16 percent or greater
slope is considered steep. Approximately
acres, or 15 percent of the county, fall
mto the 16 percent and greater category. The
potential disruption of steep slopes from
development justifies categorizing steep
slopes as sensitive areas.
According to the Soil Conservation Service,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, soils with a
slope of 15 percent or greater invariably entail
limitations to development, including
buIldmg and road construction and septic ef-
fluent disposal. In addition, the removal of
vegetation and disturbance of soils on steep
slopes by excavation and fill will increase
runoff, resulting in soil erosion, siltation,
Morris County Open Space Element 11
stream pollution and the resultant danger of
flooding. .
Steep slopes playa vital role in the function
of local natural systems. Slopes of 12 percent
or greater normally are covered with
vegetated growth which hold the soils on the
steep slopes. The roots and thick humic layer
provide important runoff and erosion protec-
tion. Vegetated steep slopes also provide cool
and usually clean water to a watershed river
system. Areas along the top of slopes often
offer scenic vistas and opportunities for pas-
sive recreation. In addition, vegetated steep
slopes provide many indigenous wildlife
species a natural habitat with a food supply
and nesting and resting areas.
In Morris County, development is encroach-
ing on sensitive steep slopes and, due to the
various constraints of these lands, steep slopes
merit consideration for open space preserva-
Agricultural Lands
Agricultural lands constitute a threatened
critical resource throughout New Jersey. In
Morris County, agriculture, threatened by
development pressure, is characterized byfull-
time and part-time farms and country estates.
Large, contiguous agricultural operations
are distributed in the southwestern portion of
the county in the Chesters, Mendhams and
Washington Township, with small pockets of
agricultural lands in Randolph, Harding, Pas-
saic, Boonton and Montville Townships and
other farms located throughout the county. In
1987, Morris County had 356 farms where
agricultural products are raised for profit. This
accounts for about 38,000 acres of land. Since
1982, county farmland has decreased by five
percent, according to the Morris County
. Agricultural Extension Service.
The Soil Conservation Service of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture maintains an in-
ventory ofenvironmentallysignificant agricul-
tural lands based on those factors which
produce the best conditions for crop produc-
tivity. Environmentally significant lands in-
clude the following types: prime farmland,
unique farmland, additional farmland ofstate-
-wide and local importance, farmlands in or
contiguous with environmentally sensitive
areas, farmlands of waste utilization impor-
tance and farmlands with significant capital
investments in best management practices.
The first four agricultural land types are based
on their capacityfor production as well as their
value as an environmental resource. The
remaining agricultural land types are those
identified for their specific environmental
value. Under these definitions, prime farm-
lands are considered to have the greatest en-
vironmental significance.
At the state and county level, efforts to
preserve farmland are channeled through
county agricultural development boards. The
Morris County Agricultural Development
Board's Farmland Preservation Program
enables qualifying farmers to obtain a variety
of zoning protections and farm improvement
aid in return for a pledge to continue using the
land for agricultural purposes for eight years.
In addition, farmers have the option of selling
a development easement on their property to
the state, which preserves the land from being
developed. The land can still be farmed or sold
for farm use. As of August, 1987, eight farms
were in the municipally approved eight year
program accounting for almost 604 acres. An
additional five applications, totaling 140acres,
were pending at that time. Most of the farms
are in the Long Valley area of Washington
Township, and in Chester, Boonton, Harding
and Passaic Townships.5 Preservation of the
remaining agricultural lands in Morris County
would help retain the active production of
farmland for food and crop production and
protect the historic, open space and scenic
values of farmland.
Morris County Open Space Element 12
Habitat for Endangered and
Threatened Species
Endangered and threatened plants and
animals are species whose continued survival
is in jeopardy. These species are generally
threatened by loss or change of habitat, over
exploitation, predation, competition or dis-
ease. Federal and state governments and
quasi-public organizations have programs
which recognize and manage individual plant
and animal species.
The protection of endangered and
threatened plants and animals is a crucial issue
today because of the importance of preserving
the diversity of our natural species, the ecosys-
tems inwhich they survive, and the values they
serve to both man and the environment. Rare
plant and animal species provide certain
ecological, educational, cultural, economic
and scientific values, such as the uses of plants
in medicine, industry and agriculture. The
presence and variety of wildlife and plants are
excellent indicators of the overall healthofthe
environment. Endangered plants and animals
serve as indicators of habitat loss and the in-
stability of the environment.
An increasing awareness about our environ-
ment has been accompanied by a great con-
cern for the protection of plant and wildlife
species whose outlook for survival is uncer-
tain. At the federal level, this interest has
manifested itself in legislation and manage-
ment programs.
The NJ DEP's Endangered
and Nongame Species Program is responsible
for protecting and managin¥ endangered and
threatened wildlife species. In Morris Coun-
ty, state endangered and threatened species
include the Brook Trout, Blue-spotted Sal-
amander and Great Blue Heron. The NJ
Natural Heritage Program, a joint effort of
the NJ DEP Office ofNatural Lands Manage-
ment and The Nature Conservancy, a non-
profit conservation organization, has been
developing an extensive database on rare
plants, animals and natural communities
throughout NewJersey.
The Natural Heritage Program has estab-
lished a more comprehensive and extensive
listing and definition of rare species and areas
of important natural diversity throughout the
state. Figure 2-4 indicates the general areas
where these species may occur in Morris
County. Because of the nature and impor-
tance of these areas, the map only gives a
general indication ofwhere these species may
be found. The map's information was general-
ized to maintain confidentiality and is only to
be used .as a guide. Open space preservation
and planning can offer these rare plant and
animal species and natural communities of
Morris County the protection they need.
In summary, an evaluation of the sensitive
land and water features of Morris County
clearlyshows a rational framework for anopen
space protection plan. The physical features
and sensitive areas of the county are a fun-
damental structure around which
municipalities in Morris County can plan for
open space protection and wise land use
Generally, these areas include the county's
natural stream corridors, wetlands, flood
plains, aquifer recharge areas, farmlands,
steep slopes and undeveloped forest lands,
which also add to the scenic and rural charm
of the county. As such, these natural resource
elements have contributed greatly to the
desirability of Morris County.
Most of the sensitive natural resources
described are connected to the hydrologic
cycle and are critical to both surface and
groundwater supply. The management and
preservation of our water resources is one of
a series of actions that can be taken to achieve
environmentally sound land use. A more ra-
tional, environmentally oriented use of sensi-
tive areas helps to protect the natural
hydrologic processes and the overall quality of
the environment itself.
Therefore, the preservation of sensitive
areas necessitates both open space protection
and environmentally sound development
standards and land use decisions to secure a
high quality environment for those who reside
andwork in Morris County.
lNJSA 13:9B
2 Tiner, R, Wetlands of NewJersey, u.s. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wetlands Inventory, 1985, p.26.
3 NJ DEP Surface Water Quality Standards, NJAC 7:9-4, 1985
4 The 100-year flood plain is the area inundated by a 100-year flood which is estimated to have a one percent chance, or one chance in
100 of being equalled or exceeded in anyone year. (NJAC 7:13:-1.1 et seq., 1985)
5 Jennifer Johnson, Morris County Agricultural Development Board Farmland Preservation Coordinator
6 Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. secs. 1531-1543, 1973
7 Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, NJSA 23:2A-1 et seq., 1973
Morris County Open Space Element 13
Rare Species and Natural Communities
Morris County .
(Shaded areas Indicate at Least One Occurrence)
For an Occurrence, the Location is...
• Known Precisely
Known Generally
. ---'
...... -..... .""..
. -'
' .............
til I
2 3 4 5 Miles
Adapted by MCPB from NJDEP Natural Heritage Program I
Geographical Information System.. June 1987
Morris County Open Space Element 14
Figure 2-4
Open Space Inventory
Inorder to assess the current and future open
space needs of the county, an extensive inven-
tory ofboth public and private open space and
recreational lands was undertaken. As with
the 1972 "Open Space Element", each level of
government was contacted for its most recent
open space figures. However, more detailed
information was collected on private and
quasi-public open space for this update due to
the expanding role of the private sector in
providing open space, and the important func-
tion of the county in supplying potable water.
The data for this update is divided into three
main categories (public, quasi-public and
private,) and eight sub-categories (federal,
state, county, municipal, school parks, water-
sheds, commercial recreation and not-for-
profit). This data was compiled at the
municipal level so the total open space for
each municipality could be calculated as well
as for the county. It should be noted that
several sources were used to calculate and
verify the total acreage of the existing open
spacewithin the county, and discrepancies be-
tween the various sources appeared in a few
cases. Since the time constraints in the
preparation of this element did not permit the
full resolution of these inconsistencies, a com-
bination of data sources were used to estimate
the most representative acreage figure.
National parks serve a regional population
and protect and maintain areas of national
Morris County Open Space Element 15
significance. The federal government,
through the National Park Service and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, owns and
manages two major open space parcels in
Morris County, the Great Swamp National
Wildlife Refuge and the Morristown National
Historical Park.
Great SwampNationalWJldlifeRefuge (NWR)
Location: Chatham, Harding and Passaic
Area: 6,833, acres
Date Established: 1960
Division Jurisdiction: U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service
The Great Swamp NWR encompasses a
large portion of Passaic, Harding and
Chatham Townships. An international jetport
was proposed for the site in 1959; however,
following a successful public campaign to
protect this significant wildlife habitat, the
Great Swamp NWR was established. In 1966,
the Great Swamp NWR was registered as a
national natural landmark as an "exceptional
example of the natural history of the United
The purpose of the Great Swamp NWR is
"to maintain a natural habitat for all types of
flora and fauna, especiallymigratorybirds, and
to provide nature-oriented recreation, en-
vironmental education, and an outdoor lab-
oratory for the serious nature student and
Facilities at the Great Swamp NWR include
a wildlife observation center, 10 miles of
unimproved trails, two photo observation
blinds, one information booth and two self-
guided interpreted boardwalk trails.
Within the Great Swamp, 3,660 acres have
been designated as a Wilderness Area. Under
the Wilderness Act of 1964 the Fish and
Wildlife Service is mandated to protect the
wilderness character of this area. Current
Morris County Open Space Element 16
management practices which prohibit the con-
struction of facilities such as improved trails
limit public access to the Wilderness Area.
The popularity of the Great Swamp as a
recreational facility is reflected in the increase
in the number of visitors from 187,515 in 1972
to 304,000 in 1984, an average annual increase
of 5.2%.3
Common public use activities include wildlife
viewing, birding, horseback riding and fruit
picking in the summer and snow shoeing and
cross country skiing in the winter. Deer hunt-
ing is allowed by permit only, during a desig-:-
nated period in the late fall.
Federal Open Space in Morris County
1966 1972 1986 1986
Great Swamp (NWR) 3,470 4,800 6,833 2,157*
Morristown (NHP) 1,175 1,339 1,373 0**'
TOTAL 4,645 6,139 8,206 2,157
* Based on "'The Proposed Action Final
Environmental Impact Statement Master Plan, Great
Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Morris Newton Comer,
Mass. 1987,pg.53
** The National Park Service has completed its land
acquisition for the Morristown NHP. However, two parcels
will be accepted if donated; the Morris Area Council ofGirl
Scout camp (213Ac) and the Town of Morristown parcel
(0.37 Ac)
The size of the Great Swamp has increased
from 4,800 acres in 1972 to 6,833 acres in 1986
(See Table 3-1). Under current Service policy,
the Great Swamp can only be expanded by
obtaining land fromwillingsellers and through
donations from adjacent land owners.
Presently, only 397 acres are planned to be
acquired; most of which are private landhold-
ings within the boundaries of the refuge.
While an additional 2,157 acres is proposed,
the NWR has authorization from Congress to
purchase only 397 acres.
The acquisition of additional land since 1972
has not protected the Great Swamp NWR
from the effects of surrounding land uses. Ac-
cording to the Great Swamp NWR Final En-
vironmental Impact Statement, residential
and commercial development in the water-
shed upstream from the refuge has degraded
the quality of the water entering the refuge.
Increased runoff containing sediments and
pollutants is filling in and contaminating the
wetland' habitats essential. to maintain the
wildlife species found within the Great Swamp
. The Great Swamp NWR is also adversely
Impacted by land uses that existed on the
property prior to the establishment of the
refuge. The Great Swamp is listed as one of
nine national wildlife refuges that "have been
identified as requiring some formofcorrective
Three former landfill sites have been iden-
tified in the Great Swamp. One five-acre site
within the Wilderness Area was used as a
dump for asbestos shingles. Another the Roll-
. . '
mg Knoll landfill, IS located at the north-
eastern edge of the refuge. Surface water con-
tamination draining into the Great Swamp has
been linked to this landfill; however, the
materials that were disposed of there are un-
The third dump site, Harding Landfill,
IS belIeved to containsolely household wastes.
In addition to the possible effects the con-
taminationwould have onwildlife, the landfills
have the potential of draining contaminants
into the Passaic River which provides com-
munities downstream with drinking water.
Presently, the asbestos landfill and the Rolling
Knoll landfill are being monitored and plans
are being made to study solutions to the prob-
The landfill is not presently
bemg momtored, although plans are being
made to begin a monitoring process.
Morris County Open Space Element 17
Morristown National Historical Park
Location: Harding, Morristown, and
Morris Township
Area in Morris County: 1,373 acres
Total Area: 1,673 acres
Date Established: 1933
Division Jurisdiction: National Park Ser-
The Morristown National Historical Park
was established on March 2, 1933 by an act of
Congress, and was the first national historical
park in the country. It was established to com-
memorate the scene of General George
Washington's military headquarters and the
Conti.nental Army's main encampment during
the wmters of 1777 and 1779-80. The National
ParkService has restored some of the huts and
other structures that existed at the time of the
Revolutionary War.
The Morristown Nation-
al Historical Park is comprised offour tracts of
land, three of which are in Morris County.
Washington's Headquarters, the site of the
Ford Mansion and historic museum, is located
in Morristown, as is Fort Nonsense, a 35 acre
knoll-top park once used as a lookout point.
Jockey Hollow is located in both Harding and
Morris Townships. This site, four miles out-
sideofMorristown, was the main encampment
for the Continental Army. The remaining par-
cel, the Jersey Brigade site, is located on the
southernborder ofMorris Countyand extends
into Somerset County. The land areas of the
Jockey Hollow and Jersey Brigade sites total
1,628 acres.
The goals of the Morristown National His-
torical Park are the preservation and protec-
tion of the Q.istorical structures and lands and
the education of the public by telling the story
of General Washington's role in the War of
Independence.? Facilities at the park include
the historic museum, the Ford Mansion, the
Tempe WickHouse and gardens, a visitor con-
tact station, soldiers huts and trails. The Mor-
ristown National Historical Park is a well
known historica11andmark in the country. It
continues to attract an increasinglylarge num-
ber of visitors, as evidenced by a 2.9 percent
annual increase since 1972.
Recreational ac-
tivities include picnicking, hiking, 1imited-
camping, sledding, sight-seeing, cross country
skiingand photography. The ParkService also
offers films on the Revolutionary War period,
guided tours and special events such as mock
military encampments. The Morristown Na-
tional Historical Park has acquired an addi-
tional33'4 acres since 1972, raising its total to
1,673 acres. There are no' plans for future
acquisitions since the parkhas reached its land
acquisition limit.
The state's open space role is to preserve
large tracts of environmentally sensitive and
culturally significant lands and to provide
regional recreational areas. This involvement
in open space preservation ensures that parks
are available for the public's enjoyment and
that New Jersey's wildlife habitats are pre-
served for the protection of the state's in-
digenous species. The state's parks, forests,
recreational areas and historic sites are ad-
ministered by several divisions of NJ DEP. In
Morris County, the Division of Fish, Game
and Wildlife and the Division of Parks and
Forestryown and manage the state's parkland
and open space. The Office of Green Acres
assists these divisions in obtaining additional
Each division differs in its purpose and use of
the lands it administers. The Division of Parks
and Forestry provides active recreational
facilities such as beaches, ballfie1ds and camp-
sites, and preserves state forests and natural
areas. The Division of Fish, Game and
Wildlife maintains wildlife habitats, desig-
nated as Wildlife Management Areas (WMA),
Morris County Open Space Element 18
for fish and wildlife production. In certain
WMA's passive recreational activities are per-
mitted as secondary uses. Located in Morris
County are the Black River and Berkshire
Valley WMA's.
In addition to state parks, forests, recreation-
al areas, historic sites and wildlife manage-
ment areas, state land can also be designated
as a Natural Area. A natural area is "an area
of land or water which has retained its
primeval character (although not necessarily
pristine and undisturbed) and an area having
rare or vanishing species of plant and animal.
life or similar features ofinterest which qualify
for special preservation.,,9 The Natural Areas
in Morris County include portions of Farney
State Park, Hacklebarney State Park, Black
River WMA, and all of Troy Meadows.
State Open Space in Morris County
AC11JAL 1 ~
1966 1972 1986 1986
Allamuchy State Park 175 1,D05 1,083 412
Berkshire Valley WMA 1,140 1,140 1,781
Black River WMA 0 2,217, 3,002
Farney State Park 803 803 803
Great Piece Meadows 0 79 230 761
Hacldebarney 433 550 873
Hopatcong State Park 108 98 98
Jefferson/Sparta Preserve 0 0 155
McEvoy 0 0 95
Musconetcong 135 97 83
Troy Meadows 0 243 334 2,048
TOTAL 2,794 6,232 8,537 3,221
Since 1972, the state has added approximate-
ly 2,305 acres of open space in Morris County,
raising its Total to 8,537 acres in 1986 (See
Table 3-2).
State open space represents the largest
amount ofland owned by a single government.
entity in Morris County. Approximately 8,537
acres of state parklands are in 13 munici-
palities in the county. However, only three of
the 11 sites are improved with active recrea-
tional facilities.
Allamuchy Mountain Park
(Including Stephen's Section)
Location: Mt. Olive
Area In Morris County: 1,083 non-contig-
uous acres
Total Area: 7,268 acres
Date Established: 1966
Division Jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
Allamuchy Mountain Park is undeveloped
except for the Stephen's Section. A portion of
the Stephen's Section is located along the
MusconetongRiver. Facilities at this area con-
sist of picnic shelters, playgrounds, hiking
trails and campsites. Recreational activities
permitted in the undeveloped portion of Al-
lamuchy include hunting and fishing. The un-
developed portion of Allamuchy Mountain
Parkin Mt. Olive is partiallycomprisedof land
obtained for the Hackettstown Reservoir. Al-
though the reservoir project has been aban-
doned, some of the property remaining under
the jurisdiction of the Division of Water Re-
sources could be added to the state's open
space inventory.
AllamuchyMountain Park and the lands that
had been set aside for the Hackettstown Re-
servoir in Morris County help preserve a large
section of the Musconetcong River and the
Morris Canal.
Morris County Open Space Element 19
Berkshire Valley Wildlife Management
Location: Roxbury, Jefferson and
Mt. Arlington
Area: 1,781 acres
Date Established: 1940
Division Jurisdiction: Fish, Game and
The Berkshire Valley WMA is located just
west of a densely populated area of Wharton,
Dover and Mine Hill, and abuts the north side
of 1-80. It is in a major growth corridor and
protects a portion of the Rockaway River and
its tributary, Stephen's Brook, and associated
No active recreational facilities are available
at Berkshire Valley, but hunting, trapping,
fishing hiking, cross country skiing and horse-
back riding are permitted.
Black River Wildlife Management Area
Location: Chester Township
Area: 3,002 acres
Date Established: 1964
Division Jurisdiction: Fish, Game
and Wildlife
The Black River WMA is the largest state-
owned open space parcel in Morris County.
This WMA forms the beginning of an open
space corridor of state and county parkland
that almost completelyencompasses the Black
River as it flows through Chester Township.
Active recreation facilities have not been
developed at the BlackRiver WMA; however,
trails for hiking and horseback riding are avail-
able. An abandoned railroad bed serves as the
major trail. Other activities are bird watching,
fishing and hunting.
Farney State Park
Location: Rockaway Township
Area: 803 acres in two non-contiguous par-
Date Established: 1943
Division jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
Farney State Park is adjacent to Split Rock
ReselVoir in northern Rockaway Township.
The area is undeveloped and the land sur-
rounding the park consists of 3,701 acres of
watershed property and 1,900 acres of non-
profit conSelVation lands which include a Boy
Scout Camp and the NewJersey Camp for the
The park consists of two parcels of 200 and
600 acres in size, situated approximately 1/3
mile apart. They are relatively isolated com-
pared to other state parks and access is severe-
lylimitedsince the roads are unimproved. Far-
ney State Park remains undeveloped as an
active recreation area and there are no plans
to build facilities.
Because this area has remained undisturbed
by development and has retained significant
natural features, the 600 acre parcel of Farney
is designated a Natural Area. The topography
is mountainous with steep slopes and rock
outcroppings. The valleys are usually bisected
by a stream and in some low lying flat areas
contain wetlands.
Great Piece Meadows
Location: Lincoln Park and Montville
Area In Morris County: 230 acres in non-
contiguous parcels
Total Area: 370 acres
Date Established: 1965
Division jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
The state has obtained only a few scattered
parcels in the Morris County portion of Great
Morris County Open Space Element 20
Piece Meadows, one of the largest wetlands in
the Passaic Basin. Of the 4,275 acres compris-
ing Great Piece Meadows, the state owns only
8.6% of this wetland.
The land has not been developed as a park.
Some ofthe parcels are adjacent to the Passaic
River and are prone to flooding. Access is
limited and parcels are landlocked by private-
ly-owned property.
Hacklebarney State Park
Location: Chester and Washington
Area In Morris County: 873 acres
Total Area: 892 acres
Date Established: 1924
Division jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
Hacklebarney State Park was the first state
park established in Morris County. This park
forms the southern portion of the open space
corridor along the Black River at the border
. of Chester and Washington Townships.
Locatedin a predominantly agricultural area,
Hacklebarney complements the rural setting
by preserving the scenic Black River corridor.
A 275 acre portion of Hacklebarney has been
designated as a Natural Area. The Lamington
River Natural Area includes a section of the
Black River which flows through a hemlock-
forested ravine. Two tributary streams of the
Black River, Rinehart and Trout Brooks, also
flow through the park.
The northernmost portion of Hacklebarney
has been developed for active recreational
use. Picnic tables, a playground and a refresh-
ment stand are available. Other activities such
as fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing and
sledding are permitted.
Hopatcong State Park
Location: Roxbury Area In Morris County:
98 acres
Total Area: 113 acres
Date Established: 1,925
Division Jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
Hopatcong State Park, located at the south-
west end of Lake Hopatcong, is developed for
water-oriented recreational activities. Facil-
ities i n c l ~ d e a beach and bathhouse, a boat
launch ramp, concession stand,picnic areas
and playground. A section of the Morris Canal
also runs through the park, and a few of the
structures from the canal, including a water
turbine, still exist at the park. Also, the dam
and gatehouse controlling the level oflake are
situated in the park.
Jefferson/Sparta Preserve
Location: Jefferson Area In Morris County:
155 acres
Total Area: 572 acres
Date Established: 1979
Division Jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
The Jefferson/Sparta Preserve is the state's
most recent acquisition. Although the state
owns the preserve, the Morris County Park
Commission has a 99 year Lease Agreement
with the state. The park commission now
manages the Jefferson/Sparta Preserve along
with the neighboring county-owned MaWon
Dickerson Reservation.
Morris County Open Space Element 21
Location: Passaic
Area: 95 acres
Date Established: 1971
Division Jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
McEvoy is situated in the flood plain of the
Passaic River in the southwest corner of the
township. This municipal parcel is currently
leased to Passaic Township and is considered
as part of the Passaic River Park.
Musconetcong State Park
Location: Netcong and Roxbury
Area In Morris County: 83 acres
Total Area: 274 acres
Date Established: 1925
Division Jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
Musconetong State Park was once the
property of the former Morris Canal and
Banking Company. Of its 328 acres, 96% of
the area of the park consists of Lake Mus-
conetong. Twelve acres of the land area of the
park are located in Stanhope Borough in Sus-
sex County. Musconetong has not been devel-
oped for active recreational use.
Troy Meadows
Location: East Hanover and Parsippany-
Troy Hills
Area: 334 acres in non-contiguous parcels
Date Established: 1966
Division Jurisdiction: Parks and Forestry
TroyMeadows is a large, significant wetlands
area, containing swamp, marsh and flood plain
habitats. According to the DEP's Environ-
mental Information Inventory, Troy Meadows
has been designated as a National Natural
Landmark. It contains remnant wet land con-
ditions of Glacial Lake Passaic.
Situated in a commercial and employment
center ofMorris County, TroyMeadows, is the
largest open space parcel in this urbanized
area along the growth corridor of 1-80,1-280
and Route 46.
As is the case with Great Piece Meadows, the
Divisionof Parks and Forestryowns onlya few
scattered parcels ofthe 3,100 acre TroyMead-
ows. However, Wildlife Preserves, Inc. a non-
profit conservation organization, has obtained
nearly 1,403 acres. Together, the state and
Wildlife Preserves, Inc. proFect 56% of Troy
Meadows; .
No active recreation facilities are available,
and most of the area is maintained for wildlife
byWildlife Preserves. A fewtrails exist at Troy
According to the 1984 "NewJersey Outdoor
Recreation Plan", the role of a county in
providing open space is to "acquire, develop
and maintain parks and programs which serve
the recreational needs of a county-wide pop-
ulation." The Morris County Park Commis-
sion has been successful in fulfilling this res-
ponsibility since its creation in 1956. Since the
establishment of the first county park (Lewis
Morris) in 1957, Morris County has obtained
22 open space and recreational areas totalling
8,391 acres. As a result, Morris County has the
largest amount of land dedicated to county
parkland of all New Jersey counties.
Since 1972,3,190 acres of open space have
been added to the county park system. (See
Table 3-3). This is nearly 1,000 acres more
than the goal of 2,200 acres additional
proposed in the 1972 Morris County "Open
Space Element".
The largest expansion during this time is the
addition of 1,179 acres to the Mahlon Dicker-
son Reservation. Seven other parks were also
Morris County Open Space Element 22
acquired with a combined acreage of 731
Approximately 3,117 acres, or 37% of the
Morris County park system, have been ac-
quired by donation. Except for Silas Condict
Park, all county parks have had some, and in a
few cases all, of the land donated (See Chart
3-1). The park commission also holds a 99year
lease from the NJ DEP for 572 acres of land
adjacent to Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.
The remaining parklands were acquired by
outright purchase or with the assistance of
Green Acres funding.
County Open Space Trends
1966 1972 1986 1986
Bamboo Brook 0 0 101
Black River 71 114 488
Flanders Valley 322 409 409
Fosterfields 0 0 225
Frelinghuysen 40 128 128
Great Swamp 0 0 41
Hedden 199 214 285 60
James Andrews 288 367 581
Lewis Morris 527 725 1,154
Loantaka Brook 557 560 575
Mahlon Dickerson 825 977 2,156 450
Mt.PauI 85 257 283
Old Troy 0 0 %
Passaic River 264 264 264 450
Patriots Path 0 21 37
Pinch Brook 0 0 102
Schooley's Mountain 0 307 394 152
Silas Condict 266 266 266
Sunset Valley 104 127 144
Toume 403 463 4% 50
Traction Line NA NA NA NA
Mennen 0 0 35
Willowwood 0 0 131
TOTAL 3,951 '5,199 8,391 1,162
Morris County Park Commission Acreage
and Land Donations
Morris County Parks
_ Total Acreage
_ Total Donated
Bamboo Brook OEC
Black River Park
Flanders Valley GC
Frelinghuysen Arbor.
Great Swamp OEC 1
He dden Par k j @ ~ ~ j _._ _ _.._~ · _ · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · _ · · · · · T - - · · _ · · · · · · _ .. _._ _ ] __--I
James Andrews MP
Lewis Morris Park
Loantaka Brook Res
Mahlon Dickerson Res 2
Mount Paul Memorial
Old Troy Park
Passaic River Park
Patriot's Path
Pinch Brook GC
Schooley's Mtn. Park
Silas Condict Park
Sunset Valley GC
Tourne Park
Traction Line 3
William G. Mennen SA
Wi Ilowwood Arboretum
o 500 1000 1500 2000 2500
1 Agreement with u.s. Fish and Wildlife SeIVice Acres
2 572 Acres· Leased from NJ DEP
3 Not Available
Morris County Open Space Element 23
The size of the county's parks range from the
35 acres of Mennen Sports Arena to 2,156
acres of the Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.
More than half of the parks are greater than
250 acres in size.
Sixteen of the county's parks are located
south of Route 10. Those in the southeastern
section of the county include Loantaka Brook
Reservation, Frelinghuysen Arboretum,
Fosterfields, Great Swamp Outdoor Educa-
tion Center, Passaic River Park, Mennen
Sports Arena, Pinch Brook Golf Course,
Lewis Morris Park and Patriots Path. In the
central southern section is. James Andrews
Park, as yet undeveloped, and another portion
of Patriot's Path.
Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center,
Willowwood Arboretum, Schooley's Moun-
tain Park and Flanders Valley Golf Course
serve the recreational needs of the south-
western portion of the county. Black River
Park and Mt. Paul Memorial Park, also in this
area, are undeveloped.
To the north of Route 10, Morris County has
six county parks. Hedden Park, Tourne Park
and Old Troy Park serve the municipalities
along the 1-80 and Route 46 corridor, while
Silas Condict Park and Sunset Valley Golf
Course are more accessible to those
municipalities along Route 23. Mahlon-
Dickerson Reservation, situated on the north-
western boundary of Jefferson Township, ser-
ves a county wide population.
Nine of the county's parks can be classified
as natural area-general purpose parks and
contain active recreational facilities such as
ballfields, playgrounds, picnic areas, swimming
areas, pedestrian paths and bikeways. Lewis
Morris Park, Silas Condict Park and
Schooley's Mountain Park are examples of
Morris County's general purpose parks.
The remaining parks, excluding the three
which are undeveloped, can be classified as
special purpose parks. Facilities at these parks
are oriented toward specific recreational, cul-
tural, and/or educational activities. Examples
Morris County Open Space Element 24
of specific recreational parks include three
golf courses (Flanders Valley, Pinch Brook
and Sunset Valley), an ice skating and hockey
arena (Mennen Sports Arena), and a riding
stable (Seaton Hackney). Specific cultural and
educational facilities include a historical farm
(Fosterfields), two outdoor educational cent-
ers (Great Swamp and Bamboo Brook), and
two arboretums (Frelinghuysen and Willow-
wood). Also, at the northern end of Black
River Park, is Cooper Mill, a renovated and
operating grist mill. The unique facilities at
these special purpose parks attract visitors
from outside of the county as well.
Additionally, the Morris County Park Com-
mission has constructed the Traction Line
Bikeway extending along the New Jersey
Transit rail line from Morris Avenue in Mor-
ristown to Convent Road at Convent Station.
The park commission is also continuing the
acquisition of land for Patriots Path, a major
trail which will link parks across the southern
portion of the county.
In addition, the Morris County Park Com-
mission is considering the acquisition of an
additional 1,162 acres, as indicated in Table
3-3. Areas under consideration for the expan-
sion of Patriots Path have not been included
in the 1,162 acre figure. Several commission
proposals represent land acquisition necessary
for buffer protection in order to mitigate ad-
verse impacts from development beyond park
The county parks are described below in al-
phabetical order.
Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center
Location: Chester Township
Area: 101 Acres
A formal garden and education area, Bam-
boo Brook was designed by Martha Brooks
Hutcheson, one of the first female landscape
architects in the nation. Dedicated in 1974, the
center has exotic and native plants, and trails
that wind through the grounds, including a
self-guiding trail with 24 stations. Programs
held here include Summer Music Festival
Concert performances, school programs for
children, and horticultural workshops and
demonstrations for adults.
Black River Park
Location: Chester Township
Area: 488 acres
This park includes Cooper Mill and an un-
developed area adjacent to the ~ l a c k River.
The area .protects the river from encroach-
ment and is available only for day hiking and
fishing. At Cooper Mill, which was built in
1826 and dedicated in 1978, visitors can ob-
serve an operating grist mill. Programs held
here include folklore, school programs and
related historic and cultural demonstrations.
Future plans include making the facility more
accessible to the mobility-impaired.
Flanders Valley Golf Course
Location: Mt. Olive and Roxbury
Area: 409 acres
One of three park commission golf course
sites, Flanders Valley with 36 holes is fre-
quently acclaimed by Golf Digest to be one of
the top 50 public courses in the nation. Sup-
port facilities include a clubhouse, pro shop,
snack bar, locker rooms and a golf cart build-
ing. Ice skating, conditions permitting, is per-
mitted in winter. A non-recreational asset of
this site is that it is a very productive source of
water for the Morris County Municipal
Utilities Authority, having a well that delivers
over 2,000 gallons per minute.
Morris County Open Space Element 25
Location: Morris Township
Area: 225 acres
Designated a Living Historical Farm, Foster-
fields is going through a continuous process of
redevelopment. The park commission is re-
creating the turn of the century, 1890-1910, by
rebuilding the barns, reconstructing the main
house "The Willows", and preserving a work-
ing farm for the enjoyment of visitors.
Weekend programs and activities of farm-re-
lated and historic topics are scheduled from
May through October. A Harvest Festival is
held in the fall, and children's school programs
are popular during the school year. A Visitors'
Center provides information, exhibits, a meet-
ing room and slide and film presentations.
Frelinghuysen Arboretum
Location: Hanover and Morris Townships
.Area: 128 acres
Fre1inghuysen Arboretum is the administra-
tive headquarters of the park commission. Ac-
quired in 1%9, the Frelinghuysen Arboretum
is maintained as an ecological haven of native
and exotic plants. The terrain varies from
woodland to swamp to open fields. In the main
building, classes and workshops for school
children and adults are presented. The
grounds are a principal site for concerts during
the Summer Music Festival, and are also
popular for weddings. Two self-guiding trails
and a Braille Trail provide insights into the
beauty of nature, for all, throughout the year.
Future plans are to build an educational com-
plex with home demonstration gardens,
providing an enhanced opportunity for public
education and enjoyment. Continued use of
the community gardens area may also require
the expansion of this activity.
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
Location: Chatham Township
Area: 41 acres
The Outdoor Education Center, located at
the eastern end of the Great Swamp, operates
in agreement with the U.S. Department of the
Interior, and provides extensive programs for
school children as well as for the public on
weekends. It contains a comprehensive nature
resource library, exhibits and hands-on learn-
ingresources. A recently c o m p l e t e ~ birdblind,
adjacent to a boardwalk and handicapped
parking spaces, makes it accessible to the
mobility-disabled. Future changes for greater
accessibility are planned and funded. A
boardwalk trail extends approximately one
mile into the Great Swamp through areas rich
with flora and fauna. School classes and family
programs range from maple sugaring and In-
dian Lore to ecology and owl walks.
Hedden Park
Location: Dover, Randolph and Mine Hill
Area: 285 acres
A multi-purpose park, Hedden offers both
active and leisure opportunities. The original
40 acres ofHedden Parkwere donated in 1963
by Mr. and Mrs. Willard Hedden of Dover.
The park provides green space in a heavily
populated area. Located along Jackson
Brook, the park's six acre lake provides boat-
ing and fishing and a place to ice skate in
winter. Trails wind through the park for hik-
ing, biking and cross country skiing. A picnic
shelter, family picnic sites and two ballfields
are also available. In 1986, it was the sitewhere
the first concert was interpreted for the deaf.
It also hosts two concerts during the Summer
Music Festival.
Morris County Open Space Element 26
James Andrew Memorial Park
Location: Randolph
Area: 581 acres
An undeveloped area, James Andrews con-
tains undisturbed forests and wetlands, mak-
ing it a valuable habitat for wildlife. Currently
it is set aside for preservation. .
Lewis Morris Park
Location: Mendham, Harding and
Morris Townships
Area: 1,154 acres
One of the more heavily used parks, Lewis
Morris was the first county park. A lake re-
creation area provides swimming, fishing,
boating and ice skating. These activities are
supported by a bath and boathouse with snack
bar, locker rooms and first aid room. Four
ballfields, numerous family picnic sites and
several group areas are connectedbyfive miles
of trails within the park. There is also a Par-
course Exercise Circuit, and at the Tempe
Wick Road Entrance there is an overnight
camping area for organized groups and a day
camp area.
Loantaka Brook Reservation
Location: Chatham, Harding and Morris
Area: 574 acres
This linear parkhelps provide additional pro-
tection to Loantaka Brook and the Great
Swamp. Three ballfields, two picnic areas, a
recreational trail and bridle trail at the Seaton
Hackney Stable Complex, and a pond area
offer opportunities for ballgames, picnicking,
jogging, biking, horseback riding, cross
country skiing and ice-skating. Future plans
call for the construction of a group shelter at
the South Street Recreation Area.
Mahlon Dickerson Reservation
Location: Jefferson
Area: 2,155 acres
MaWon Dickerson with its mountainous ter-
rain and extensivewetlands offers a wilderness
experience unmatched anywhere else inMor-
ris County. Approximately eight miles of trails
lead through thick stands of rhododendrons
and mountain laurels. One of the
lent features is the Headley Overlook, at 1,300
feet elevation, one of the highest points in
Morris County. The northern section of Lake
Hopatcong may be viewed from this vantage
point. The recent addition of Saffin-Rock Rill
Reservation and the former "SnowBowl" pro-
pertyhave opened up a myriad ofrecreational
considerations for both programs and
facilities. Existing facilities, in addition to the
trails, include adirondack shelters, a tent and
trailer camping area, picnic area, ballfields and
fishing at Saffin Pond. Educational activities
for both school groups and families are held in
the main Saffin Complex.
Mount Paul Memorial Park
Location: Chester Township
Area: 283 acres
This is an undeveloped park being preserved
for future use.
Old Troy Park
Location: Parsippany-Troy Hills
Area: 96 acres
Old Troy Park, formerly an undeveloped
municipal park, has family picnic sites,
children's playforms, horseshoe pits, a ball-
field, a hiking trails, and a pond for fishing.
Morris County Open Space Element 27
Two streams join at the pond and then flow
through the park into nearby Troy Meadows,
a state Green Acres project. The park's na-
tural features of woods, water and wetlands
make it a favorite spot for bird watching. The
park is being considered for further develop-
ment of picnic areas and ballfield facilities.
Passaic River Park ..
Location: Passaic and Chatham Townships
Area: 264 acres
Passaic River Park protects portions of the
Passaic River in Passaic and Chatham Town-
ships, and provides for fishing and ice skating
along the river as well as a ballfield and picnic
area. A hiking trail winds along the shoreline
for about one mile. A major addition of land
along the river is being donated by a local
Patriots Path
Location: Morris Township
Area: 37 acres
Patriots Path is designed as a linear recrea-
tional park and to protect the WhippanyRiver
from further encroachment. The establish-
ment and development of this park is also an
outstandingexample of county, municipal and
private sector cooperation. Paved sections of
the path are heavilyused as biking, jogging and
walkingtrails. The unpaved sections, including
several that run through parkland, are used by
hikers. Administration and maintenance of
the path is the responsibility of the abutting
land owners. When completed, the primary
path is expected to run through the county
from East Hanover to Washington Township,
with secondary trails along the Upper Raritan
and Rockaway rivers to link existing local,
county and national parks and historic sites.
Pinch Brook Golf Course
Location: Florham Park and East Hanover
Area: 102 acres
Pinch Brook is the newest golf course in the
county system. It is an 18 hole, par 65 course
popular with senior citizens. A new clubhouse
was completedin 1987. Formerlya private golf
club, a portion was sold for residential con-
struction and most of the rest was transferred
to the BoroughofFlorhamPark, which intum
transferred-it to the county park ~ m m i s s i o n .
The area -includes a feeder stream of Black
Meadows, a largewetland in the PassaicBasin.
Schooley's Mountain Park
Location: Washington
Area: 394 acres
Amulti-service park, Schooley's has areas for
picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing and ice
skating. Concerts of the Annual Summer
Music Festival are held at the open air natural
amphitheater. Two ballfields, horseshoe pits
and two miles of hiking trails complete the
recreational opportunities available. A hike
deeper into the park reveals waterfalls, fast
moving streams and lush woodland. An infor-
mation center is staffed during the summer
months when nature programs, films and trail
walks are scheduled. The park was originally
contributed to the Morristown YMCAby the
Morristown Rotary Club in 1923, and was ac-
quired by the park commission in 1968. It pro-
tects environmentally sensitive areas in the
South Branch Raritan River watershed.
Morris County Open Space Element 28
Silas Condict Park
Location: Kinnelon
Area: 266 acres
Named for a Revolutionary War patriot,
Silas Condict Park has winding hiking trails
connecting several scenic overlooks. A pic-
turesque seven acre lake offers boating, fish-
ing and ice skating. opportunities. Sheer rock
outcroppings challenge -novice rock climbers.
Because ofits proximity to Route 23, the park
is extremely busy on Sundays during the sum-
mer months. Families and groups from out-of-
county frequently fill the park to capacity.
Sunset Valley Golf Course
Location: Pequannock and Kinnelon
Area: 144 acres
Dedicated in 1974, Sunset Valley Park is an
18 hole golf course of outstanding scenic
beauty with the mountains of Kinnelon form-
ing a dramatic backdrop. The serenity of this
popular golf course may be severely impacted
by construction ofI-287. Construction is plan-
ned for the hillside above the course, part of it
on park property. These activities will need to
be closely supervised to limit avoidable en-
vironmental degradation.
Location: Boonton Township, Denville and
Mountain Lakes
Area: 496 acres
Toume Park is a natural areas park with a
mature forest of giant beech and hemlock.
Fromthe top of the Toume, at 895 feet eleva-
tion, visitors can see breathtaking views of the
surrounding area. The Emilie K -Hammond
Wildflower Trail is a treasure trove of wood-
land wildflowers. Other trails, frequently used
by joggers and cross country skiers, wind
through a bird sanctuary and link with the
Mountain Lakes trails to Birchwood Lake.
Future acquisition plans include land to con-
nect the park to the Rockaway River as well
as for protection against encroaching develop-
Traction Line Bikeway
Location: Morris Township and Morristown
Length: Two miles
The Traction Line Bikeway i ~ the most
recent addition to the three bikeways that cur-
rently run through portions of the county.
Dedicated on June 5, 1986, the Traction Line
was a cooperative effort between the Morris
County Park Commission, Jersey Central
Power and Light Company and the NewJersey
Department of Transportation. The bikeway,
adjacent to NewJersey Transit rail line, is the
only path separated from the county's parks.
It is a fine example of adaptive re-use of quasi-
public land.
William G. Mennen Sports Arena
Location: Morris Township and Morristown
Area: 35 acres
Donated by The Mennen Company, the cor-
porate headquarters of which are adjacent to
the Arena. Supported bybonds issued in 1975,
the MennenArena has grown from a single ice
skating surface to a duplex of two multi-pur-
pose rinks. Skating continues here throughout
the year. It is also used for other events such
as tennis tournaments, concerts and circuses.
Morris County Open Space Element 29
Willowwood Arboretum
Location: Chester Township
Area: 131 acres
Located in a shallowvalley, Willowwood is a
remarkable mosaic of formal gardens, brook-
sidetrails, rollingfields and undisturbedwood-
lands. Almost 3,500 kinds of native and cul-
tivated plants are available for study. The
estate, dating from 1792, was established as a
private arboretumin 1950, and from 1967until
1980 it was under the proprietorship of Rut-
gers University. In 1980 it became a unit of the
Morris CountyParksystem. Geologically, Wil-
lowwood and its neighboring park, Bamboo
Brook, are of particular interest since Willow-
wood is in the Piedmont Province of New
Jersey, while much of Bamboo Brook lies in
the Highlands Province.
One of the roles of municipal government in
providing park land is to supply active recrea-
tion areas easily accessible from residential
neighborhoods. These parks are usually
smaller in size than county parks. Facilities at
municipal parks include playground equip-
ment, picnic areas, ballfields, tennis courts,
basketball courts and swimming pools.
Inorder to update the municipal open space
acreages and to determine the type of recrea-
tional facilities available at the local level, an
open space questionnaire was sent out to
every municipality in the county. Municipal
officials were asked to identify their existing
parks and open space areas by tax block and
lot and street address, and to list the area and
facilities available at each park.
According to the responses, a majority of the
municipalities provide the traditional town
park, playground and/or ballfield. A few mun-
icipalities, in addition to providing active
recreational facilities, have obtained parkland
that because of its use and size is not usually
associated with this level of government.
Chester Township, for example, obtained the
former Peapack-Gladstone Reservoir and
turned the 315 acre parcel into a primitive
camping area now called Tiger Brook Park.
Also, some municipalities in Morris County
have enacted cluster development regulations
which require that environmentally sensitive
areas be dedicated to the municipality as open
space. At "Sherbrooke at Gillette", a develop-
ment in Passaic Township, approximately 71
acres of environmentally sensitive land were
.dedicated to the township. .
Presently there are 325 municipaJ recreation
and openspace areas in Morris County. These
parks account for 7,605 acres or 23% of the
total government-owned open space. (See
Table 3-4). The amount and proportion of
land dedicated to municipally-owned open
spacevaries greatlyfrommunicipality to muni-
cipality. RoxburyTownshipwith 704acres, has
the most municipal open space, while Victory
Gardens. has none. Mountain Lakes, one of
the county's smallest municipalities at 3.2
squaremiles, has the largest proportion (20%)
of its total area in municipal open space.
Due to the different methodologies used in
the 1972 "Open Space Element" in determin-
ing the amount of municipally-owned open
space, a comparison of the 1972 and 1986
figures would be misleading. The 1972 figures
are comprised of developed and undeveloped
recreational areas and school recreational
areas. The 1986 figures include both
developed and undeveloped recreational
areas and conservationor critical environmen-
tal areas, but not school recreational areas.
A detailed description of open space and
recreation for each municipality can be found
beginning on page 35.
Municipally-Owned Open Space
Boonton Town 160
Boonton Township 78
Butler ·10
Chatham Borough 181
ChathamTownship 156
Chester Borough 57
Chester Township 461
Denville 130
Dover 49
East Hanover 106
Florham Park 117
Hanover 242
Harding 38
Jefferson 69
Kinnelon 18
Lincoln Park 92
Madison 178
Mendham Borough 173
Mendham Township 384
Mine Hill 73
Montville 327
Morris Township 203
Morris plains 77
Morristown 163
Mountain Lakes 358
Mt. Arlington 96
Mt. Olive 412
Netcong 22
Parsippany-Troy Hills 449
Passaic 256
Pequannock 429
Randolph 300
Riverdale 8
Rockaway Borough 23
Rockaway Township 610
Roxbury 704
Victory Gardens 0
Washington 342
Wharton 54
Morris County Open Space Element 30
TOTAL 7,605
School Recreational Lands
School facilities in Morris County provide
half the amount of total recreation area that
municipal parks provide. School recreational
areas account for almost 6% (3,557 acres) of
the total open space in the county. The
acreage of land dedicated to school parks in
each municipality ranges from 519 acres in
Morris Township to none in Victory Gardens.
Both public and private school parks comple-
ment municipal parks in providing'recreatlOn-
al facilities such as ballfields, tennis courts,
track and playground equipment. These
facilities are usually available to residents
during off-school hours. As mentioned pre-
viously, one school-owned property is a nature
preserve and is owned by a school situated
outside of the county. The property, known as
"The Glen", is a 30 acre nature preserveowned
by Montclair State College and located in
Montville. As in the case of other school re-
creationallands, township residents are per-
mitted to use the tract for passive recreation.
Watershed Lands
Of the eight open space categories, the
13,776 acres of watershed lands constitute the
largest amount of open space in Morris County
(see Figure 7-1). These lands not only protect
ground and surface water supplies, but also
maintain wildlife habitats and provide oppor-
tunities for passive recreation. Although
numerous municipal utility authorities, water
departments, and water companies are si-
tuated in the county, only six own significant
parcels of open space to provide and protect
their water supplies. Three out-of-county
municipalities, Newark, Jersey City, and East
Orange own large tracts of land in Morris
County. Newark's Pequannock Watershed
lands located in Rockaway Township, Jeffer-
son Township and Kinnelon Borough, to-
Morris County Open Space Element 31
gether total 6,484 acres and contain the Oak
Ridge and Charlotteburg Reservoirs. Jersey
City Watershed lands located in R o c k a ~ a y ,
Jefferson, and Parsippany TownshIps
comprise 4,100 acres and contain the Split
Rock and Jersey City Reservoirs. Together,
Newark's Pequannock Watershed and the
portion of the Jersey City Watershed property
located along the northern edge of the county
form a contiguous open space area of 8,106
acres, an area which is over 1,000 acres larger
than the Great Swamp NWR. Actually, only a
portion, 19%, of Newark's Pequannock's
Watershed is situated within Morris County.
The total area of the Watershed, which ex-
tends into Passaic and Sussex Counties, is
25,000 acres. The MCMUA and the
SMCMUA are the two major regional water
purveyors in Morris County. The MCMUA
owns the Alamatong Well Field, a major water
supply facility located on the border of Ran-
dolph and Roxbury townships. In protecting
the water supply, Alamatong provides ap-
proximately 460 acres of open space. The
MCMUA also owns two areas that are pro-
posed reservoir sites. The 327 acre site of the
Pulaski Reservoir is located in northern Mt.
Olive Township. No plans are currently
proposed for the reservoirs construction.
However, feasibility studies are underway on
the proposed Washington Valley Reservoir in
Morris Township. Of the total 735 acres of the
Washington Valley Reservoir, presently 564
acres are in open space, the remaining lands
are still occupied by residences. In the mean-
time, public ownership is protecting the ap-
proximately 400 acres of wetlands in the pro-
posed reservoir area. The SMCMUA's major
landholding is the 900 acre Clyde Potts Reser-
voir site in Randolph and Mendham Town-
ships. The SMCMUA has also smaller open
space parcels totalling 84acres inHanover and
Morris Townships. The only inter-county
private water purveyor owning a substantial
amount ofopen space in Morris County is the
Commonwealth Water Company, which sup-
plies water primarily to municipalities in Essex
and Union counties. The water companyowns
approximately 68 acres of land in Chatham
Borough, Kinnelon Borough and Passaic
Township to protect its water supply facilities.
The land ownedby thesewater companies and
municipal utility authorities is strictly for the
establishment and protection of water supply
facilities. In most cases, these properties are
posted against trespassing. However,
Newark's PequannockWatershed is an excep-
tion where public access is allowed for certain
recreational uses. Before entering the Water-
shed, users must first obtain a permit from the
Newark Watershed Conservation and
Development Corporation, a non-profit or-
ganization which is responsible for managing
the property on behalf of the City of Newark.
Hiking, picnics, camping and hunting are the
primary recreational uses allowed in the
Watershed. In Morris County, fishing and
boating are permitted only on the Oak Ridge
Commercial Recreational Facilities
Commercial recreational facilities are money
makingventures where recreation is the prime
attraction for business and profit. The
facilities are usually available to anyone for a
fee. For the purpose of determining existing
openspace inMorris County, onlycommercial
recreational lands providing outdoor facilities
were counted. Presently, these lands comprise
the smallest open space category, accounting
for only 4.4%, or 2,696 acres of the county's
total open space. Fifty commercial recreation-
al facilities were identified throughout 23
municipalities. The most numerous facilities
are golf courses and swim clubs. Fifteen
municipalities have private golf courses
(totalling 18 golf courses) and eleven
municipalities have private swim clubs (total-
ling 14 swim clubs). Other private facilities in
Morris County Open Space Element 32
the county inchide recreational clubs and
camps, ridingstables, sportsmen's associations
and a ski facility.
Not-for-Profit Recreational Lands
Not-for-profit open space recreational lands
are owned and maintained by non-profit or-
ganizations, such as homeowner's or property
owners associations or private clubs. Unlike
commercial recreational facilities, not-for-
profit organizations do not expect a monetary
return on their land. Approximately 14% or
8,622 acres of the total open space in Morris
County is in not-for-profit open space or
recreational lands. Over half of the not-for-
profit lands are owned by non-profit conserva-
tion organizations or non-profit camps. Ap":
proximately 27% of the not-for-profit open
space is owned by property owners associa-
tions. The remaining not-for-profit lands are
owned by private clubs.
Non-Profit Conservation Organizations
Five conservation organizations currently
preserve 3,155 acres of open space in Morris
County (see Figure 7-1 ). The purpose of these
organizations or trusts is to obtain and
preserve unique or critical natural areas and
wildlife habitats. Two of the conservation or-
ganizations, the Trust for Public Land and the
Nature Conservancy, obtain land throughout
the United States. The remaining organiza-
tions, Wildlife Preserves, Inc, The NewJersey
Conservation Foundation and the NewJersey
Audubon Society, only preserve land in New
Wildlife Preserves, Inc.
LANDHOLDINGS: East Hanover, Hard-
ing, Lincoln Park, Montville and-
Parsippany-Troy Hills.
AREA: 1,990 acres
As its name implies, Wildlife Preserves main-
tains habitats for wildlife. Its largest property
is a 1,722 acre tract of Troy Meadows, a large
wetland area in Parsippany-Troy Hills and
East Hanover.
The Trust For Public Land
(Schiff Natura! Land Trust)
LANDHOLDINGS: Mendham Borough
and Mendham Township
AREA: 401 acres
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) acquires
land throughdonation or at lower thanmarket
value and then conveys the lan<;i to public
agencies or non-profit conmlUnity' groups for
recreational and environmental purposes.
TPL itself does not hold or maintain open
space for a long time period. TPL's only ac-
quisition in Morris County is a former Boy
Scout center, the Mortimer L. Schiff Reserva-
tion, in the Mendhams. The Schiff Reserva-
tion was first purchased by AT&T to be
developed as a conference center. However,
because of strong local opposition to the
project, AT&T sold it to the TPL for below
market value. In order to finance the main-
tenance of the property, approximately 140
acres are slated for a residential development
of 76 single family houses. Also, as part of
Mendham Township's Mt. Laurel obligation,
an existing building will be renovated for 12
condominium units for low and moderate in-
come families. Not only was Mendham
Township able to preserve a substantial
amount of open space, but it was also able to
provide lower income housing on the same
property. Some of the profits from the
. residential development will be used to help
area residents set up the Schiff Natural Lands
Trust for the upkeep of the Reservation. TPL
has also applied to the state's Open Lands
Management Program which provides funds
to private property owners to improve their
land for public access.
Morris County Open Space Element 33
Nature Conservancy/Conservation Fund
AREA: 380 acres
The purpose of the Nature Conservancy is
to preserve and maintain critical wildlife
habitats throughout the nation for rare and
endangered plants and animals. Recently, ap-
proximately 300 acres of open space contain-
ing steep slopes and rock outcroppings were
donated to Nature Conservancy by a private
landholder. However, an ecological survey did
not indicate the existence of any rare and/or
endangered wildlife and the tract was trans-
ferred to the Conservation Fund. The Morris
CountyParkCommissionis nowin the process
of acquiring this land.
The NewJersey Conservation Foundation
LANDHOLDINGS: Hanover, Mendham
Township, Morristown, Passaic and
AREA: 308 acres
Similar to TPL's intermediary role in acquir-
ing open space, the New Jersey Conservation
Foundation also obtains recreational land to
be passed on at cost to a government or quasi-
public agency. The Conservation Foundation
acquires all types of open space and recrea-
tionalland in urban, suburban and rural areas.
The NJ. Conservation Foundation's holding
in Morris County will be eventually turned
over to the county park commission or the
respective municipality if the government
agencies are able and willing to accept them.
Most of the landholdings are unimproved and
consist of environmentally sensitive areas ad-
jacent to streams. The exception is a life estate
with a residencewhich was donated to the N.J.
Jersey Conservation Foundation. No plans
have been made at this time regarding the
future management of the estate. The New
Jersey Conservation Foundation also acquires
land in less than fee simple in the form of .
conservation easements. In Morris County,
the Foundation has acquired conservation
easements primarily along streams.
NewJersey Audubon Society
AREA: 76 acres
The NewJersey Audubon Societyhas estab-
lished five Audubon Centers throughout the
state. In Morris County, a 76 acre:portion of
the 260 acre Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuary is
located in Harding, with the remainder
situated in Bernardsville, Somerset County.
The tract is wooded and contains streams and
wetland areas. The Scherman-Hoffman
Sanctuary and the four other Audubon
Centers stress environmental education andin
doing so, maintain and manage wildlife
habitats at the centers. Only activities such as
birding, photography and nature walks are
permitted on their properties. Fishing, camp-
ing, picnics and hunting are excluded.
Non-Profit Camps
Presently, 13 non-profit camps, with land
totalling 1,771 acres, are in Morris County.
Seven camps affiliated with the Girl Scouts or
Boy Scouts, presently provide approximately
1,362 acres of open space. The remaining
camps are owned and run by either religious
organizations or non-profit handicapped or-
Property Owners and Homeowners As-
Both property owners associations and
homeowners associations own and maintain
open space and recreational facilities for the
exclusive use of their members. In Morris
County, 36 property owners and homeowners
associations provide approximately 2,285
acres of open space. This acreage includes
Morris County Open Space Element 34
water area aswell as land area. Presently, these
associations are situated in 17 municipalities
throughout the county. The associations how-
ever differ in their creation and orientation. ,
A property owners association is an organiza-
tion consisting of property owners in a specific
geographical area of a municipality. The as-
sociation mayor may not require mandatory
membership for which a fee is assessed from
property owners. Most of the 21 property
owners associations in Morris County are
situated around lakes. The lakes and the re-
lated recreational facilities, including beaches
and playgrounds, are maintained by the as-
sociations for the sole use of their members.
The property owners associations lands are
distinct and separate from individual property
owners lands. A homeowners association is an
organization consisting of homeowner's in a
cluster subdivision, a planned unit develop-
ment, or a planned residential development.
The developer is responsible for creating the
homeowner's association in accordance with
the municipality's land use regulations. The
purpose of the association is to maintain open
space and recreational facilities as well as any
other commonly owned areas related to the
development. Membership in the home-
owners association is usually automatic with
the purchase of a home in the development.
As in the case of a property owners associa-
tion, a membership fee is assessed for each
home for the maintenance of the property.
Outdoor Clubs
A not-for-profit outdoor club consists of a
group ofindividualswhoown andmanageland
for the enjoyment of open space and as-
sociated recreational activities. Presently,
eight outdoor clubs provide approximately .
433 acres ofopen space in Morris County. The
most common not-for-profit outdoor clubs in
the county are owned or leased bysportsmen's
clubs, such as The Shongum Sportsmen's As-
sociation, which use the open space for hunt-
ing and fishing. The remaining clubs are
owned by ethnic or other types of social as-
sociations and are geared toward more active
recreational activities such as picnicking and
sporting events. Approximately 948 acres of
open space are owned by not-for-profit com-
munity clubs, service organizations and
religious organizations. The largest parcel of
openspace, 871 acres, is ownedbythe Mission
Society of St. Paul the Apostle in Jefferson
Morris County Open Space Element 35
Approximately 7% or 113 acres ofthe Town
of Boonton is town-owned open space. The
town owns 12 parks. Two of the larger parks,
Sheep Hill Park and Veteran's Memorial
Park, are partially within adjacent
municipalities, so the total of town-owned
open space is 159 acres. Of Sheep Hill Park's
43 acres, 38 acres are in neighboring Boonton
Township. Located in the northeast comer of
the town, it is developed for passive recreation
such as picnicking and hiking. The park also
has an unique feature, an astronomical obser-
vatory. About eight of the 50 acres of
Veteran's Memorial Park extend into Mon-
tville. This park accounts for almost halfofthe
town's park acreage and is presently undev-
eloped. Nine ofthe openspace parcels are less
than five acres in size and four of these are
developed as tot lots. The main recreation
area is along both sides of the Rockaway
River, with Canalside Park on the east bank
and Grace Lord Park on the west bank. Due
to the deterioration in water quality, however,
Parkview Beach, adjacent to Canalside Park
has been closed for health and safety reasons.
Morris County Open Space Element 36
Recently renovated, Canalside Park includes
courts, children's play areas and picnic tables.
A scenic walking path in the Boonton gorge,
offers spectacular view of waterfalls and rock
formations. Grace Lord Park also has play
areas and picnic tables as well as a gazebo. The
closing of the municipal beach is only one of
the problems affecting Boonton Town's park
system. Pepe Field was closed because of con-
taminated soils, and Veteran's Memorial Park
while a natural area with wooded trails, is un-
suitable for active recreation because of steep
slopes. This problem was addressed in the
1982 "Reexamination Report of the Boonton
Plan" which recommends expansion of the
park by acquiring an adjacent six acre lot
suitable for active recreation. The largest
open space parcel in the Town of Boonton is
the 134 acre portion of the Jersey City Reser-
voir situated at the southern border of the
municipality. Public access is prohibited in
order to protect the potablewater supply. The
total open space for the town is 326 acres or
20% of its area.
Boonton Township presently owns six parks
whose combined areas total approximately 78
acres or 1.4% of its area. The township also
owns a 30 foot easement along the Morris
Canal. Four of the parks are under five acres
in size. Leonard Park, approximately four
acres, is the only park in Boonton Township
developed for active recreation. The park, lo-
cated off Valley Road, has playground equip-
ment, courts, picnic areas and fishing areas
along a tributary of the Rockaway River. Grif-
fith Park, three-quarters of an acre, has only
park benches; however, fishing in the Rock-
away River is permitted here. Two parks are
unnamed and undeveloped. The two largest
parks, Tumble-In Park (24 Ac) and Forest
Park (46 Ac) were created and dedicated to
the township for passive recreation as a result
of cluster developments. Tumble-In Parkcon-
sists of environmentally sensitive areas along
the southern portion of Beaver Brook. Trails
and access to the brookfor fishing and boating
Morris County Open Space Element 37
are available at the park. Only trails exist at
Forest Parksituated at the northern border of
the township off Hillcrest Road. It too has
open space areas which are environmentally
sensitive. Aneasement alongthe Morris Canal
was also dedicated to Boonton Township as a
result of a development. The easement is lo-
cated along the rear property lines of residen-
ces along Pond Hill Drive and provides access
to the Rockaway River. The township also has
one county park, the Tourne (250 Ac), which
has active recreational facilities available to
Boonton Township residents. In addition to
publiclyowned openspace, four not-for-profit
associations, two property owners associa-
tions, a sportsmen's club, and a Boy Scout
Camp provide approximately 514 acres of
privately-owned open space. Public, quasi-
public and private open space constitute 899
acres or 16% of the township's area.
Butler has four parks with a combined
acreage of under 10 acres, which is less than
1% of the borough's area. This places Butler
third behind Riverdale and Victory Gardens
as having the least amount of municipally
owned open space. Stony Brook Swim Club,
located in the south-central portion of Butler,
is the borough's largest park (6 Ac). Recrea-
tional facilities at the swim club include
ballfields, playground equipment, picnic areas,
and anoutdoor swimming area. Theonlyother
parkwith recreational facilities is the Western
Avenue Park (1 Ac) which contains tennis
courts and picnic areas. The remaining two
parks, ArchStreet Park (3 Ac) which abuts the
Pequannock River and Terrace Avenue Park
are presently undeveloped. Three school
Morris County Open Space Element 38
parks provide recreational facilities which are
availabletoborough residents. Facilities at the
two elementary schools include ballfields,
playground equipment, courts and track. The
high school also provides ballfields and courts.
In addition to public facilities, two privately-
owned recreational areas provide ap-
proximately 31 acres of open space. Terrace
Lake, owned by a religious organization, has
miniature golf, andswimmingandpicnic areas.
Lake Edenwold Association, a property
owners association, owns and maintains Lake
Edenwold and a few adjacent land parcels.
The total open space for Butler is ap-
proximately 76 acres, or almost 6% of the
borough's area.
ChathamBorough currentlyowns nine open
space areas which total approximately 178
acres. The municipal open space constitutes
almost 12% of the total land area of the
borough, placing it second behind Mountain
Lakes in having the largest percentage of land
devoted to municipal open space. Only four
parks have been developed for active recrea-
tion. Facilities at Memorial Park (7 Ac), Gar-
den Park (4 Ac), Sheppard-Kollack Park (14
Ac), and StanleyPark (2 Ac) include ballfield,
playground equipment, tennis and basketball
courts, picnic areas, trails, and swimming and
boating areas. Wahula Woods (36Ac), Brook-
side Grove (7 Ac), as well as two parcels (11
Ac, 13 Ac, & 84Ac), situated along the Passaic
River have been designated as conservation
areas. At the northwestern border of the
borough, Brookside Grove and the 84 acre
Conservation parcel were acquired primarily
Morris County Open Space Element 39
to protect the watershed area. Only passive
recreational activities such as hiking and fish-
ing are permitted in this area. Wahula Woods,
situated in the northern section of the
borough, has only nature trails. The two other
conservation areas serve to protect the flood
plain of the Passaic River and form two un-
linkedsections ofa proposedlinear parkalong
the river. Five school facilities including a
private school are available for use by the
general public. These facilities include
ballfields, playgrounds, and track. Two private
outdoor tennis and swimmingfacilities are also
located in Chatham Borough. The total open
space provided by these private recreational
areas is approximately 16acres. The total open
space in Chatham Borough provided by
public, quasi-public, and private entities is
about 300 acres or almost 20%ofthe total area
of the borough.
Ten municipal parks comprising ap-
proximately 156 acres, nearly 3% of the
township's area, are distributed throughout
Chatham Township. The parks range in size
from the 0.2 acre Green Village Park, a
playground, to the 76 acre Tanglewood Lane
Park, a summer recreation and conservation
area. All of the parks except for Tanglewood
Laneand asmall conservationarea haveactive
recreational facilities. Facilities at the various
parks include ballfields, playground equip-
ment, courts, picnic areas and trails. Commer-
cial recreation facilities and non-profit or-
ganizations within Chatham Township
provide209 acres of openspace. Aprivate golf
course and a private swimming club are the
two major commercial recreational facilities.
The non-profit organizations' openspacecon-
Morris County Open Space Element 40
sists of ballfields and an ice rink associated
with two fire departments, and an outdoor
swimming facility. Chatham Township ranks
second in the percentage of government-
owned open space with 32% of its total land
area dedicated to federal, county and
municipal open space. The largest landholder
is the federal government with 22% of the
total land area (1,333 Ac. comprising a portion
of the Great Swamp NWR). The township
also has a substantial amount of county
parkland (475 Ac) withthe Great Swamp Out-
door Education Center and portions of the
Loantaka Brook Reservation and the Passaic
River Park located within its borders. The
total open space for Chathamis 2,240 acres or
37% of the township's a r e a ~
Public open space in Chester Borough is
comprised of three municipal parks: Chubb
Park, Grove Street Park, and Municipal Field.
In total, the borough's open space is 57 acres,
or 6% of its land area. Chubb Park is located
near the western border of Chester Borough
and extends into Chester Township. It is the
only municipal park in the county which is
co-owned by two municipalities. Approx-
imately42 acres ofthe 188acre parkarewithin
the borough, making Chubb Park the largest
open space area within the municipality.
Facilities at the park include ballfields,
Morris County Open Space Element 41
playground equipment, courts, picnic areas
and trails. Grove Street Park and Municipal
Field are smaller parks but are more centrally
located to serve the entiremunicipality. Grove
Street Park (9 Ac) has playground equipment,
courts and picnic areas; Municipal Field (5Ac)
has a ballfield and a tire playground. The only
quasi-public openspace in Chester Borough is
a school park associated with a church. The
recreational facilities available at this site in-
clude a ballfield and picnic grove. Public and
quasi-public open space comprises 76 acres or
8% of the borough's area.
Chester Township, basically a rural
municipality, contains a significant amount of
public open space. Municipal, county and
state parklands comprise 27%, or 5,099 acres,
of the township's total land area. Township
park land totals 462 acres, and consists of two
park sites: Chubb Park (146 Ac) and Tiger
Brook (316 Ac). Chubb Park, situated on
Route 24, extends into the borough, and is the
only park in the county co-owned by two
municipalities. The recreational facilities
available in the Chester Township portion are
ballfields, riding rings, an ice skating pond and
a par course.Tiger Brook Park was the former
Peapack-Gladstone Reservoir. It is now used
as a primitive camping area. No other
municipal recreational areas exist within the
township. Four county parks and two state
parks are also situated in the township and
Morris County Open Space Element 42
make up the bulk of its open space. Two con-
tiguous countyparks, Bamboo BrookOutdoor
Education Center (101 Ac) and Willowwood
Arboretum (131 Ac), located in the southern
part of township, preserve former private es-
tate landholdings. Mt. Paul Memorial Park
(283 Ac), on the eastern boundary and Black
River Park (488 Ac), in the south western
section of the township, are undeveloped.The
Black River County Park and two state parks,
Hacklebarney State Park (640 Ac) and Black
River Fish and Game Preserve (3,002 Ac),
form an extensive 4,130 acre open space cor-
ridor along the Black River from the south-
west comer to the northern border of the
township. The total open space for the
township comprises 5,360 acres or 28% of
Chester Township's area.
Eight municipal parks totalling 130 acres, or
almost 2% of the township's area, are dis-
persed throughout Denville. The largest park,
Muriel Hepner Park (32 Ac), is a nature park
preserving a wetlands area. Gardner Field (14
Ac) and Zeek Road Park (24 Ac) are
developed for active recreation. Gardner
Field is the most intensely developed with
ballfields, basketball and tennis courts,
playground equipment and a pavilion. Aswim-
ming area along the Rockaway River has been
closed for health reasons. The land for Zeek
Road Park was recently obtained from the
state. Presently only a soccer field has been
constructed. Birch Run (24 Ac), Den Brook
(23 Ac) and Toft Hill (8 Ac) parks in the
southern portion have all been dedicated to
Denville Township from the development of
residential subdivisions. These parks are un-
developed. Beacon Hill Park (5 Ac) is a small
neighborhood park in a residential area in the
southeastern section of the township. A
playground has been developed at this park.
Part ofone county parkis situatedwithin Den-
ville, approximately 216 acres of the Tourne
County Park is located at the boundary of
Morris County Open Space Element 43
Denville, Boonton Township and Mountain
Lakes. The Tourne protects a wooded hilltop
and provides a scenic overlook of the
farmlands and rolling hills of northern and
central Morris County. In addition to govern-
ment-owned open space, Denville contains a
substantial number of private recreational
areas. Five private community clubs or
property owners associations are situated
around lakes. These lake communities include
Cook's Pond, Rock Ridge Community Club,
Cedar Lake Property Owners Association,
Lake Arrowhead Club and Indian Lake Com-
munity Club. The use of the lakes and the
associated recreational facilities are restricted
to the resident members of the lake com-
Approximately 300 acres of open space, in-
cluding water area, are provided by property
owners associations. Two private golf courses
totalling 199 acres border on the "Valley", a
primarily agricultural lowland area bisected by
the Rockaway River and bordered by two
parallel ridges, in the northeastern section of
the township. Besides providing recreation,
the golf courses act as buffers between
residential areas and the farmlands. A sig-
nificant amount of watershed land in the
northwest comer of the township, 440 acres,
was sold by Jersey City in 1987 to a private
developer. The parcel is completely wooded
and contains such environmentally sensitive
areas as steep slopes, wetlands, ahigh seasonal
water table, and flood plains. The total open
spacefor Denville is 1,005 acres or almost 13%
of its area.
Morris County Open Space Element 44
The Town ofDover contains nine parks with
a total of approximately 49 acres or 3% of the
area of the town. Dover's largest open space
parcel, comprising almost half of its park
acreage, is an unnamed and undeveloped tract
which covers just over 21 acres on the west
bank of the Rockaway River near the Whar-
ton border. The largest improved park is Hurd
Park, nine acres in size. Jackson Brook and a
pond are the predominant features of this pas-
sive park which is improved with only
walkways, benches, a foot bridge and agazebo.
Each of the remaining parks is under five acres
in size. Across the Rockaway River from the
large open space parcel is Water Works Park
(4.5 Ac). Water Works Park has a ballfield,
basketball courts, playground, picnic areas and
a covered pavilion. Fishing is also permitted in
the Rockaway River. Situated in the south-
central portionoftown is Crescent Fieldwhich
is equal in size to Water Works Park but with
fewer facilities. Crescent Field has a ballfield,
basketball courts, a playground and a running
track. The Second Street Playground (2 Ac) is
directly across the street from Crescent Field.
Morris County Open Space Element 45
Two smaller parks, Salem Village and Over-
look, are also located in the southern portion
of Dover. Although each park is less than two
acres in size, each has developed recreational
facilities such as ballfields and playground
equipment. In the center of Dover is J.F.K
Commons Park, less than two acres insizewith
playground equipment and a bandstand. The
remaining municipal park is the King Field
Complex (2.5 Ac) on the northern Dover-
Rockaway Township border. The field has
beendeveloped for baseball and softball. Four
school parks contributing 30 acres of recrea-
tionalland are also available to town residents.
Permits are required to use the recreational
facilities at the high school and Hamilton
Field. Facilities available at the schools in-
clude ballfields, tennis and basketball courts,
playground equipment and track. Additional-
ly, an 18 acre portion of the county's Hedden
Park is situated on the southwest comer of
Dover. Public and quasi-public open space
constitutes 97 acres or 6% of the area of
The Township of East Hanover presently
owns and maintains five open space parcels
with a combined area of approximately 106
acres, or 2% of the township's area. Only
Lurker Park and Sommer's Park have been
developed for active recreation. These parks
make up over half of the township's total open
space acreage.
Lurker Park, situated in the northern section
ofthe township and abutting the Passaic River
is the major recreational area. The 59 acre
park has been developed with ballfields, bas-
ketball courts, picnic areas and playground
equipment. Also bordering the Passaic River,
south of Lurker Park is Sommer's Park. Facil-
ities at this eight-acre park include a ballfield
and a playground.
The three undeveloped parks for a contig-
uous open space area of almost 39 acres at the
southern East Hanover-FlorhamPark border.
These parcels, Fairview1, Fairview2, and Gif-
ford Heights, resulted from the development
Morris County Open Space Element 46
of residential subdivisions and are set aside for
floodwater storage.
In addition to municipally owned park, five
school parks provide recreational facilities..
The use of these parks by the public, however,
is restricted to the playground facilities.
The county and a commercial recreational
facility provide areas for specific recreational
activities. Adjacent to the three municipal
open space areas is a portion of the county's
new golf course, Pinch Brook. The commer-
cial recreation area is a pitch and putt and
batting cage facility which provides almost 14
acres of private open space.
Two non-profit organizations protect a sig-
nificant portion of the flood plain andwetland
areas in East Hanover. Wildlife PreserVes and
the NewJersey ConservationFoundationpro-
tect approximately 362 acres ofopen space for
wildlife. The total open space in the township
is 667 acres, or almost 13% of East Hanover's
Of the 594 acres of open space in Florham
Park, over 19%or 116 acres is municipal park-
land. Presently, there are 10 municipal parks
ranging from less than a quarter of an acre
(Campfield Gardens) to 71 acres (Emmett
Park). All of-the parks are developed and
provide facilities such as ballfields, playground
equipment, tennis courts, basketball courts,
picnic areas, swimming, fishing areas, trails
and ice rinks. Except for Emmett Park and
Campfield Gardens, all of the municipal parks
are in residential areas east of Ridgedale Ave-
nue. Emmett Park, the largest and most
developed park, is located on the western side
of Ridgedale Avenue behind the municipal
complex. Campfield Gardens is located at the
intersection ofRidgedale Avenue and Colum-
bia Turnpike, and diagonally across from
Columbia Gardens is Prudden Park (0.3 Ac),
a picnic area. Mini-Park, Patriot Park, Public
Plaza, and Baldwin Parkare less than one-half
acre in size and centrally located within the
borough. East of these parks is a ballfield,
Stobeaus Field (3 Ac). The remaining two
municipal parks are in thesouthern area of the
Morris County Open Space Element 47
borough. SpringGarden Lake Parkis a 26 acre
linear park along the banks of Spring Garden
Brookbetween a residential development and
the proposed Route 24 right-of-way. The
Beech-crest Recreational Area (14 Ac), the
only park south of proposed Route 24, is dev-
eloped with ballfields, playground equipment,
tennis and basketball courts and picnic areas.
In addition to municipally-owned open space,
two school parks contribute almost 46 acres of
recreational area to Florham Park. The
schools offer ballfields for use byboroughresi-
dents. A portion of the Pinch Brook Golf
Course, a county facility, is also in Florham
Park. Approximately 50 acres of the 101 acre
golf course are in the northern section of the
borough. Private commercial recreational
facilities account for the largest amount of
open space in the borough a private golf
course and a private swim club comprise al-
most 279 acres of recreational land. Addition-
ally the City of East Orange Water Depart-
ment owns approximately 104 acres of
watershed land adjacent to the Passaic River
to protect its water supply.
Of the total open space and recreational
areas in Hanover Township, 53%, or 260
acres, consist ofmunicipally- owned parkland.
Five of thirteen municipal parks are develop-
ed for recreational use. Bee Meadow Park is
the largest developed park. The 93 acre park,
situated in the northeastern section of the
township, surrounds Bee Meadow Pond.
Facilities include tennis and basketball courts,
playgroundequipment, trails anda picnic area.
Fishing and swimming are also permitted. The
second largest park is Central Park (40 Ac),
located along the Whippany River on South
Jefferson Road. Only trails and a portion of
Patriots Path run through this park. The two
other developed parks, Malapardis Park (20
Ac) and Black Brook Park (18 Ac) each have
the same recreational facilities which include
basketball and tennis courts, ballfields and
playground equipment. Malapardis Park is
near the western border of the township while
Black Brook Park is near the eastern border.
The smallest improved park is Momoe Park,
located on Whippany Road adjacent to the
Hanover-Morris Township border. This two
acre park primarily serves senior citizens. The
Morris County Open Space Element 48
recreational facilities at the park consist of
bocci, horseshoe pits and tennis courts. Thesix
open space parcels were dedicated to the
township as a result of residential subdivision.
Knollwood Estates (5 Ac), Trailwood (9 Ac),
Forest Way (19 Ac), and Hanover Green (8
Ac) open space parcels are situated in the
western residential area. Runnymede open
space (27 Ac) is adjacent to Bee MeadowPark
and Hansch open space (12 Ac) is situated
northwest of the Morristown Airport. Two
other undeveloped parks are Summit Avenue
Park (4 Ac) which is next to Hanover Green
and Reynolds Avenue Park (3 Ac) which is
adjacent to Runnymede. Four school parks
complement the Hanover's parks in providing
active recreational facilities such as ballfieIds
and playground equipment. These schools are
located in each of the residential areas of the
township. A 49 acre portion of the Frelin-
ghuysen Arboretum, a county park, is located
on the southwest border of the township on
East Hanover Avenue. In addition to govern-
ment-owned open space, private organiza-
tions and businesses provide approximately38
acres of open space and recreational area.
Two commercial recreational facilities in the
township are a swim club and a miniature golf
course and driving range. The non-profit New
Jersey Conservation Foundation is currently
holding a seven acre parcel along the banks of
Whippany River. The total open space is 495
acres, or 7% of Hanover's area.
Morris County Open Space Element 49
Harding Township maintains five parks
whose combined areas total approximately 38
acres, less than 1% of the township's area.
Four parks, Bayne Park (14 Ac), Kirby Hall
Park (7 Ac), Equestrian Park (8 Ac) and
Memorial Park (1 Ac) are all within a short
distance of each other in the center of the
township. Facilities at these parks, except
Memorial Park, include picnic areas, a fishing
and ice skating pond, ballfields, tennis courts
and an equestrian riding ring. Memorial Park
contains only a monument and is primarily
used for ceremonies. The remaining park,
Barrett Park, is a ballfield and is situated offof
Bailey's Mill Road adjacent to1-287. Although
Harding has a small amount of municipally-
owned parkland, it has both the greatest per-
centage of area and the largest number of
acres dedicated to government-owned parks
and open space in the county. Two federal
parks and two county parks account for 40%
or 5,240 acres ofthe total area ofthe township.
The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
covers the entire southern quarter of the
Morris County Open Space Element 50
township while the Jockey Hollow section of
the Morristown National Historical Park
covers most of the north-western corner. In
addition, portions of two county parks, 1.oan-
taka Brook Reservation in the northeast
corner, and Lewis Morris Park adjacent to
Jockey Hollow, contribute 283 acres of open
space. Not only does Harding have a tremen-
dous amount of public open space, but it also
has 225 acres of privately- owned open space.
Three conservation organizations, Wildlife
Preserves, New Jersey Conservation Founda-
tion and the New Jersey Audubon Society,
preserve approximately 163 acres of open
space for wildlife habitats. A 47 acre portion
of the Morris Area Council of Girl Scouts
camp also extends into Harding Township.
The remainder of the private open space is
maintained by three property owners associa-
tions, Lakeshore Properties, Harding Green
Associates and ShadowbrookAssociation. Al-
together, 5,541 acres or 42% of Harding is
presently dedicated to recreation land and
open space.
Although Jefferson Township is the second
largest municipality in Morris County, encom-
passing 42.9 square miles, relative to its size it
has a small number of acres in municipally-
owned open space. Presently, eight parks tot-
aling 69 acres are available to the township's
residents. Three of the parks, Prospect Point
Park, Longwood Lake Park and East Shore
Park, are under an acre in size. Prospect Point
Park in the Lake Hopatcong area and Long-
wood Lake Parkjust north of Longwood Lake
are pocket playground parks. East Shore Park,
also in the Lake Hopatcong area, is presently
under development as a pocket park. Three of
the remaining five parks are developed for
active recreation. The seven acre Janel Tract
Park, in the northeast section of the township,
has tennis courts, while three acre BradyPark,
in the Lake Hopatcong area, has both tennis
and basketball courts. White Rock Park,
which is two acres in size and is in the White
Rock Lake area, has only ballfields. The two
largest municipal parks, 713 County Park (30
Ac) and Ridge Road Park (26 Ac), are pre-
sently undeveloped. The 713 County Park is
located in the Shawnee Lake area in the
Morris County Open Space Element 51
southern section while the Ridge Road Park
is located west of White Rock Lake in the
northernsectionofthetownship. What Jeffer-
son lacks in municipal open space is partially
compensated for by the vast landholdings of
the county, state, quasi-public and private sec-
tors. The township contains the largest county
park, the 2,156 acre Mahlon Dickerson Reser-
vation situated along Weldon Road on the
western border. In the southeastern comer of
the township is a 563 acre sectionofthe State's
Berkshire Valley Wildlife Management Area.
The quasi-public and private sectors comprise
approximately 6,695 acres ofopen space and
recreational area, which is twice the amount
ofthe total government open space contained
within Jefferson. Of the 6,695 acres, 4,809
acres are owned and managed by Jersey City
and Newark for their water supply. The 704
acre Jersey City Watershed property extends
from the eastern boundary of the Mahlon
Dickerson Reservation to the eastern border
of the township. A 4,105 acre portion of
Newark's Pequannock Watershed, including
the Oak Ridge Reservoir, covers the entire
northern section of the township. Commercial
recreational facilities andnon-profit organiza-
tions constitute 1,310 acres and 1,406 acres,
respectively, of open space and recreational
land. Commercial recreational facilities in-
clude a golf course, asportsmen's club and two
camps. Non-profit open space consists of a
camp, a conservation fund property, two out-
door clubs and a religious retreat. Although
the township owns a relatively small amount
of open space it has the largest number of
acres currently designated as open space and
recreational land. Public, quasi-public, and
private open space presently encompass 9,482
acres, or 34% ofthe total land area ofJefferson.
Morris County Open Space Element 52
Kinnelon Borough has five municipally-
owned parks whose combined acreages total
only 18 acres, which is less than 1% of the
borough's area. Only two parks have been
developed for active recreation. The Boonton
Avenue Field (8 Ac) just north ofthe Boonton
Reservoir and the Municipal Field (2 Ac) be-
hind 'the municipal building off Kinnelon
Road have been developed as ballfields.
Pleasant Run Park (3 Ac) south of the
municipal field and two unnamed parks (3 Ac,
2.5 Ac) in the eastern portion of the borough
are undeveloped. Two county parks con-
tribute approximately297 acres ofopen space.
Silas Condict Park is located on the northern
border of the borough and a portion of Sunset
Valley Golf Course is situated at the southeast
border. Quasi-public and private organiza-
tions own and maintain the largest amount of
open space in the borough. Both Butler and
the Town of Boonton have their surfacewater
supplies situated in Kinnelon. The 670 acre
Butler Reservoir property is situated in the
Morris County Open Space Element 53
middle of the borough and fishing is permitted
from the water's edge. Fishing in the same
manner is also permitted at the 249 acre Boon-
ton Reservoir located at the southern border.
Jersey City has 157 acres and Newark has 143
acres of their watershed properties extending
along the western border of Kinnelon. Al-
together, 1,230 acres of open space in the
borough protect surface water supplies. Not-
for-profit organizations contribute 690 acres
of open space and recreational land. Four
property owners associations, Smoke
Rise Club, Fayson Lakes Assoc., Lake Reality
Assoc. and Stonybrook Highland Assoc., own
andmaintain390 acres for their members. The
Lenni Lenape Girl Scouts also operate a 300
acre camp in the southwest portion of the
borough. Four school parks are situatedwithin
Kinnelon; however, the recreational facilities
are not available for use by the public. The
total open space is 2,310 acres, almost 19% of
the borough's area.
Lincoln Park presently owns and maintains
12 parks whose combined acreages total ap-
proximately 92 acres, or 2% of the area of the
borough. The sizes of the municipal parks
range from less than a tenth of an acre (Public
Park), to over 37 acres (Wildan Park). Active
recreational facilities such as ballfields,
playground equipment, and swimming facil-
ities are available at 10 parks. The two un-
developed parks are Evergreen Park (4 Ac) in
the northern residential area, and Aqueduct
Park (9 Ac) adjacent to the Passaic River in
the southeastern portion of the borough. Pas-
sive recreation such as fishing and picnicking
is permitted at Aqueduct Park. Most of the
parks are situated in or near the residentially
developed areas of the borough. Five parks;
Wildan Park, Evergreen Park, John Street
Park (2 Ac), Ryerson Road Park (4 Ac) and
Lyn Park Playground (8 Ac), are all located
north ofthe Erie-Lackawanna Railroadwhich
divides the borough in half. South of the rail-
road is the Municipal Complex Park (12 Ac),
Beavertown Park (14 Ac), Hilltop Park (0.7
Ac), Public Park (.04Ac), Aqueduct Park, Elm
Street Park (0.2 Ac), and WillowAvenue Park
Morris County Open Space Element 54
(0.5 Ac). In addition to municipal parks, four
school parks also provide recreational areas.
Facilities available at the schools include ball-
fields, playground equipment and tennis and
basketball courts. Lincoln Park's Recreation
Department leases and maintains the ball-
fields at the high school on Ryerson Road.
Private organizations provide approximately
354 acres of recreational area and open space.
The only commercial recreation facilities in
the borough consist of a 108 acre golf course
and a 27 acre outdoor swim club. Non-profit
organizations providing open space consist of
a fire department, the Scottish Rite Associa-
tion, a conservation organization and a home-
owners association. The conservation organ-
ization, Wildlife Preserves, Inc. owns
scattered parcels in the flood plain and wet-
lands associated with the Passaic River. This
area, known as the Great Piece Meadows, is
also partly protected by the State Division of
Parks and Forestrywhichowns 38acres ofland
in this area. The total open space acreage in
Lincoln Park is approximately528 acres which
constitutes almost 14% of its area.
Even thoughit is one of the smallest munici-
palities in the county, Madison owns 15 parks
whose combined acreage is 178 acres, which is
almost 7% of the borough's area. The parks
range from less than half an acre, Fen Court,
to over 64 acres, Memorial Park. Nine parks
are under five acres in size.
Presently, onlyfour parks, whichcomprise 87
acres or 49% of the total municipal open
space, have recreational facilities. Memorial
Park has ballfields, playground equipment,
picnic areas and trails. Rosedale Avenue Field
(11 Ac) is a ballfield. Dodge Field (5 Ac),
situated on Central Avenue, has ballfields,
courts, playground equipment, picnic areas
and a swimmingfacility. LucyD. AnthonyPark
(7 Ac) on Myrtle Avenue, has ballfields,
Morris County Open Space Element 55
courts, playground equipment and picnic
Each undeveloped park is less then seven
acres in size, except for the area known as
Wetlands and Delbarton. This 39 acre parcel
adjacent to Memorial Park is composed
primarily of wetlands and can only be used for
limited recreation.
Complementing public facilities are two
private recreational facilities. The Madison
Golf Club, a commercial recreational facility,
. consists of a 20 acre golf course. The YMCA,
a six acre non-profit recreational facility, has
ballfields. The total open space is 301 acres,
which constitutes nearly 12% of Madison's
Municipally-owned open space in Mendham
Borough consists of nine parks whose com-
bined acreage totals 171 acres. Seven parks
comprising 157 acres or 91% of the total
municipal open space are situated north of
Route 24 where the more densely populated
neighborhoods exist.
Three parks, Borough Park (14 Ac), Moun-
tain Valley Park (34 Ac) and West Field (10
Ac), are developed with active recreational
facilities. BoroughParkis centrallylocated off
of Route 24 and Mountain Road and has
ballfields, playground equipment, courts and
picnic areas. North of Borough Park is Moun-
tainValley Parkwhich offers fishing, ballfields
and picnic areas. Playground equipment and
ballfields are also available at West Field
situated off of Route 24.
Almost 93 acres, over 50% of the municipal-
ly-owned open space, are used for passive
recreation. Hiking and/or picnics are the
primary recreational activities at Dean Road
Park (47 Ac) and Patriots Way (19 Ac). Dean
Road Park, adjacent to the Mendham Com-
mons development, is the borough's largest
park and includes an arboretum. India Brook
Morris County Open Space Element 56
Park in the northwest corner permits fishing.
Adjacent to India Brook Park to the south is
Patriots Way, part of a major trail network
extending across the county. The remaining
three parks, Barnside (7 Ac), Franklin Road
Tract (9Ac), and Heather WayTract (4.5 Ac),
are undeveloped.
The ballfields, track and playground equip-
ment of one private and three public schools
are available for the recreational use of
borough residents.
Private outdoor recreational organizations
provide approximately 167 acres of open
space. The Roxiticus Golf Club, on 118 acres,
is a commercial recreational facility. Two
property owners associations, Mendham
Commons and the Cosma Lake Association,
maintain22acres and one acre respectivelyfor
the enjoyment oftheir members. The Trust for
Public land, a non-profit organization,
protects approximately 26 acres of open space
in the boroughwith the majority of its 500 acre
landholding in Mendham Township.
The total open space comprises 526 acres, or
almost 14% of the borough's area.
MendhamTownship has 384 acres, over 3%
ofits land, dedicated to openspaceand recrea-
tion. In comparison to other municipal parks
in Morris County, the sizes of the township's
parks are large - five of the seven parks are
over 45 acres. Only the Municipal Pool (4 Ac)
and Patriots Path Park (6 Ac) are the size of a
neighborhood park. Patriots Path, off West
Main Street, is part of a major trail system
through the southern portion of the county.
The larger municipal parks have not been
developed for active recreation. The largest,
Dismal Harmony Park (146 Ac), abuts the
northernsection ofLewis Morris Park, a coun-
ty facility. As a nature preserve, activities per-
mitted at Dismal Harmony include hiking,
bicycling and fishing. Similar activities and fea-
tures exist at most of the other parks. The
Buck Hill Tract (74 Ac) in the southeastern
section, India Brook (58 Ac) and Meadow-
wood Parks (49 Ac) in the western section of
the township are, for the most part, nature
preserves where trails have been developed
and activities such as fishing, picnics and hiking
are permitted. In addition to these features,
the Ralston OpenArea (48Ac) offWest Main
Morris County Open Space Element 57
Street is the only large park with ballfields.
Most of these parks also protect stream cor-
ridors and wetland areas.
Facilities at the Middle School and the
Elementary School which include ballfields,
playground equipment and basketball courts
are available to township residents.
As mentioned previously, part of a county
park is situated in Mendham Township. Two
sections ofLewis Morris Park, one adjacent to
Dismal Harmony Park and the other adjacent
to the eastern Mendham Township-Morris
Township border, total almost 800 acres. Also
on the eastern border of the township, south
of Lewis Morris Park, is a 13 acre section of
the Morristown National Historical Park.
The Southeast Morris Municipal Utilities
Authority's Clyde Potts Reservoir property
preserves approximately 570 acres of open
space north of Mendham Borough, bordering
Randolph Township. The watershed property
not only protects the reservoir but also the
streams that feed directly into the surface
water supply.
The private sector provides a large amount,
approximately 725 acres, of open space within
the township. The most significant parcel of
open space, the Schiff Reservation, was ob-
tained from the Boy Scouts ofAmerica by The
Trust for Public Land (TPL), a non-profit land
trust organization. A portion of the 568 acre
propertywill be developed and sold to finance
the Schiff Natural Lands Trust, an organiza-
tion made up of local residents who will
manage the375 acres oflandwhichwill remain
as open space.
Two other non-profit organizations
preserve open space within the township: the
New Jersey Conservation Foundation cur-
rently owns 85 acres of land in the eastern
section of the township and the Morris Area
Council of Girl Scouts has 136 acres of their
campsituated between Lewis Morris Park and
Morristown National Historical Park.
Only one not-for-profit community club,
Brookside Community Club, exists within the
township and provides multi-purpose athletic
fields, trails and a nature preserve on 33 acres
of land. The Mendham Golf and Tennis Club
is the only private outdoor commercial facility,
consisting of 182 acres of recreational land.
Altogether, 2,645 acres or 23% of the land
area of Mendham Township is currently in
open space or recreational land.
Morris County Open Space Element 58
Mine Hill Township presently owns four
municipal parks whose combined areas total
73 acres which is almost 4% of its area. The
largest parkis known as the Rutgers Tract and
is located in the southwest section of the
township adjacent to the Randolph Township
border. This 33 acre park is a wildlife preserve
and a bird-watching area. Abutting the north-
ern boundary of the park is the Municipal
Beach (26 Ac), a lake recreational area which
was converted from a sand and gravel pit. In
addition to the swimming facilities, the
Municipal Beach has picnic areas.
More accessible to the majority of township
residents are the ballfield at Firemen's Field
and the undeveloped Recreational Center
Area which are situated in the center of the
municipality next to the Municipal Complex.
Morris County Open Space Element 59
The recreational areas are adjacent to each
other and each is approximately seven acres in
Township residents are permitted to use the
recreational facilities at the Cranfield School.
Adjacent to the Municipal Complex, this
school park has ballfields, playground equip-
ment and basketball courts.
The only other open space parcel in Mine
Hill is a 132 acre portion of Hedden Park, a
countyparklocatedon the easternborderwith
Dover and Randolph. Hedden Park protects
the east bank of Jackson Brook as it flows
through the township.
Public and quasi-public open space com-
prises 222 acres, or nearly 12% of Mine Hill's
Montville Township owns and maintains 16
parks and open space parcels. The combined
parks and open space parcels areas total 332
acres, almost 3% of the township's area. The
size of the parks vary greatly, ranging from two
and a halfacres (Etta Konner Park) to 86 acres
(The Community Center). Only six parks are
developed for active recreation.
Most of the parks are situated south of
Route 202. The Morris Canal/Dorsey Pond
linear park (18 Ac) almost extends the width
of the township parallel to Route 202. The
pond is only used for ice skating. Just below
Dorsey Pond and east ofPine BrookRoad are
Reilly Field (7 Ac) and the Howard Tract (14
Ac). Reilly Field has tennis and basketball
courts, playground equipment and a ballfield.
The Howard Tract is presently undeveloped.
The Community Center off of Changebridge
Road is almost at the geographical center of
the township. The Community Center is the
most intensely developed park with ballfields,
playground equipment, picnic areas, fitness
trails, bocci courts, a skating pond andsledding
hill and community gardens. West of the Com-
munity Center adjacent to the Parsippany-
Morris County Open Space Element 60
TroyHills Township border is Municipal Field
which also has recreational facilities such as
ballfields, playground equipment, picnic areas
and trails. East of the Community Center on
Passaic Valley Road is a recently acquired
seven acre open space parcel which was dedi-
cated to the township as a result of a cluster
Sixparks are situatedin thesouthern portion
of Montville below Horseneck Road. Etta
Konner Park (2.5 Ac) and Manchester Park (8
Ac) are the only two developed parks in this
area. Facilities available at the two parks are
ballfields, playground equipment and courts.
The four remaining parks are open space
areas. Tristam Place (8 Ac) was recently dedi-
cated to the township as part of a cluster sub-
division. The township also recently acquired
two parcels of flood hazard land in this area.
The Sharett Tract, (36 Ac) off of Chan-
gebridge Road adjacent to the Rockaway
River, and the John Street Tract (15 Ac), ad-
jacent to the Passaic River are to be kept in
their natural state as flood plains. The remain-
ing parcel, Hilldale Park, (20 Ac) is un-
There are four municipally-owned parks
north of Route 202 . Masar Park, adjacent to
the border of Boonton is the only park in this
area developedfor active recreation. Facilities
at this park include playground equipment,
ballfields, picnic areas, trails, a sledding hill
and a pond for fishing and ice skating. Two
other open space areas have been acquired in
this vicinity, one of which, the Mars Tract (11
Ac), was dedicated to the township as a result
of an industrial park subdivision.
Approximately 51 acres of open space in the
Critical Water Resources district on Indian
Lane East were also dedicated by:a develop-
ment. The remaining park In thiS section is
StoneyBrookPark, directly northeast of Lake
Valhalla, which at this time is undeveloped.
Seven school parks also provide active
recreational facilities such as ballfields, tennis
and basketball courts, playground equipment
and trackfor use bythe township residents. Six
of these schools are located south of Route
202, and five of them abut municipal parks.
An unusual school park utilized by township
residents, known as "The Glen", is owned by
Montclair State College. "The Glen" is a 30
acre nature preserve directly north of Lake
Valhalla adjacent to the Stoney Brook Park.
Other public and quasi-public open space
landholdings in Montville consist of scattered
parcels in the Great Piece Meadows, owned
Morris County Open Space Element 61
by the State Division of Parks and Forestry,
and a portion of the Taylortown Reservoir
owned by the Town of Boonton. The state has
obtained approximately 191 acres of wetlands
and flood-plains adjacent to the Passaic River.
A33 acre section ofBoontonTown's reservoir
is located on the west side ofBoontonAvenue
at the Montville and Kinnelon border.
Not-for-profit organizations also provide a
large amount, 251 acres, of open space and
recreational land. Wildlife Preserves, a non-
profit organization, owns approximately 50
acres of land in the Great Piece Meadows.
These parcels are undeveloped and are main-
tained for wildlife. One camp, Camp Dawson,
in the northern section of the township
provides 77 acres of openspace. CampAheka,
formerly owned by the Boy Scouts, has been
soldand the land is proposedfor development.
Croation Club, a private club situated below
the BoontonReservoir, maintains 41 acres for
picnicking and recreational activities. Lake
Valhalla Club, a property owners association,
owns the largest amount of private open
space, approximately 119 acres, which in-
cludes Lake Valhalla and portions of the ad-
joining land which are maintained for the use
by the association members.
The total open space for the township is
1,022 acres, or 8% of its area.
Morris Plains maintains five borough parks
which total 77 acres, almost 5% of its area, to
meet the recreational needs of its population.
Community Park on Jim Fear Drive is about
50 acres in size, and has ballfields, tennis
courts, a playground a picnic area, a swimming
pool and a fishing pond. Other parks with
active recreational facilities are Memorial
Park, (4 Ac) and"Cornfield", (9Ac). Memorial
Park, on Tabor Road south of Warner Lam-
bert, has a ballfield, a running track and a par
course; and "Cornfield" has ballfields, courts
and a playground. "Cornfield" is actually
owned by the state but is maintained by the
borough for recreation. Two passive parks
complete the Morris Plains system. North of
Morris County Open Space Element 62
"Cornfield" Park is Roberts Garden Park, ad-
jacent to the borough's library. Essentiallyjust
a "greenspace", Roberts Garden, which was
originally a private residence, has walkways,
gardens, park benches and a small pondwhere
fishing is permitted. Three school parks also
have recreational facilities available for use by
borough residents. Mountain Way School,
west of Watnong Park, has playground equip-
ment. Borough School on Speedwell Avenue
has ballfields and playground equipment.
CommunityParkSchool, surrounded on three
sides by Community Park, shares its recrea-
tional facilities. The total public and quasi-
public open space comprises 100 acres, or 6%
of the area of Morris Plains.
Morris Township maintains an extensive
park system totalling 203 acres, which con-
stitutes 2% ofits area. The township encircles
the Town of Morristown, thus making any
centrally-located parks impossible. Instead, 27
parks and open space areas are scattered
throughout the township, 16 of which are
developed for active recreation. Six of the
developed parks are in the area bordered by
Speedwell Avenue to the east and Mendham
Road to the south. The largest park in the
township, and most intenselydeveloped in this
sector, is Streeter Recreation Area, (15 Ac)
with swimming and wading pools, tennis and
basketball courts. Four other parks, Kiwanis
Field (8 Ac), Veterans Field (3 Ac), La Rue
Field (7 Ac) and Butterworth Field (13 Ac)
have only softball fields. The remaining
developed park in this sector is Children's
Parkwhere playgroundequipment has recent-
ly been installed. In addition to the parks in
this area, seven open space areas, totalling 52
acres, have been dedicated to the township as
a result of newly constructed subdivisions.
Five of the open space areas buffer stream
corridors. The area south of Mendham Road
Morris County Open Space Element 63
and west ofMt. Kemble Avenue contains two
developed parks and two open space areas.
Saunders Field (6 Ac) has a softball field and
basketball courts. Hayward Playground, (1
Ac) has a playground and basketball courts.
There is a six acre open space parcel in the
area known as Burnham Park, and another six
acre area was dedicated as a part ofthe Rolling
Hill development. Three parks and three open
space areas are in the sector bordered by Mt.
Kemble Avenue to the west and Madison
Avenue to the northeast. Delpho Field (14
Ac) on Harter Road has a softball field and
basketball courts. South of Harter Road, two
open space parcels totalling 16 acres were
dedicated to the township as part of the Aspen
development, and approximately 19 acres
were dedicated as part of the Blackberry
development. The two remaining parks,
Woodland Pool (8Ac) and GintyField (9 Ac),
are adjacent to each other on Dwyer Road.
Facilities at these parks include tennis courts,
a softball field, swimming and wading pools
and a tot lot. In the final area, north of
Madison Avenue and east of Speedwell
Avenue, there are four developed parks.
Tucker Field (3 Ac) and Collinsville
Playground (2 Ac) are adjacent to each other
on Monroe Street and together provide a
softball field, basketball and tennis courts and
playground equipment. Frelinghuysen Field
(13 Ac) adjacent to the Morristown border
and south of Columbia Turnpike, has two
ballfields and one sledding hill. Green Field (4
Ac) adjacent to the Florham Park border on
Weather Vane Drive, has a softball field and
basketball courts. In addition to the municipal
parks, recreational facilities at five public
schools parks are available to Morris
Township residents. Ballfields and/or
playground equipment exist' at Frelinghuysen
School, Sussex Avenue School, Alfred Vail
School, Hillcrest School and Woodland
School. Delbarton High School and Villa
Walsh Academy are two private school
facilities which also have recreational facilities
such as tennis courts. Morris Township also
has five county parks, totalling 729 acres,
within its borders. Fosterfields, Lewis Morris
Park and Patriots Park are in the western sec-
tion. Frelinghuysen Arboretum is in the east-
Morris County Open Space Element 64
em section and a portion of the Loantaka
Brook Reservation which includes Seaton
Hackney Stables is to the southeast. A 74 acre
section of the Morristown National Historical
Park is also situated in Morris Township ad-
jacent to Lewis Morris Park. Morris Township
also has a substantial amount of quasi-public
andprivate open space and recreational lands.
Watershed land comprises over 784 acres of
open space. Presently, the Morris County
Municipal Utility owns over 734 acres of open
space north of Mendham Road for the
proposed Washington Valley Reservoir. The
Southeast Morris County Municipal Utilities
Authority also owns several parcels together
totalling approximately 50 acres to protect its
water supply facilities. Private recreational
lands consist ofthree commercial recreational
facilities. Presently, one indoor/outdoor ten-
nis club and two golf courses provide ap-
proximately 273 acres of open space. AI;.
together, public, quasi-public and private
organizations comprise 2,593 acres of open
space and recreational land which comprises
over 25% of the township's area.
Morristown, the county seat, presently owns
and maintains 10 parks whose combined area
totals 161 acres, which is over 8%ofthe town's
area. The municipal park system consists of
four parks developed with a variety of active
recreational facilities to serve the entire com-
munity, four parks developed at a smaller scale
to serve neighborhoods, and two parks that are
tot 10ts.
Burnham Park, situated on the
western border of the Town, and Speedwell
and Pocahontas Lakes in the northwest
comer, are Morristown's largest parks, 33
acres and 70 acres respectively. Recreational
facilities offered at these parks include
ballfields, picnic areas and playground equip-
ment. In addition, Burnham Park has two
ponds and two swimming pools and a basket-
ball court. Speedwell Park also has a lake
where fishing is permitted. Near the southern
border are Lidgerwood Park on the east side
of James Street and Footes Park on the west
side. Although the parks are almost the same
size, 13 acres and 14 acres, they differ greatly
in the number and types of recreational
facilities that they offer. Lidgerwood Park has
a baseball field, tennis and handball courts, a
Morris County Open Space Element 65
wading pool, playground equipment and a pic-
nic area. Footes Park offers an ice skating
pond. The four neighborhood parks contain
ballfields, basketball courts and playground
equipment. Jacob Ford Park, (2 Ac), east of
1-287 on West Valleyview Avenue, Budd
Street Park (4Ac), near the western border of
the town just south of Route 24, Cauldwell
Park (14 Ac) and Abbett Avenue Park (9 Ac)
both adjacent to the Whippany River near
Martin Luther King Avenue, have essentially
the same recreational facilities. Two recrea-
tional areas are the Harrison Street Play Area
(0.26 Ac) and the Ford Avenue play area (2
Ac). Four public school parks and one private
school exist within the town. Facilities at the
schools include ballfields, playground equip-
ment, tennis and basketball courts and track.
The public is permitted to use the facilities
during non-school hours. No county or state
parks are situated in Morristown; however,
two sections of the Morristown National His-
torical Park, TheFord Mansion and Fort Non-
sense, are located here. Non-profit organiza-
tions and commercial recreation facilities own
and maintain park and openspace areas within
Morristown. The most prominent of these is
the Green, a three acre passive park situated
in the heart of the central business district,
owned by the First Presbyterian Church. The
Green, designed with a figure eight path-way,
is landscapedwith avarietyoftrees, shrubs and
flowers. Lawn areas and park benches are
provided for relaxing and people watching.
The New Jersey Conservation Foundation
owns a nine acre tract on Wetmore Avenue,
and adjacent to this is an eight acre portion of
the Spring Brook Community Club, a private
golf course. The total open space for Morris-
town totals 293 acres, over 15% of its area.
Morris County Open Space Element 66
Of all the municipalities in Morris County,
Mountain Lakes has the largest percentage of
its land area in municipally-owned open space.
20%, or 401 acres, of Mountain Lakes has
been set aside by the borough for recreational
and conservation purposes. This acreage con-
sists of58 parcels ranginginsize fromless than
an acre to 185 acres. There are also two non-
municipally-ownedtracts, totalling26 acres. In
addition to its 2.9 square miles of land, the
borough has a large number of lakes, nine in
all, totalling 162 acres, providing recreational
activities which include swimming, boating
and fishing. Birchwood Lake is situated in the
Richard M. Wilcox Park, a 185-acre open
space area in the northern corner of the
borough. In addition to water-oriented activ-
ities, picnic areas and hiking trails are pro-
vided. The borough has five other parks for
active and passive recreation. The Halsey A
FrederickMemorial Park is the largest (61 Ac)
and is situated in the northeast corner of the
borough. Facilities include tennis courts and
ballfields. Romaine Court, which is less than
an acre, is adjacent to the railroad and can be
used for either basketball or volleyball. Mid-
Morris County Open Space Element 67
vale Field (20 Ac) , north of Midvale Road
adjacent to the Parsippany-Troy Hills border,
and William N. Taft Memorial Field (6 Ac),
located on North Pocono Road near the Den-
ville Township border, both have playfields.
Theremaining parkis theTower Hill SledRun
(22 Ac) adjacent to the Richard M. Wilcox
Park. Of the other 50 borough-owned parcels,
25 are dedicated to conservation and passive
recreation, and 23 carry conservation ease-
ments. Theyvary insize from less than an acre
to about 39 acres. These parcels, totalling 107
acres (62 dedicated and 43 with easements),
are scattered throughout the borough and
protect areas which are environmentally sen-
sitive because ofwetlands and/or steep slopes.
One of the dedicated parcels is a 2.5 acre park
adjacent to Mountain Lake and has been des-
ignated the Thorleif Fliflet Bird Sanctuary.
Four public schools totalling 70 acres provide
recreational facilities available for use by
borough residents. The recreational facilities
include ballfields, playground equipment and
basketball and tennis courts. Other public
open space consists of an isolated parcel of
land belonging to the Tourne, a county park.
The 19 acre parcel, near the Boonton
Township border, is surrounded on three
sidedbythe RichardM. WilcoxPark. Onlyone
private recreation facility existing within the
borough, an outdoor tennis club with almost 7
acres of land. The total open space comprises
401 acres, or over 20% of the area of Moun-
tain Lakes.
Morris County Open Space Element 68
A Green Acres acquisition in 1986 tripled
Mt. Arlington's open space to almost 100
acres, over 5% of its area. The yet unnamed
and undeveloped 73 acre park is located near
the northern border of the borough. The four
older parks are much smaller. Municipal
Beach andSummit Avenue Field are two acres
in size, Memorial Field is four acres and Ar-
lington Glen is 16 acres. Facilities at these
parks include a ballfield at Summit Avenue
field, a playground at Memorial Park and ten-
nis courts at Arlington Glen. Municipal Beach
is the only public municipal beach on Lake
Hopatcong available to Mt. Arlington resi-
dents. Four of the parks are situated in the
northern half of the borough with Arlington
Glen in thesouthern half. Complementing the
Morris County Open Space Element 69
municipal parks are two elementary school
parks, where only equipment is available. The
remaining public land in Mt. Arlington con-
sists of approximately six acres of the state-
owned Berkshire Valley Wildlife Mana-
gement Area situated onthe eastern border of
the borough. According to the "Revised
Master Plan, 1977", private recreation
facilities in Mt. Arlington consist of private
beaches and boat docking facilities on Lake
Hopatcong. However, specific information
regarding the number and size ofthese recrea-
tional areas relating to open space is presently
unavailable. The total open space for Mt. Ar-
lington is approximately 131 acres which com-
prises 7% of its area.
Mt. Olive Township offers a variety of .
recreational areas and open space at the
municipal level; six municipal parks, totalling
412 acres, comprise 2%of the township's area.
The largest open space area is the Budd Lake
Bog. This area consists of approximately 315
acres and includes most of Budd Lake itself.
Recreational activities such as swimming, boa-
ting and fishing are permitted on the lake, and
the bog is undeveloped since it is an environ-
mentally sensitive area.
Other parks developed for active recreation
are Dan Jordan Park (20 Ac), Lion's Park (13
Ac) and Lou Nelson Park (20 Ac). The
facilities available at these parks include ball-
fields, playground equipment and courts. Mt.
Olive also maintains a beach (12 Ac) adjacent
to the municipal complex on Budd Lake. Only
Camelot Park (31 Ac) is undeveloped.
Four municipal parks, Budd Lake Bog,
Camelot Park, the Municipal Beach and Lou
Nelson Park, are located in the western sec-
tion of Budd Lake where most of the residen-
tial development is concentrated. The two
remaining parks, Dan Jordan Park and Lion's
Park, are situated in a residential development
Morris County Open Space Element 70
in the Bartley area of the township at the
southern border.
Board of Education lands also provide re-
creational facilities within Mt. Olive. Seven
schools allow public access to ballfields, play-
ground equipment, courts and track. The
school parks are more widely distributed than
the municipal parks and are more accessible to
the less densely populated areas of the
County and state parks are also situated in
Mt. Olive. Approximately three-quarters of
Flanders's Valley Golf Course, a county
facility, is located in the southeast corner of
the township. The largest open space acreage
in Mt. Olive consists of a 1,083 acre portion of
Allamuchy State Park. The state park is com-
prised of several parcels situated next to the.
MusconetcongRiver on thewestern border of
the township. Except for what is known as the
Stephen's Section, the portion of Allamuchy
State Park in the township has not been dev-
eloped for recreational purposes. Most of this
parkwas acquired by the state in the 1960's for
construction of the Hackettstown Reservoir;
however, subsurface conditions have
precluded construction of this facility.
In addition, the county had proposed con-
structingPulaski Reservoir, whichwould have
purchased water from the state-owned reser-
voir. The Morris County Municipal Utility
Authority (MCMUA) owns approximately
327 acres of land at the Pulaski site, however,
no further planning or development has oc-
Additionally, two private facilities provide
outdoor recreational opportunities for Mt.
Olive residents. The Solar Sun Club, a com-
mercial recreational facility, is an outdoor
swim club with a pool, basketball and tennis
courts and a playground. The only non-profit
outdoor facility is a YMHA camp owned by
the Jewish Community Synagogue. These two
facilities comprise 34 acres of open space.
The combined private and public open space
in Mt. Olive amounts "to 2,233 acres, or 12%
of its area.
Morris County Open Space Element 71
Netcong Borough presently owns and main-
tains two municipal parks whose combined
area total 22 acres. However, only one park is
situated within the borough. Arbolino
Memorial Park (7Ac) is located on Lake Mus-
conetcong in the northeastern section of the
borough. Facilities at this park include a
ballfield, tennis and basketball courts, picnic
area and a playground. Fishing andboating are
also permitted on the lake. Playground equip-
ment is also available for residents' use at Net-
cong Elementary School. The only other
public open space in the borough is a 56 acre
Morris County Open Space Element 72
portion of Musconetcong State Park located
in the northeast coiner. Most of this acreage
consists of Lake'Musconetcong. No recrea-
tional facilities are developed at this park.
Netcong's largest parkis the old NetcongHigh
School AtWetic Field (15 Ac) which is actually
situated in Roxbury Township about one-half
mile south of the Netcong Borough border.
Primary access to the park for Netcong
Borough residents is from Route 206 south.
Facilities at the field consist of a football field
and a baseball diamond. Open space within
Netcong totals 63 acres, over 13% of its area.
Parsippany-Troy Hills presently has 10
municipal parks whose combined areas total
approximately 449 acres, which constitutes al-
most 3% of the township's area. The most
developed parkis SmithFieldwhich is central-
ly located between 1-80 and Route 46.
Facilities at the 21 acre park include baseball,
football and soccer fields, basketball, tennis
and handball courts, and a playground. The
largest park is Knoll Park (338 Ac) which ac-
counts for three-quarters of the township's
park acreage. A public golf course, picnic
areas, playgrounds, ballfield and skating rink
are available to township residents. In addi-
tion, a semi-public golf course and country
club exist on the site.
Parsippany-Troy Hills also has seven small
neighborhood parks located to serve its many
residents. Manor Park (6.5 Ac), Hills of Troy
(6.5 Ac), Rockaway Neck (9 Ac), Rainbow
Lakes (6 Ac), Lake Parsippany (15 Ac), Pow-
der Mill (9 Ac), and the most recent addition,
Volunteers Park (25 Ac), have been
developed with ballfields, courts, playgrounds
and picnic areas. In addition to these parks, 13
school parks are distributed throughout the
Morris County Open Space Element 73
township which provide similar recreational
Countyand state open ~ p a c e also exists in the
township. A former municipal park, Old Troy
Park, is now owned and maintained by the
county. Old Troy Park, one of the. smaller
county parks at 96 acres, is situated off
Reynolds Road at the southern border of the
The state owns approximately 309 acres of
Troy Meadows. The state land consists of un-
developed scattered parcels throughout the
major wetland area. Adding to the state's land
holdings in Troy Meadows is a 1,404 area na-
ture preserve, the largest single open space
area in the township. Wildlife Preserves, a
non-profit conservation organization, owns
and maintains this tract. Other private open
space and recreational areas in the township
consist of a golf course, a swim and tennis club
and trap range. These facilities comprise ap-
proximately 115 acres of open space.
Another major open space area is the parcel
which constitutes the Jersey City Reservoir
property. The 1,175 acre reservoir is locatedin
the northern portion of the township adjacent
to the Boonton Town border. Public access is
not permitted since the open space serves to
protect the water supply for Jersey City.
The total public, quasi-public and private
recreational and open space in Parsippany-
Troy Hills totals approximately 3,774 acres,
over 23% of its area.
Morris County Open Space Element 74
Passaic Township is the only municipality in
Morris County where all four levels of gov-
ernment, federal, state, county and municipal,
own open space. Presently, 2,583 acres, or
about 33% of the total area of the township, is
publicly owned open space.
Approximately 256 acres, 3% of Passaic
Township, is in municipal open space. Of the
12 municipally owned areas, only three parks
are developed for active recreation. Meyers-
ville Field (2 Ac), in the eastern portion of the
township, and Little League Field (14 Ac),
adjacent to the Passaic River, have ballfields,
courts and playgrounds. Stirling Lake (9 Ac),
situated in the central residential area, is a
swimming facility owned by the township.
Nine municipal open space areas are un-
developed. With the exception of Hicks Park
(59 Ac), the open space parcels have been
dedicated as a result of the cluster provisions
in the townships subdivision ordinance. These
open space areas currently total approximate-
ly 133 acres.
In addition to municipal open space, the
Board of Education offers its recreational
facilities to township residents during non-
Morris County Open Space Element 75
school hours. Facilities available at the Gil-
lette School, Millington School and Central
School include ballfields and playground
equipment. There is also a playground at the
St.. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. The
school parks are distributed throughout most
of the residential neighborhoods of Passaic
Private facilities also provide 196 acres of
open space. The Copper Spring Beach and
Tennis Club offers outdoor swimming and
other active recreational facilities such as ten-
nis courts.
The only non-profit open space in Passaic is
owned by the NewJersey Conservation Foun-
dation. This 128 acre natural area is located in
the southwest corner of the township in the
flood plain of the Passaic River.
Most of the federal, state and county open
space is situated in low-lying wetland areas of
the township. By far the largest landholder in
the township is the federal government which
owns 2,085 acres of open space. The Great
Swamp NWR covers the entire northern sec-
tion of Passaic and protects most of the wet-
lands in that area.
Partially implementing the stream corridor
linkage system proposed in the 1972 "Open
Space Element" is the Passaic River Park, a
147 acre portion ofwhich is located in Passaic
Township. Only trails have been developed in
the park.
Also situated in a low flood-prone area, but
at the southwestern border of the township, is
McEvoy State Park, adjacent to the New Jer-
sey Conservation Foundation lands. This 95
acre tract is currently undeveloped.
The total open space comprises 2,830 acres,
or 36% of Passaic Township.
Morris County Open Space Element 76
Pequannock Township has 14 municipal
parks which account for 444 acres, or 10% of
the total area. The parks range from the 190
acres of Mountainside Park to less than two
acres for Lyman Avenue Park. Only three
parks, Twin Brooks Park, Hidden Cove and
Rockledge Park, are undeveloped. Lyman
Avenue Park is currently being developed.
Six parks, Woodland Lake (40 Ac), Pequan-
nock Valley (27 Ac), Town Hall (7 Ac), Twin
Brooks (17 Ac), Hillview Field (9 Ac), and
Washington (14 Ac), are grouped together
just east of the center of the township between
the Newark-Pompton Turnpike and Route
23. A full range of recreation facilities from
ballfields to swimming areas are available at
the parks in this area.
In the southern portion of the township four
parks are more dispersed. The three parks,
Lyman Avenue Park (14 Ac), Cherry Street
Park (3 Ac), and Riverside Park (2 Ac), are
near the eastern border, while Hidden Cove
(21 Ac), is on the southern border and Green-
view Park (31 Ac), is on the western border.
Presently, Greenview Park is the only park in
the area which is fully developed with avariety
Morris County Open Space Element 77
of recreational facilities. Riverside Park has
only a playground.
Outside of the residential section of the
township are Rockledge Park (19 Ac), in the
western portion, Mountainside Park (190 Ac)
in the northwest corner and Aquatic Park (50
Ac) in the northeast corner. As mentioned
previously, Rockledge Park is undeveloped.
Mountainside Park, the township's largest
open space area, covers a rugged hillside and
is used primarily for passive recreational ac-
tivities such as picnics, horseback riding and
camping. Also used for passive recreation is
Aquatic Park situated in the flood plain of the
Pequannock River. This park is also a wildlife
In addition, to municipal open space, four
school parks also offer recreational facilities
such as ballfields, playground equipment,
courts and track to township residents. These
school facilities are situated off the Boulevard
and the Newark-Pompton Turnpike in the
northern, central and southern sections of the
Three private commercial recreational
facilities contribute approximately 66 acres of
open space to Pequannock. Two swimming
areas associated with lakes and a horseback
riding stable are available for recreational use.
The only regional public open space area in
the township is the Sunset ValleyGolf Course.
A 112 acre portion of this county owned
facility is situated on the western border of
The total open space acreage for Pequan-
nock is 703 acres, or 15% of its area.
Morris County Open Space Element 78
Randolph Township has five municipal parks
whose combined areas total 299 acres, less
than3%of the municipality's area. Thelargest
park, Brundage Park, accounts for 71%or 212
acres of the total municipal parkland. Geo-
graphically, the park is centrally located and is
surrounded by residential neighborhoods. A
variety of recreational facilities such as ball-
fields, picnic areas and an indoor theater have
been developed at Brundage.
Two other relatively large parks have also
been developed with a variety of recreational
facilities. Heisteins Park (44 Ac) southwest of
Brundage Park, and Randolph Park (41 Ac),
at the northwest border of the township offer
swimming facilities as well as ballfields and
playground equipment. In addition, activities
such as picnics, boating and fishing are per-
mitted at each of the parks. Neither park how-
ever,is situated in an existing residential dev-
elopment. Randolph Park is surrounded by
land which is currently zoned for industry and
commerciallbusiness uses and Heisteins Park
is in an undeveloped residential zone.
The two remaining parks are small in com-
parison to the three parks described above.
Morris County Open Space Element 79
Kiwanis Park, situated in a residential dev-
elopment adjacent to the Mine Hill Township
border, is less than two acres in size. The only
facilities available at this park are playground
equipment and a picnic area. Farmstead Court
Park, located between Brundage Park and
Heisteins Park, is less than one acre in size and
has the same facilities as Kiwanis Park.
Six school parks provide recreational facil-
ities. Ballfields, playground equipment, tennis
and basketball courts are available for use by
township residents.
Although the eastern portion of Randolph
Township lacks municipal open space, this
section has approximately 581 acres of county
parkland. James Andrews Memorial Park, an
undeveloped park, borders the western and
northern edge of the Shongum Lake residen-
tial development. Another county park, Hed-
den Park, is partially in the township. Appro-
ximately 135 acres of the 285 acre park is
situated on the township's border with Dover
andMine Hill. Intotal, the countyis the largest
contributor of openspace in Randolph,
providing approximately 716 acres.
The second largest open space landholding
in the township is watershed land which
provides 664 acres of open space. The Morris
County Municipal Utility Authority's
Alamatong Wellfield on the westernborder of
Randolph is protected by 333 acres of open
space. Over 330 acres ofpropertybelonging to
the Southeast Morris County Municipal
Utilities Authority (SMCMUA), along the
Mendham Township border, protect the
streamswhich feed intothe ClydePotts Reser-
voir located in Mendham Township.
Additionally, 173 acres of recreational land
. and open space is provided by the private
sector. Four commercial recreational facilities
provide approximately 92 acres ofopen space.
These facilities include a golf course, a golf
driving range and two camps. Shongum Lake
Property Owners Association is the only not-
for-profit organization providing open space
in Randolph. This organization owns and
maintains Shongum Lake which is about 81
acres in size.
In total, 1,984 acres of open space, almost
15% of the township's area, currently exist in
Morris County Open Space Element 80
Riverdale Borough's area is two square
miles, and it has only eight acres of municipal
openspace. The boroughranks second behind
Victory Gardens as having the least amount of
municipal open space. The park acreage is
divided between Independence Park (7 Ac)
and Freedom Park (1 Ac). The two parks are
contiguous and are located in the eastern res-
identially developed portion of the borough.
Facilities at the two parks include ballfields,
playground equipment, basketball courts and
picnic areas.
In the same area, directly west of Freedom
and Independence parks, is the Board of Ed-
ucations' recreation area. The school park (7
Ac) has baseball fields and tennis and basket-
ball courts which are available for public use.
Morris County Open Space Element 81
Two outdoor commercial recreation
facilities, both swim clubs, constitute the larg-
est amount of recreational land and open
space to the borough, over 120 acres. Each
club is oriented on a lake, Valley Spring Lake
and Sun Tan Lake. These areas, however,
havebeen rezoned for townhouses. According
to its 1985 Master Plan Revision, continued
commercial recreational use ofthese lands will
cease due to the residential development
potential. The plan recommends however,
that the viability of preserving Sun Tan Lake
should be assessed.
The current total open space acreage for
Riverdale is 136 acres, comprising over 10%
of the borough's area.
Rockaway Borough's area is two square
miles, and it has almost 23 acres of municipal
open space, comprising less than 2% of its
area. The borough's four municipal parks con-
stitute the municipality's only public open
space. Park Lakes (12 Ac) is the northernmost
park, adjacent to the border of Rockaway
Township. The borough's largest park, it has a
pond where swimming and fishing are the
primary recreational activities. Playground
equipment is also available at the park.
Two parks near the center of Rockaway Bor-
0ugh are Memorial Park (4 Ac), which has
ballfields, playground equipment, basketball
courts and picnic areas; and Jackson Avenue
River Park, which has a picnic area. Near these
two parks is the Lincoln Ballfield (3 Ac).
Four schools in the borough have recreation-
al facilities such as ballfields, basketball and
Morris County Open Space Element 82
tennis courts, playground equipment and
track; however, the use ofthe facilities at three
of the schools is by permit only. Only play-
ground and basketball equipment at the Fair-
view Playground is open to the borough resi-
dents. This playground, situated in thewestern
portion of the borough, is on a 14 acre un-
developed school park site.
In addition to municipal and school parks,
the fire department has a 4 acre recreational
field abutting the eastern boundaryofthe bor-
0ugh. Jersey City also owns two parcels of
open space totalling 24 acres along the Rock-
away River as part of its watershed. One par-
cel, adjacent to the Jackson Avenue River
Park, is a proposed park, according to the
borough master plan.
There are 91 acres of open space in Rock-
away Borough, comprising 7% of its area.
Rockaway Township has the second largest
area of land dedicated to municipal open
space in the county. The township owns nine
parks whose areas total approximately 610
acres. Municipal open space, however, con-
stitutes less than three percent the total area
of the township.
Almost 90% of the open space is contained
within two parks, Lake Ames and the Cop-
peras Tract. Lake Ames, the township's larg-
est park (286 Ac), is adjacent to the Lake
Telemark residential area, located in the
geographic center of the municipality.
Facilities such as playground equipment, bas-
ketball courts, picnic areas and trails are avail-
able. Activities permitted on the lake are
swimming, boating and fishing.
The Copperas Tract (256 Ac) in the
northwest section of the township is undev-
eloped. The townships' 1983 "Master Plan
Reexamination and Revision" recommends
that this park be developed for passive recrea-
tion because of the steep slopes that exist on
the site.
The seven remaining parks range from four
acres to 23 acres. Peterson Field (23 Ac),
Morris County Open Space Element 83
Route 80 Park (8 Ac), Fleetwood Park (16
Ac), Sherbrook (8 Ac) and Willow Neighbor-
hood Park (0.7Ac) are located in thesouthern
more densely populated area of the township.
All of the parks except for Willow Park were
dedicated to Rockaway Township as part of
residential developments. Only Peterson
Field has been fully developed with ballfields,
basketball courts, playground equipment and
picnic areas. Willow Neighborhood Park has
only a playground.
Adjacent to Lake Telemark is Valhalla Way
Park, an eight acre undeveloped parcel. The
1983 "Master Plan Reexamination and Revi-
sion" proposes to develop Valhalla Way Park
as a neighborhood park. The only developed
park in the northern section of township is
Marcella Park, a four acre ballfield.
In addition to municipal parks, seven school
parks provide facilities such as ballfields, ten-
nis and basketball courts and playground
equipment. Five of the school parks are lo-
cated in the southern section of the township.
The two remaining schools, Hibernia and
Katherine D. Malone, are located near the
center of the municipality in the area of Lake
Private organizations provide approximately
2,142 acres of open space. Non-profit or-
ganizations account for 2,018 acres or 94% of
the total private open space. The non-profit
facilities include four camps and four property
owners associations. Three camps are ad-
jacent to the northern boundary of the
township. The other camp abuts the northern
end of the Lake Telemark residential area.
The four property owners associations are
oriented around three water bodies. The as-
sociations include White Meadow Lake
property owners association, Lake Telemark
CountryClub, the Lake End Corporation, and
the Green Pond Corporation. Recreation ac-
tivities permitted at the lakes includes tennis,
swimming and boating.
Morris County Open Space Element 84
Private commercial recreation facilities in-
clude a ski resort area, a golf club and a lake.
The open space provided by these facilities
totals approximately 124 acres.
The two largest open space landholdings in
Rockaway Township are the watershed
properties of Jersey City (1,465 Ac), and
Newark (2,236 Ac). Together these areas con-
stitute 13% or 3,701 acres of the township.
Thewatersheds extend along almost the entire
northern municipal boundary. Jersey City's
Splitrock Reservoir and Newark's Charlot-
teburg Reservoir are within these watershed
Open space in Rockaway Township totals
7,335 acres or 25% of the township. Ap-
proximately 73% of the total open space is
contained in a contiguous area of 5,359 acres
consistingofFarneyState Park, the watershed
lands and three of the four camps.
Although Roxbury Township has a large
amount ofstate and county open space (1,680
Ac), its municipal parkland constitutes 5% of
the municipality's area, and provides most of
the active and passive recreational needs ofits
residents. Roxbury ranks first, with 704 acres,
in the amount of land dedicated to municipal
open space.
Presently, there are 20 municipal parks in
Roxbury. Most of the parks are located in the
southern residential portion of the township.
The sizes of the individual parks range from
the 243 acres of the Morris Canal Park to the
1.7 acres of the Kings Store and Home Park.
Only nine municipal parks are developed for
active recreation. Facilities at these parks in-
clude ballfields, tennis and basketball courts,
playground equipment, swimming facilities,
fishing and picnic areas.
The residential area south of the central
railroad and Route 10 has 12 municipal open
space areas which total about 272 acres. Only
four of these parks, Meeker (19 Ac), Midland
(16 Ac), Horseshoe Lake (74 Ac) and Kiwanis
Park (71 Ac) have recreational facilities.
Morris County Open Space Element 8S
Six parks are located northwest of the
southern residential area and south of 1-80.
The largest municipal park in this area is the
Morris Canal Parkwith 243 acres. This passive
area offers walking trails for recreation. Other
parks in this section of Roxbury include Em-
mans Road Park (71 Ac), Ledgewood Park(35
Ac), and Conkling Park (44 Ac). Emmans
Road Park offers a large open area and walk-
ing trails. Ledgewood Park and Conkling
Road Park have playground equipment, ten-
nis and basketball courts, picnic areas, swim-
ming and ice skating facilities. A 14 acre un-
developed and unnamed park and the King
House Store and Home Park are also in this
The remaining two parks are the only parks
located north ofI-80. Port Morris Park (5 Ac)
adjacent to Lake Musconetcong on the north-
west border of the township has picnic and
play areas. Near the eastern boundary is the
Berkshire Valley Recreational Area (4 Ac).
This park offers tennis and basketball courts,
ballfields, playground equipment and picnic
In addition to municipal open space, five
school parks exist within the township.
Together· the schools provide 130 acres of
recreational area.
One private recreational facility, a country
club, and a portion of the Alamatong
Wellfield, lie within Roxbury Township. The
Shore Hills Country Club near Lake Hopat-
cong contributes less than five acres of recrea-
tional land. A 12 acre portion of the Morris
County Municipal Utilities Authority's
Alamatong Wellfield is situated on the
southeast boundary of Roxbury Township.
Two regional open space and recreational
facilities are situated within Roxbury. A 188
acre portion of the county's Flanders Valley
Golf Course is situated in the southwest
comer of the township abutting Mt. Olive and
Chester Townships. Approximately 1,492
acres of the state's Berkshire Valley Wildlife
Management Area are located in the north-
east comer of Roxbury.
Together, public, quasi-public and private
open space and recreational land comprise
2646 acres or 19% of the total area of Rox-
Morris County Open Space Element 86
The Borough of Victory Gardens, the
county's smallest municipality (0.2 sq. mi.) has
no lands devoted to open space or recreation.
Morris County Open Space Element 87
The Borough has no significant vacant parcels
Municipal open space in Washington
Township consists of nine parks whose com-
bined areas total 342 acres, comprising less
than 2% of the municipality. Eight parks are
greater than 24 acres in size; only Peter Carol
Field is less than 10 acres.
The township's largest park is Rock Spring
Park (74Ac), located in the geographic center
of the township. Rock Spring Park is also one
of the only two parks developed for active
recreation. Facilities at the park include
ballfields, playground equipment and picnic
areas. The only other active recreational park
is Peter Carol Field. This seven acre ballfield
is located on Fairmount Avenue in the
southern part of the township.
The remaining parks are open space areas
which protect areas with steep slopes. Scott
Park (39 Ac) and Parker Acres (33 Ac) are
situated in the southern half of the township.
Scott Park, bisected by the south branchof the
Raritan River, is one of the few parks not
contiguous to a residential development. It is
surrounded by agricultural and vacant land.
Parker Acres is situated in a small residential
area in the southeast corner of the township.
Morris County Open Space Element 88
The remaining five municipal parks are
clustered together in a residential area
northwest of Rock Spring Park. Wooded Val-
ley East (47 Ac), Spring Acres (42 Ac) and
Quail Run (24Ac) are all interconnectedopen
space parcels dedicated to the township as a
result of residential subdivisions. Koehler
Pond (25 Ac) and Cataract Park (51 Ac) are
both natural open space areas. While all of
these parks are undeveloped, fishing is per-
mitted at Koehler Pond.
Most of the active recreation facilities are
provided by four of the five schools within the
township. The school parks provide ballfields
and playground equipment.
In addition to local public parks, eight private
outdoor recreation areas provide ap-
proximately372 acres ofopenspace. Fivenon-
profit organizations, consisting of two camps,
two sportsman's clubs and a conservation or-
ganization, protect 101 acres of open space.
Commercial recreation facilities consisting of
two day camps and a golf course provide 271
acres of recreational land and open space.
Two regional public parks are situated in
Washington Township. Schooley's Mountain
Park, a 394 acre county park, abuts the north-
east border of Rock Spring Park. A 233 acre
portion of Hacklebarney State Park is located
adjacent to the Black River on the border of
Washington and Chester Townships.
Public, quasi-public and private open space
and recreational land accounts for 1,433 acres
or 5% of the area of the township.
Morris County Open Space Element 89
Wharton Borough (2.2 sq.mi.) relies com-
pletely on municipal parkland to meet the
recreational and open space needs of itS resi-
dents. Six parks, totaling approximately 54
acres of open space, comprise almost 4% of
the borough's area.
The largest and most developed park is Rob-
ert Street Park (31 Ac) located in the south
central portion of the borough. Robert Street
Park has three ballfields, tennis Courts and a
playground. In the large residential area inthe
southeastern section is Columbia Street Park
(3 Ac). This park has playground equipment
and basketball courts.
The Hugh Force Park (6 Ac) is located near
thewestern border ofthe borough. The Rock-
away River and Morris Canal both run
Morris County Open Space Element 90
through this park. A swimming facility on the
canal is no longer inuse. Also oriented around
water east ofHugh Force Parkis the Washing-
ton Pond Park (13 Ac). Presently no recrea-
tion facilities exist at the park except for a 10
acre pond which is part of the Rockaway
The remaining two parks, Huff Street and
Langoon Avenue, are located in the northern
half of the borough. Both parks are play-
grounds, each less than an acre in size.
The only other recreational facility in Whar-
ton is a ballfieldwhich is part of Duffy School.
Together the school park and municipal park
lands total 67 acres which constitute almost
5% of the borough's total area.
1 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Master Plan, Great Swamp NWR, 1985, p. 6
2 Morris County Planning Board, Open Space Element, 1972, p. 6
3 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PreliminarySunrey of Contaminant Issues of Concern on National Wildlife Refuges, 1986, p. 6
4 ~ .
5 ibid p. A.104, A.105
6 U.S. Department of the Interior, Morristown National Historical Park, Land Protection Plan, 1984, p. 1
7 Morristown National Historical Park, Final Master Plan, 1975, p. 13
8 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Final EIS, Great Swamp NWR1987, p. 14
9 NJ DEP, Environmental Information Inventory, 1984
10 Madison Comprehensive Master Plan Revision, 1975, p.35
11 Town of ¥orristown, Master Plan, 1978, p. 7:8 to 7·10
Morris County Open Space Element 91
Morris County Open Space Element 92
Open Space Needs Determination
The amount of open space that needs to be
preserved depends on howmuch land is need-
ed for active recreation as well as the amount
of environmentally critical land requiring
protection. Land needed for recreation is det-
erminedbythe demand for various recreation-
al activities and the ability of the land to sup-
port those activities without detrimental
impacts to the land. The amount of environ-
mentally critical land which needs to be pre-
served requires the identification of those
areas which, ifdeveloped, would adversely im-
pact the health, safety and general welfare of
the public or cause the destruction of unique
natural features.
Morris County Open Space Element 93
In Chapter Two an overview of the environ-
mentally sensitive areas was presented. The
existing parks and open space in Morris Coun-
tywere described in Chapter Three. The next
step is to determine the adequacy of the exist-
ing open space in fulfilling the current and
future needs of the county as those needs
relate to the preservation of critical areas and
the demands for recreation.
Recreational Carrying Capacity
Morris County remains one of the dynamic
growth counties in NewJersey. As population
and employment opportunities increase two
important questions are raised: 1) can the cur-
rent recreational facilities in the county ac-
commodate more use without negatively im-
pacting the recreational quality and the
parkland's natural resources, and 2) will new
recreational facilities be needed to satisfy the
increasing number of residents and visitors in
the county? In order to protect a park from
overuse the recreational carrying capacity
should be determined. Recreational carrying
capacity is defined as the limit to the amount
of use a recreation area can support without
bringing damage to the natural resources of
the area and without affecting its recreational
quality. 1. An area's recreational carrying cap-
acity is determined by the following com-
ponents: the physical characteristics and
ecological processes of the park's': natural re-
sources, the characteristics and 'number of
users, the nature of activities, and the objec-
tives and management of the park agency.
The first component, the physical characteris-
tics and ecological processes of a park, refers
to the maximum level of activity and the num-
ber of people that can be accommodated by
the park's ecosystembefore its natural resour-
ces are significantly degraded. Various ecosys-
tem habitats, such as wetlands, flood plains,
forested uplands, fields and grasslands, lakes
and streams, ridgetops and slopes, have cer-
tain tolerances and susceptibilities to various
recreational activities. Thus, the various
ecosystems respond in different ways to re-
creational use. Habitats that are more vul-
nerable or sensitive to recreational use typ-
ically include soils exhibitingwet and unstable
characteristics, such as flood plains, wetlands,
steep slopes and highly erodible soils.
The second component, the characteristics
and number of users, is related to the type of
recreational activity that is available at a
specific location. For example, while a site
may be suitable for use by a quiet group of
picnickers, the same site might quickly de-
teriorate ifsubjected to the rigors of a football
game. It becomes necessary therefore to
match the type of activity provided with the
ability of the land to accommodate that use.
One example is the county-owned Silas Con-
diet Park in northeastern Morris County near
Morris County Open Space Element 94
Route 23. The park's proximity to a major
state highway provides excellent access, not
just for visitors from out-of-county but also
from out-of-state. In 1984, the Morris County
Park Police reported 268,748 visitors; how-
ever, by 1986 the number was reduced to
159,684 as a lowered capacitywas established.
On weekends, prior to the limitations, over-
crowding caused physical damage to the park.
Now, when the new capacity is reached, Park
Police close the park to additional visitors.
The characteristics of park users will also
determine how well a park's ecosystem will
endure. Outdoor recreation is intended to
involve people in an activity, whether active or
passive. The environment in which recreation
takes place contributes to a person's satisfac-
tion of the park; the level ofsatisfaction a park
provides depends partly on how the user's
attitudes and actions concerning resource
conservation interface with the natural and
man-made features and characteristics of the
The final component, outdoor recreation
management, is the process of accounting for
the above mentioned factors to manage both
the natural resources and the recreational
needs and desires of the user. Management
involves taking care of the character and qual-
ity of the resource base, ensuring that the
recreational capacity is not exceeded, that en-
vironmental degradation is minimized and
that visitor enjoyment and satisfaction are pro-
vided. Management strategies for controlling
and distributing user impacts include, but are
not limited to, facility design, public access for
acceptable capacities, offering choices of
areas to users, limiting the number of individ-
uals, and limiting the types of activities.
It is important that established public recrea-
tion areas are not overused; quite simply,
when too many people use an area for recrea-
tion, the area will be adversely impacted. Ex-
amples of negative impacts from overuse are
when a park begins to showsigns of deteriora-
tion, which include soil erosion, vegetation
degradation, and loss of solitude for users.
Proper care and management of recreational
areas is necessary so that the recreational car-
rying capacity is maintained for present and
future generations.
Open Space Standards
In order to set aside an adequate amount of
land for open space, all levels of government
have specific responsibilities in the acquisi-
tion process. The federal and state govern-
ments' roles are to acquire the largest land-
holdings encompassing natural, historical and
wilderness 'areas. Federal areas
and state wilderness and natural areas should
be located where suitable natural charac-
teristics are present. State recreational areas
should be within 30 to 45 minutes of con-
centrated urban areas.
A county's role is to acquire large tracts
which accommodate facilities not normally
provided by municipalities due to the nature
of the facility, such as arboretums, sports
arenas, golf courses and hiking trails, or are
not provided by the state within close
proximity. The local government's primary
responsibility is to provide more intensive
uses, such as ballfields and playground equip-
ment, which are usually situated on smaller
parcels of land within walking distance of the
neighborhoods they serve.
In the 1984 "Out-
door Recreation Plan for NewJersey" (ORP),
two sets of standards were utilized to quantify
the openspace needs for each level ofgovern-
ment for recreational land. The first, the acres
per population open space standards, are used
to determine the amount of existing open
space needed to meet recreational demand
based on current and future population es-
timates. Chart 4-1 shows these standards for
each level of government.
The second, the balanced land use stand-
ards, are used to determine ultimate public
open space goals as percentages of usable
land. These standards set minimum amounts
ofland that shouldbe preserved as openspace,
Morris County Open Space Element 95
Acres PerPopulation Open Space Standards
(per Thousand)
Federal State County MuniCipal
Government Level
and identify the proportions of the total land
area of the state that should be reserved for
public open space (See Table 4-1). These
standards assume that munidpal and county
governments are responsible for providing ac-
tive recreational facilities on land suitable for
such development, and every effort should be
made by each level of government to attain at
least these standards. Since the demand for
recreation is derived from developed areas,
undevelopable areas which consist of federal
and state open space, wetlands, and areas of
slopes over 12 percent are deducted from the
total land area for the determination ofcounty
and municipal open space. The standards as-
sume the majority of wetlands and areas with
slopes of over 12 percent are either safe-
guarded from development by state and
municipal regulations or will be acquired by
the federal and state governments as open
Balanced Land Use Open Space Standards
FEDERAL 4% of the area of the state
STATE 10% of the area of the state
COUNTY 7% of the developed and
developable area of the state
MUNICIPAL 3% of the developed and
developable area of the state
The 1984 ORP divides the state into north-
ern and southern regions and calculates a
federal and state open space goal for each
region. Morris County is in the northern
Most of the state and federal parks in .
the northern region are situated in the central
and western portions where large un-
developed tracts still exist. Fewstateor federal
parks are situated in the eastern, more ur-
banized counties.
While these standards establish a minimum
amount of open space to be acquired, they do
not determine the amount of open space that
should be acquired in order to protect critical
areas such as watersheds, flood plains or
aquifer recharge areas. Ideally, the County
and each municipality should prepare a nat-
ural resource inventory (NRI) to identify
those areas that should be acquired and pro-
tected because of their vital natural resource
BecauseMorris Countyand manyofits mun-
icipalities have not prepared NRI's at this
time, it is not possible to determine an ac-
curateopen space figure for each governmen-
tal level within the county based on the
amount of critical areas that should be pro-
tected. Therefore, the acres per population
and the balanced land use standards must suf-
fice to indicate the minimum guidelines with
Morris County Open Space Element 96
which to evaluate the existing open space in
Morris County.
Acres Per Population Standards
In analyzing the present and proposed need
for recreational open space in Morris County,
the population estimate for 1985 and popula-
tion projections for 1990 and 2000 were used.
For each governmental level, the population
estimate and projections were multiplied by
the acres per population standard to deter-
mine the minimum acreage needed to meet
the recreational demand of the estimated and
proposed populations. The surplus or deficit
of each level was calculated by subtracting the
minimum acreage from the current open
space acreage. The results shown inTable 4-2
include all developed and undeveloped parks
and lands dedicated to municipalities as a re-
sult ofcluster subdivision andsite plan activity.
According to the acres per population stand-
ards, the federal government and the county
have acquiredsufficient amount ofopen space
to meet the recreational needs of Morris
County residents through the year 2000.
Using this method, the county's current land-
holdings appear to be 2,427 acres more than
the minimum acreage required for the year
2000, and the federal government's landhold-
ings appear to exceed the minimumacreage by
241 acres.
Both the state and some municipal govern-
ments fall short of the minimum acreages re-
quired to meet the current and proposed re-
creational demands of the county's
population. Current state open space figures
Adequacy of Open Space in Morris County
Using the Acres Per Population
1985 Existing Open Space
I8,206 I 8,535 I 8,389 I 4,377 I
1985 Federal State County Munic.
NEED ·6,716 10,075 . 5 , 0 3 ~ : 3,358
Surplus 1,489 3,352 1,019*
Deficit -1,540
1990 Federal State County Munic.
NEED 7,038 10,556 5,278 3,519
Surplus 1,168 3,111 858*
Deficit -2,021
was evaluated using the acres per population
standard. Table 4-3 shows those municipalities
found to have deficits. While the combined
1985 total municipal open space acreage ex-
ceeded the minimum acres per population
standard by 4,377 acres, this figure is mislead-'
ing since it assumes that surplus open space in
one municipality will compensate for the
deficit in an other. Based on the 1985 popUla-
tion estimates, eight municipalities have
deficits in municipal open space. It should be
noted that six of these municipalities also have
small total areas and high population den-
sities. This indicates that a greater need for
recreational lands exists in municipalities with
higher population concentrations.
Using the 1990 and the 2000 population
projections, three additional municipalities,
Lincoln Park, Parsippany-Troy Hills, and
Wharton, will have deficits in open space by
theyear 2000, if none acquires additional land.
Denville, Florham Park, Harding and Morris
Township will have less than 10 acres over the
* However eleven municipalities showed
individual deficits, see Table 4-3.
NEED 7,949 11,923 5,962 3,974
Surplus 257 2,427 403*
Deficit -3,388
indicate a 1985 deficiency of 1,540 acres,
which, assuming the state fails to acquire addi-
tional open space, is projected to increase to
3,388 acres in the year 2000. In determining
municipal open space need, each municipality
2000 Federal State County Munic.
Municipal Open Space Deficits Using
the Acres Per Population Methodology
Municipality 1985 1990 2000
Butler 49 48 55
Dover 70 76 82
Jefferson 64 71 86
Kinnelon 45 47 55.
Lincoln Park 0 0 8
Netcong 5 4 9
Parsippany Troy-Hills 0 0 3
Riverdale 11 11 12
Rockaway Borough 31 31 37
Victory Gardens 8 9 10
Wharton 0 0 5
Morris County Open Space Element 97
TOTAL 283 297 362
_ Goal ~ Exi8ting
Adequacy ofOpen Space in Morris County
( using the Balanced Land Use Goals
Methodology )
bined their balanced land use goals into one
As explained previously, the DEP divided
the stateinto a northern region and a southern
region and calculated a combined balanced
land use goal for each. The goal for the north-
ern region, of which Morris County is a part,
is 299,983 acres of state and federal open
spaces, or 14 percent of the total area of the
region. Accordingto the 1984ORP, the north-
emregion now contains only 193,179 acres of
state and federal open space, resulting in a
deficit of 106,804 acres.
If the goal of 299,983 acres were distributed
proportionally to each county's total area,
then nearly 42,800 acres would be in Morris
County. Presently, Morris County has appro-
ximately16,725 acres instate and federal open
space. Therefore a deficit of 26,075 acres of
state and federal open space can be said to
exist within the county.
This analysis, however, is not entirely ac-
curate since the purpose of state and federal
openspace is to serve an entire region, not just
one county. A state or federal park outside of
Morris County but within the northern region
will meet some of the recreational needs of
county residents. An example of such a re-
gional park is the Delaware Water Gap Na-
tional Recreational Area. Based on the same
reasoning, state and federal open space lo-
cated in Morris County attracts visitors from
outside the county. For example, Morristown
National Historical Park attracts visitors
from the counties east of Morris
Therefore, any open space acquired by the
federal or state government in the northern
region will reduce the deficit of Morris
County's share of state and federal open
space. Based on present holdings, 27,935
acres of Morris County's share of federal and
state open space has been provided elsewhere
in the northern region. Morris County's cal-
culated portion of the northern region's short-
age of 106,804 acres, is 14,865 acres. But since
State & Federal County
(Morr.. County ~ r t l o n )
minimum amount of municipal open space,
calculated by the acres per population stand-
ard by the year 2000.
Balanced Land Use Standards
While the acres per population standards
indicate the intensity of open space and
recreational needs at a given time, the ba-
lanced land use standards establish general
open space goals with no set time frame.
Openspace goals for each level ofgovernment
were originally established in the 1977
SCORP and again in the 1984 ORP. To up-
date the'-19.84 ORP analysis of open space in
Morris County, the current open space figures
were compared to the balancedland use goals,
and the deficits at each governmental level
were determined (See Chart 4-2). Since the
federal and state governments are responsible
for acquiring significant natural areas, we com-
Morris County Open Space Element 98
the county cannot control state or federal ac-
quisitions, the 14,865 acres that needs to be
acquired to fulfill the county's calculated por-
tion mayor may not be within Morris County.
The goal for county-owned open space is
13,715 acres according to the balanced land
use methodologyY Subtracting the county's
8,389 acres of existing parkland from the
balanced land use goal of 13,715 acres indi-
cates a deficit of 5,326 acres. It should be
noted that this is a very different result from
that reached by using the acres per population
method. The balanced land use goal for
municipcH 0Een space in ¥orris·; County is
5,878 acres. Based on the totai municipal
open space, 7,675 acres, in the county, a
surplus of 1,797 acres exists.
As in the case of the acres per population
standard, however, each municipality should
be evaluated separately in order to determine
the individual open space deficits; otherwise,
open space surpluses in one municipality will
offset deficiencies in another. However, an
accurate determination of the balanced land
use goal for each municipality is not possible
at this time since information on wetlands and
steep slopes for each municipality is not readi-
ly available.
The above standards at best serve as mini-
mumguides for measuring the effectiveness of
the open space programs being implemented
by the public sector.
1 Department of Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Recreation - A Legacy for America, 1973
2 19n Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, (SCORP), p. 172
3 Parks and Recreational Land Use in NewJersey, Dept. of Conservation and Recreational Development, June 1965
4 1mNJ. SCORP, p. 172
5 1984 ORP, p. 30
61mNJ. SCORP, p. 175
7 1mNJ. SCORP, p. 173
8 19n NJ. SCORP, p. 172
9 Calculated using 1986 MCPB Questionnaire
10 1984 ORP, Table 10, p. 32
11 Final Master Plan, Morristown National Historical Park, Nov, 1975, p. 13
12 1984 ORP, Table 10, p. 32
13 1984 ORP, Table 10, p. 32
Morris County Open Space Element 99
Morris County Open Space Element 100
Methods of Open Space Acquisition
The importance of open space has been pre-
sented in previous chapters. The purpose of
this chapter is to discuss the methods of acquir-
ing and/or preserving open space. Some met-
hods of acquiring open space are direct ac-
quisition, donation, low density zoning and
easements. These, among others, will be ex-
plored in this chapter to permit evaluation of
the methodologies available.
Direct acquisition allows for the transfer of
property without restrictions or special condi-
tions being place upon the land. Direct acquisi-
tion can take the form of purchase, donation,
bequest, and eminent domain. Several types of
purchase fee simple, fee simple instalhnent,
Morris County Open Space Element 101
less than-fair market value and lease back
agreements are described below.
Fee Simple: In this type of purchase, the
buyer and seller agree on the value of a tract of
land and a transfer of title is made when the
price (fee) is paid. The simplicity of this type of
purchase is its major advantage, while its
greatest disadvantage is that it is very difficult
for agencies and environmental groups to fund
the full purchase price at a given time.
Fee Simple Installment Buying: This is a
variation of the above except that full title is
not taken immediately. Rather, the land is ob-
tained in blocks of pre-determined acreage
over a fixed number of years.
Less-Than-Fair-Market Value: Some land-
owners are willing to sell their land at less than
fair market value. The difference between an
agreed-upon sales price and the higher market
value canbe deducted as a charitable contribu-
tion on the seller's federal income tax. For the
purchaser, the advantage is the reduced cost of
acquiring land for open space. A variation of
this technique would be the transfer of title
from one governmental agency to another.
Lease-Back Agreement: The lease-back
agreement can be an effective tool for land
acquisition when the land is not needed for
immediate use. An agency purchases a parcel
of land and then leases it to either the original
owner or someone else. Two benefits to the
public are the partial reimbursentent of the
purchase price through rental fees and the
reduction or elimination of maintenance costs,
since the renter takes careofthe property. This
method has been used successfully with farm
lands acquisition and also bythe Morris County
Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA) at
the site of the proposed Washington Valley
LeaselRental of Private Land: Government
agencies and private conservation groups may
choose to lease or rent private land. While this
may be less desirable than ownership, depend-
ing upon the circumstances, it may be benefi-
cial. If an owner has agreed to sell, or donate,
land to an agency, a lease agreement can be
arranged until the sale or donation is made.
Donation and Bequest: The donation ofland
is another way that agencies or nonprofit
groups acquire open space. The most direct
type of donation occurs when the landowner
gives the land to an organization or agency.
The advantage to the recipient is the acquisi-
tion of land without cost, while the benefit to
the donor is a charitable contribution deduc-
tion from federal income taxes. Some land-
owners may bequest property through their
Eminent Domain: Eminent domain is the
power of government to acquire private pro-
perty from a landowner who is unwilling to sell
his property. The property must be used in the
interest ofthe public health andwelfare. When
Morris County Open Space Element 102
it is determined that property should be taken,
the purchaser obtains appraisals of the fair
market value of the property and any buildings
involved in the taking. The costs involved in
eminent domain process are not unlike those
of outright purchase; however, substantial ad-
ditional costs arise from the legal fees involved
in the process of condemnation. Care and
forethought should be used prior to invoking
eminent domain. It is ironic that while the
acquisition of the property through eminent
domain is for the benefit of the community, the
public perception of the process remains nega-
Landowners enjoy a wide range of rights
connected with their property; however, a
number of restrictions to ensure limited open
space goals maybe placed on the use of land by
either private individuals or public agencies.
Private limitations that have been utilized in
connection with open space purposes include
deed restrictions and easements, while public
restrictions on land include protective zoning,
permit regulatory systems, and other land use
Deed Restrictions: A deed restriction is a
limitation placed in a deed concerning the per-
mitted uses of property. Within the limits of
what is deemedconstitutional, landowners may
impose practicallyany restriction theyconsider
necessary or significant to them. Such restric-
tions when incorporated in the deed can be
made binding upon subsequent owners.
Restrictions which benefit the public can be
used as preservation techniques for openspace
or conservation purposes.
Easements: An easement is the right to use
another's property for a specific purpose.
Generally, there are two categories of ease-
ments, affirmative or negative. An affirmative
easement is an agreement between two parties
which gives the holder of the easement a
limited right to use land owned by the other. A
public agency might obtain an easement for
access to a portion of land for a specific use
such as a bikeway or hiking trail. The affirm-
ative easement may also allow the landowner
to maintain control over access to the property
by limiting the time and degree of use by the
public. A negative easement precludes the
landowner from doing what he would be en-
titled to do if the easement did not exist For
example, restrictions might prohibit the owner
of a property adjacent to a park from building
a type of structure that would reduce the aes-
thetic quality of that park.
Easements are also distinguished as either
appurtenant or in gross. An appurtenant ease-
ment runs with the land and involves two or
more parcels. It benefits the owner of one
piece of property by permitting the use of the
other parcel. For example, the holder of an
appurtenant easement is granted a right-of-
way across another's property. The right-of-
way is permanent even should the owners of
the property change. An in gross easement is
not fixed to property; the privileges given by
this easement belong solely to an individual.
Should the property be sold, it would require
the renegotiation of the in gross easement to
obtain the rights that had been afforded to the
previous owner.
There are several types of easements which
are useful in the preservation of open space.
One is a called a scenic easement, the purpose
of which is to limit development in order to
preserve a view or scenic area. Similarly, a
conservation easement precludes future or ad-
ditional development of a tract in order to
preserve existing conditions. Other easements
are geared toward preserving specific land
uses. A farmland easement is used to protect
land for agricultural production, while a tim-
berland easement protects land for timber pro-
One major advantage to an easement is pure-
ly economic, it costs less than outright pur-
chase. Additionally it is advantageous to land-
owners, since the landis still owned and may be
Morris County Open Space Element 103
used by them, and for the easement holder,
because the maintenance of the parcel is most
likely the responsibility of the property owner.
Adjacent landowners may also benefit because
their propertyvalues might increase due to the
protectionofscenic or other qualities. Another
advantage of an easement is that it can be
written to conform to virtually any situation.
Stream Encroachment: The NJ DEP has
developed a stream encroachment permitting
process which helps to control adverse impacts
to a stream from development. A consistent
effort to enforce compliance with this permit-
ting process enhances a municipality's ability
to preserve open space along streams when
incorporated in a municipal ordinance requir-
ing stream corridor buffer zones along
municipal waterways. Municipalities can re-
quire a minimum of at least a 50 foot buffer
from either side of the edge of a stream chan-
nel. Where steep slopes are involved or the
streamis in a ravine, the corridor should extend
to the top of the steep slope plus 20 feet of
moderate or lesser slope. In 1989, NJ DEP will
require buffer zones from wetlands occurring
adjacent to streams. These buffers help reduce
the amount ofsediment, septic tank overflows,
road drainage, fertilizers and pesticides enter-
ing the stream.!
Cluster Zoning: Ouster zoning allows the
same gross density on a tract of land as conven-
tionalzoning, but reduces the individual lot
area and bulk requirements so that remaining
land can be dedicated to open space. For ex-
ample, if under conventional zoning 100 hous-
ing units are permitted on a 1OO-acre tract,
using a cluster lot reduction of 30 percent, a
developer would still be able to construct 100
housing units but on 70 acres, and 30 acres
could then be set aside as open space.
This technique for preserving open space
provides an incentive to developers since it
reduces the cost ofconstructionand infrastruc-
ture; but more important, open space can be
provided at no cost to the municipality.
Cluster zoning can' be used to protect the
environmentallysensitive areas ofa tract. Wet-
lands and steep slopes, for example, could be
delineated and set aside for conservation and
the remaining developable land used for con-
struction. Municipalities could also identify
potential recreation areas and have those set
aside when the tract encompassing the poten-
tial recreational area is developed. With
proper planning, these potential recreation
areas could be linked to create a recreation
field or a continuous linear park.
In Morris County, 33 municipalities have in-
corporat'ed' various forms of cluster zoning
provisioIl5 into their land uSe regulations. In
Washington Township, for example, 146 acres
of open space has been dedicated to the
municipality as a result offour cluster develop-
, Planned Unit Development (PUD): A PUD
is a flexible,mixed use development technique
which can be used in a similar manner to cluster
zoning to preserve open space.
Protective Zoning: By using protective zones
to control development in sensitive environ-
mental areas, municipalities may reap a side
benefit ofpreservingopenspace. Environmen-
tally sensitive features subject to protective
zoning include aquifer recharge zones, steep
slopes, wetlands, stream corridors and natural
and historic areas.
Transfer Of Development Rights: This rela-
tively new concept (circa 1970) in land use
management is a viable method of open space
preservation. A municipality would select an
area of open space and prohibit development
on that tract with the permission of the land-
owner. While the landowner loses the right to
develop, ownership of the land is retained. The
development rights of the landowner are then
treated as a commodity, permitting the owner
the opportunity to profit from the sale ofwhat
can be called the development potential of his
This development potential is transferred to
another district in the municipalitywhere con-
Morris County Open Space Element 104
struction at a higher density than would nor-
mally be permitted can occur.
However, only the buyer of the development
rights can build at this higher density. The
buyer of development rights benefits from the
increased savings attnbutable to higher density
development. In this way, the total density of
the municipality is kept the same as planned,
and environmentallysensitive areas, especially
agricultural lands, can be retained. However,
to date, the NJ Legislature has failed to enact
enabling legislation permitting municipalities
to adopt ordinances allowing transfer of
development rights.
Trusts And Non-Profit Groups: Non-profit
groups and trusts, such as the NewJersey Con-
servation Foundation, the Nature Conservan-
cy, the Trust for Public Land, the Audubon
Society, and the SchiffNatural Lands Trust are
also interested in the preservation of open
space. Atrust acquires land inmanyofthesame
ways that public agencies do; for example,
through donations and bequests, purchase,
deed restrictions, or easements. Since it is a
private group acquiring the land, no
governmental agencyneeds tobeinvolvedwith
anyprocedures or expenses associatedwith the
acquisition. The citizens of the community
benefit from the preserved land with little or
no cost to them.
Sometimes such organizations can act to
benefit public agencies by their ability to ac-
quire a critical parcel oflandmore quicklythan
a governmental agency. The non-profit or-
ganization can then hold the land until the
public agency has had time to go through the
necessary procedures and obtain the funding
to acquire the parcel. Non-profit organizations
can thus playa vital intermediary role in
preserving open space, as well as performing
their more usual role of being permanent
owners and protectors of open space.
Two public programs currently exist which
recognize and protect the natural ecosystems,
scenic beauty and historic and recreational
values of our nation's river corridors.
Federal Programs
At the federal level, The Wild and Scenic
Rivers System was established in 1968 to
protect rivers or segments of rivers and their
proximate environs which posses outstanding-
ly remarkable scenic, recreational, geological,
historical, cultural or other similar value for
the benefit and enjoyment of present and fu-
ture generations.
To qualify, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
requires 'that rivers must be: in a free flowing
natural condition. They must be long enough
to provide a meaningful wilderness, scenic or
recreational experience. There should be suf-
ficient volume ofwater during normal years to
permit, during the recreation season, full en-
joyment of water-related outdoor recreation
activities. The river should be of high quality
or capable of restoration to that condition.
In Morris County, two segments of the Pas-
saic River have been nominated for inclusion
on the final list of the Federal Wild and Scenic
Rivers System. The first segment, nominated
for its botanical values, includes Great Piece
Meadows and the Passaic River segment from
the 1-80 bridge between Fairfield and
Montville downstream to Two Bridges.
Montville and Lincoln Park are along the
western and northern bank of this reach.
The second segment, nominated for its
recreational values, extends from Route 24 in
Chatham Borough to Cook's Bridge in East
The Lamington/Black River System, whose
headwaters originate in the area of Roxbury
and Randolph, has been declared eligIble for
study for inclusion in the Wild and Scenic Pro-
gram by the National Rivers Inventory of the
United States Department of Interior.
State Programs
In 1977, the New Jersey Legislature passed
an act establishing the New Jersey Wild and
Scenic Rivers System to preserve, protect and
enhance the natural and recreational values of
New Jersey rivers or segments of rivers and
their surrounding environments so that
present and future generations have the op-
portunity to enjoy the ecological and recrea-
tional values of such rivers.
River corridors designatedwithin the system
are protected by land and water use regula-
tions. Preferably enacted at the local level,
these regulations may be more restrictive than
other river-related programs such as stream
encroachment and soil erosion and sediment
control regulations.
A request to designate a river, which in this
act is defined as the river channel and flood
hazard area corresponding to the 1oo-year
flood plain, may be initiated at the state or
local level. Local government and concerned
citizens or environmental organizations are
encouraged to undertake studies with the
state providing guidance on meeting the
regulations of the state act.
In Morris County, the Lamington River is
being considered for designation into the
State WIld and Scenic River Program. The
Upper Raritan Watershed Association, a
private non-profit conservation organization
has prepared a series of maps detailing the
physical conditions along the river and has
agreed to act as a local coordinating a g e n ~
for a designation study. Chester Township
has passed a resolution supporting the under-
taking of such a study.
It can be seen that there is a wide variety of
procedures by which open space acquisition
and preservation can be achieved and many of
these methods have been presented in this
chapter. The list provided is not exhaustive;
rather, it is intended that at least the most
viable options be listed and discussed.
1 Stream Corridor Protection Ordinance Provisions, Raritan River Basin Pilot Project, 1986
Morris County Open Space Element 105
Morris County Open Space Element 106
Methods of Financing Open Space
In Chapter Five, different methods of open
space acquisition were described, but many
are very costly, making it difficult for munici-
palities and other agencies to obtain addi-
tional land for open space preservation or
parkland development.
This chapter provides information about
ways to obtain the money necessary for open
space and parkland acquisition.
In the past the federal government was the
primary source that local agencies and private
groups relied upon for the funding necessary
to obtain open space. The majority of federal
programs now have been eliminated or are of
limited value.
Morris County Open Space Element 107
The Department ofAgriculture
Assistance available from this agency for cer-
tain specialized situations may come from the
Farmers Home Administration or the Soil
Conservation Service. The Farmers Home
Administration has three major loanprograms
which aid in the acquisition of land for recrea-
tion. These are the Consolidated Farm and
Rural Development Act, Resource Conserva-
tion and Development Loans, and Com-
munity Facility Loans.
The first program provides loans to farmers
to convert all or part of their farms to recrea-
tion areas. The second program provides
loans of up to $250,000 to local agencies and
non-profit corporations in authorized
Resource Conservation and Development
areas which may be used for the development
of facilities for rural community public-out- .
door water-oriented recreation. The third
program provides loans to public or quasi-
public and non-profit organizations to con-
struct, enlarge, or improve community fac-
ilities offering social, cultural, health, or
recreationbenefits in rural areas or towns with
populations of less than 10,000.
The Soil Conservation Service has three
programs that provides money for recreation.
The first is the Food and Agriculture Act,
which authorizes the USDAto aid farmers and
other land owners in developing,:recreation
areas. The second program assiSts projects
concernedwith publicwater-oriented fish and
wildlife resources and public water-based
recreation, for which grants up to 50% of the
cost of construction are available. The Soil
Conservation Service also has Resource Con-
servation and Development projects to assist
in obtaining outdoor recreation facilities. Pro-
visions for technical and financial assistance is
available for the development of reservoirs,
recreation areas, and fish andwildlifedevelop-
ment with grants to 50%.
Department of Housing and Urban
Development (RUD)
HUD provides money for recreation pur-
poses through Community Planning and
Development Block Grant Assistance
programs which can cover up to 100% of pro-
ject costs. These funds can be used for the
acquisition of land for uses including the con-
servation of open space, development of
recreation areas, and the construction of
recreation centers and facilities. This program
is discussed further under "County Programs.n
The Department of the Interior governs the
National Park Service which provides recrea-
tion planning and funds. The National Park
Service manages the federal Wild and Scenic
Rivers Program and was instrumental in
developing the 1977 "Statewide Comprehen-
sive Outdoor Recreation Plann which is part of
the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
New Jersey has received approximately $90
million from this fund and has used it for the
development of recreation facilities, parks,
and open space acquisition for the preserva-
tion of certain free-flowing rivers or river seg-
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This agency offers two grant programs for
land acquisition by states. One of these is for
land in Wildlife Management Areas. Funds
are derived from an excise tax on hunting
equipment sold throughout the nation. The
distribution of the funds to the states is contin-
gent upon how many hunting licenses were
purchased in each state. The second program
is used for the acquisition of habitats impor-
tant to fishing resources and the federal funds
are obtained from an excise tax on fishing
license sales.
The New Jersey Department of Environ-
mental Protection, Green Acres Bureau, has
had a tremendous impact on the acquisition
and development of parklands and open space
throughout NewJersey.
The Green Acres program began in 1961 in
response to the state's citizens' awareness of
dwindling open space. Since that time several
bond issues have been approved by the voters.
In 1983, it became apparent that new bond
issues would be necessary everyfive years, and
the Green Trust was developed as part of the
1983 bond issue in response to the increasing
number of applications. The Green Trust of-
fers 20 year, 2% loans to municipalities and
counties for open space acquisition and the
development of recreational facilities. It also
provides incentive grants up to 25% for cer-
tain projects. The Trust Fund offers five fund-
ing categories for acquisition and develop-
ment assistance. They are: Environmental
IncentivelPrivate Donation, Standard Ac-
quisition, Urban Aid, Standard Development,
Morris County Open Space Element 108
and Minor Development. Each of these has
certain limitations and specifies what projects
will receive financial aid.
The Environmental IncentivelPrivate Dona-
tion is for environmentally-oriented projects
such as the conservation of unique natural
areas, the protection of critical areas of both
native and endangered species, and linking
existing recreation and open space areas. The
Standard Acquisition program provides aid
for projects of smaller scale such as neighbor-
hood parks; however, projects for protecting
stream corridors, greenways, or environmen-
tally sensitive areas receive higher priority
rankings than neighborhood parks. Urban aid
cities may obtain grants and/or loans for ac-
quisition and development under the urban
aid category.
Two remaining categories are geared toward
helping county and municipal governments.
Standard Development offers 2% loans for
the entire cost of a project, and Minor
Development is for those projects under
$100,000. Applications are prioritized so that
local acquisition and development projects
can be weighed against one another to deter-
mine whether the projects conform to the
guidelines in the Outdoor Recreation Plan
and with state-wide goals. Nineteen mun-
icipalities in Morris County have taken ad-
vantage of this program.
Although the Green Acres Office is anxious
to preserve open space, the program is run-
ning short of funds. Only six million dollars is
available for 1988 although the demand ex-
ceeds $300 million.
The county's Community Development
Department has played a large role in helping
to fund open space and recreation projects.
The department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) allocates a specific
amount of money to the county each year for
community development projects. In 1975
twenty-two out of 36 projects, the most of any
Morris County Open Space Element 109
year, were for open space purposes, totaling
$304,900. But from 1976 through 1981, only
seven projects for open space were approved;
and from 1982 through 1986, an average of
only two open space projects per year have
received grants. Community Development
funding is likely to be less, or even non-exis-
tent, in the future.
The role of municipal governments in open
space planning continues to grow as more
citizens are becoming involved in issues Telat"
ingto the preservationofthe qualityoflife and
the environment within their municipalities.
The purchase of land needed for community
uses such as parks and playgrounds is a capital
improvement. Capital funds may be provided
in several different ways: 1) from current
revenues such as general taxes, fees or service
charges; 2) Reserve funds, which are accum-
ulated in advance for capital purposes; 3)
general obligation bonds, which are backed by
the taxing power of the jurisdiction for repay-
ment of capital and interest, or 4) revenue
bonds, for projects that produce revenues.
Municipal governments can also use the lease-
purchase method, in which a facility is built by
a private company or authority and then
leased to the municipality. State and federal
grants and loans are also available to finance
a number of programs including parks and
playgrounds. The cost of funding these
facilities may be borne completely by grant
funds or a local share may be required, as with
the NJ Green Acres Program. Green Acres
loan repayments do not fall within municipal
budgetary caps imposed by the legislature.
A conservation organization or land trust is
a non-profit tax exempt association whose
goal is to preserve open space. The type of
open space preserved depends on the pur-
pose of the organization. Some conservation
organizations obtain land for general recrea-
tion, while other organizations acquire land
which supports ecologically-fragile wildlife
Such organizations usually consist of a board
of directors, paid and/or volunteer staff, and
members. The size and operation of the or-
ganizations range from local to national in
scale. Land, as well as conservation ease-
ments, is acquired throughpurchaseor bydon-
ation or bequest. Money to finance an
organization's operating expense and land ac-
quisition are obtained through grants, mem-
bership dues, tax-deductible contributions, or
even the sale of land that has little or no
value. Some o;ganizations act as
temporary owners of open space until a
government agency or a single-site trust, a
locally-basedland holding organization, is able
to purchase and/or maintain the land. In this
case, the land is usually purchased at below
market value and then sold to the public agen-
cy at a slightly higher price to compensate the
organization for expenses incurred in the
Other conservation organizations, partic--
ularly those interested in preserving wildlife
habitats and unique natural features, retain
ownership and maintenance ofthe open space
lands. In addition to open space acquisition,
Morris County Open Space Element 110
some conservation organizations offer public
agencies and local interest groups technical
assistance and educational program.
OPEN SPACE: What It's Worth
Anassumption that manypeopleshareis that
developing land for any type of use will be
fmancially more beneficial than preservingthe
same land for open space. This is an erroneous
suppositionbecauseseveral factors contribute
to the cost benefits of open space preserva-
The long range outlook for purchasing open
space should consider more then just initial
cost. In most cases, the municipality will lose
revenues that would be contributing to the tax
base if the owner of the property were still
paying taxes. However, in some cases it may
be beneficial for a municipality to preserve
land rather than to allow it to be developed.
One formula proposes that a municipality will
profit from acquiring vacant lots rather than
having themdeveloped when the provision of
public services is greater than the tax lost by
municipal acquisition.
Ifland is preserved, it may provide an area or
neighborhood with pleasant open spaces,
which enhances an area, and property values
and their assessments may increase.
Summary and Recommendations
It is clear from the content of this report that
the process of obtaining and preserving open
space has been actively implemented within
Morris County and that efforts to acquire and
preserve additional open space have been ac-
tively pursued by all levels of government as
well as by the private sector. A detailed inven-
tory is presented concerning publicly-owned
open space in the county, and the acreages of
publicopenspace havebeen measured against
two sets of standards utilized by the state for
measuringthe purelyquantitative adequacyof
open space owned by each level of govern-
Morris County Open Space Element 111
Based on the population standards, which
compare open space to population, it was
found that the federal government presently
owns sufficient open space in Morris County,
but that there is a significant deficit in open
space owned by the state. This deficit, in state
lands, was estimated at 1,540 acres"in 1985 and
is projected to be 3,388 acres in the year 2000.
County-ownedopenspace, as determinedby
this method, appears to be more than ade-
quate through the year 2000; but it must be
emphasized that the open space to population
standards do not take into account lands that
may be "needed for environmental reasons.
The balanced land use method, on the other
hand, indicates that Morris Countyhas ashort-
fall of over 5,300 acres in county-owned open
Eighty percent of Morris County's mun-
icipalities currently meet or exceed the pop-
ulation-based standard for open space, the
overall total of municipal open space exceed-
ing the standard by more than 4,300 acres.
However, as of 1985, eight municipalities had
open space deficits which totaled 283 acres,
and this number will increase to 11 munici-
palities by the year 2000, with a total deficit of
362 acres, unless those municipalities acquire
additional ()pen space in the.meantime. Many
of the municipalities with deficits ·may not be
able to meet even the current needs of their
residents. For example, Dover had a 1985
open space deficit of 70 acres which is more
than one-third of its estimated 217 acres of
vacant land. For Victory Gardens, with only
about three acres ofvacant land, the eight acre
open space deficit probably cannot be met
within its borders. The other municipalities
having calculated deficits are listed in Chapter
Four, Table 4-4, page 146.
The second measure of sufficient open
space, the balanced land use standards, was
inconclusive with respect to federal, state and
municipal holdings in Morris County. This is
due to its inappropriateness for reaching con-
clusions concerning acreages of federal and
state lands within individual counties, and due
to the lack of measurements of environmen-
tally sensitive land that are needed to deter-
mine the needs for municipal open space. It
does, however, appear to be avalid method for
examining the adequacy of county-owned
open space, and indicates that the county has
a deficit of 5,326 acres.
Throughout this element, open space has
been viewed from two perspectives: first, as
land to be used for recreational purposes, and
second as land that serves environmental pur-
poses in the county. It should be made clear
that while this report concerns both perspec-
tives it is not intended to be a recreational
Morris County Open Space Element 112
facilities plan. Each level of government has
agencies that are responsible for determining
and providingfor the recreational needs ofthe
people they serve, and no attempt has been
. made in this report to relate the number of
baseball, football or soccer fields, i.e. active
recreational facilities, to citizen needs, present
or future.
Morris County is under constant and sub-
stantial growth pressure. Until recently, a
major portion ofits development has occurred
on land which had few environmental con-
straints; however, the remaining developable
vacant land, especially in the eastern and
central parts of the county, contains an ever-
straining characteristics. Future develop-
ments will further encroach upon the
remainingsensitive, critical and scenic areas of
the county. When added to negative environ-
mental impacts from existing development, it
may be expected that the potential damage to
the protective characteristics of the remaining
sensitive areas will exacerbate the problems of
flooding, erosion and sedimentation, water
quality and water supply that exist today.
Only 18 of 39 Morris County municipalities
have prepared a Natural Resources Inventory
(NRI), arid the county itself has not prepared
a county-wide NRI. Essentially an NRI would
categorize, locate, and tabulate the environ-
mental characteristics· and constraints of an
area which include, but are not limited to,
scenic vistas or areas, tree cover, stream cor-
ridors, wetlands, flood hazard areas, steep
slopes, rock outcroppings, and areas of poor
soils. These environmental constraints are
vital components in the planning process and
need to be considered when making projec-
tions and future land use policy recommenda-
tions, including those for open space. Open
space has too frequently been relegated to
being an afterthought in land use planning,
rather than as one of the basic land uses of a
communityon a par with residential, commer-
cial and industrial uses.
The locations and purposes of open space,
existing and proposed, should be included in
all re-evaluations of municipal master plans
and land uses ordinances. Also, the zoning of
publicly and privately owned land which is
currentlyservingas open space (such as water-
shed lands or private recreation areas) should
receive adequate attention so that the open
space character and protection being afforded
by the current use will continue, if such char-
acter and protection is deemed important,
should the land change ownership and
development be proposed.
A major feature of the 1972 "Qpen Space
Element" of the Morris County Master Plan
was the recommendation to expand the linear
park system. All major rivers and streams
were given a designation as "land with recrea-
tional potential". Patriots Path is an example
of utilizing open space to serve two purposes,
as it protects the natural environmental char-
acteristics of an area and provides a recrea-
tional facility. Since 1957, when it established
the goal of having linear parks, the county has
encouragedmunicipalities to plan the land use
of an inter-municipal corridor that needed at-
tention. Patriots Path is also a positive ex-
ample of county-municipal-private coopera-
tion, and higWights the fact that a strategy
should be planned to enable an expedient re-
sponse to development proposals wherever
they may affect an existing or proposed open
space tract.
Inherent in the planning process is the eval-
uation of existing plans to determine their
continuing viability based on changing condi-
tions. In that light, the previous "OPEN
SPACE ELEMENT' recommendations were
reviewed. Areas that were categorized in the
1972 Element as having "Recreational Poten-
tial" were re-evaluated by asking the following
questions regarding each proposal:
* Has development negated the viability of
the site?
Morris County Open Space Element 113
* Has the site been supported by the
municipal master plan and land use or-
* Has the site already been incorporated
into a municipal, county, state, or federal
open space system?
* Does the site continue to enhance the ex-
isting pattern of open space?
Figure 7-1 reflects the conclusions of this
review, with those proposed sites whIch passed
the above test being labeled as "Lands with
Open Space Potential". Several new sites
which were suggested by municipal officials in
their response to the Open Space Question-
naire, and met the above criteria are:
tract, off Woodland Road in Chatham
Township and extending into Madison, is ad-
jacent to the Loantaka Brook Reservation.
PIO COSTAlRACT: This 152 acre tract is
located in the southeast comer of Pequan-
nock Township.
tract is located along the northwest border
of Montville, the southwest border of Kin-
nelon and is also adjacent to the western
side of the Boonton Reservoir.
Based on the testimony received onthe
draft 1988 Open Space Element and the
criteria outlined above, the 415 acre former
Jersey City Watershed property, in northern
Denville has also been included as "Lands
with Open Space Potential." The site, how-
ever, is not delineated on Figure 7-1 since
the maps were printed prior to the public
hearing date.
There may also be other sites just as desirable
for being included in the "Lands with Open
Space Potential" category as those shown on
Figure 7-1, and the recommended completion
of natural resources inventories across the
countycould well result in the identificationof
such added locations. In any event, the com-
pletion of a county-wide set of NRI's should
constitute a major step toward the objectiveof
managing our growth so that preservation of
valued environmental features can be maxi-
mized. As described in chapter four, the Mor-
ris CountyPark Commission has begun a buff-
er area acquisition program. Such action was
necessitated by the adverse impacts of nearby
development on some of its facilities. As the
countycontinues to develop and urbanize, this
may be the onlyviable alternative in response
to these' impacts.. The determination of
methods for protecting open space facilities is
a step that should be implemented byall levels
of government, once the needs of its facilities
have been determined. Federal and state
facilities, which are regional in nature, must be
evaluated from an area-wide perspective. The
state "Outdoor Recreation Plan" indicates
that both the federal and state levels have a
significant deficit ofopenspacefacilities in the
urban areas of the state. In recognition of the
need for open space, expansion of existing
facilities and/or creation of new open space
facilities is encouraged. However, since the
analysis of this need goes beyond the county's
boundaries, it is beyond the scope of this
master plan element to make specific recom-
mendations for these facilities. In light of the
findings of this element, the Morris County
Planning Board makes the following recom-
mendations. While some are directed. to a
specific level ofgovernment, all are sufficient-
ly generic to be incorporated by those con-
cerned with the acquisition and protection of
one of our most important natural resources,
open space.

1. As a vital part of the information needed
for a municipality and for the county to deter-
mine whether additional open space is
needed, each of these entities should have a
natural resources inventory (NRI). If a muni-
cipality already has an NRI, it should ensure
that its information is accurate, complete, in-
tegrated, and reflects conditions as they now
exist. In those places where additional open
space is found to be needed, the NRI, by sup-
plying detailed environmental information
about each individual area, would help in
prioritizing future acquisitions. Regardless of
whether additional open space is found to be
desirable or not, the findings and conclusions
Morris County Open Space Element 114
derived from the NRI should be incorporated
into the master plan and land use ordinances
of the municipality, the county "Future Land
Use Plan" and the planning process of the
county park commission.
2. The acquisition of open space to provide
protection for essential municipal and county
needs such as water supply, flood control, and
stormwater management should be actively
pursued. The locations of local aquifers,
recharge areas, well fields, flood areas and
excessive slopes should be major considera-
tions in formulating open space acquisition
plans and revisions to land use plans, zoning
ordinances and other development regula-
tions. As a matter of policy, municipalities
should adopt stream protection measures and
develop programs for protecting steep slopes,
flood plains, wetlands and ground water
recharge areas.
3. Every municipality should have an en-
vironmental commission or committee. The
governing body should require that the com-
mission or committee be actively involved in
the reviewof subdivisions, site plans and large
public works projects.
4. In addition to considering its environmen-
tal needs, each municipality should also re-ex-
amine its recreational needs for open space
each time a master plan review is made. Is
theresufficient openspace to provide for each
kind of active outdoor re creation its residents
need? Are there sufficient passive recreation
areas? In the larger municipalities, are recrea-
tion areas sufficiently distributed geographi-
cally to effectively serve the needs of all the
residents? In those municipalities with poten-
tial for substantial residential growth, are fu-
ture needs being planned for into the next
century? Are changing demographics, and
therefore recreational interests, of the
municipality considered? These considera-
tions should be incorporated into the master
plan and also into the land use ordinances and
capital expenditure programs of the
municipality. The opening of school play-
grounds for public use outside ofschool hours
is another strategy, already used by a number
ofMorris Countycommunities, to increase the
availability of active recreation areas to resi-
dents of the municipality. The county also
should periodically re-examine its functions in
providingfor the needs ofits residents in terms
of recreational facilities.
5. Municipalities should recognize that in
many cases open space objectives can be real-
ized through regulations designed to protect
Morris County Open Space Element 115
environmentally sensitive ares or through in-
novative designs of proposed subdivisions or
site plans. Acquisition of development rights,
obtaining open space through the subdivision
and site plan review process, and obtaining
pedestrian and conservation easements
should all be considered as possible means for
obtaining the benefits of additional open
6. Privately-owned open space and even
publicly-owned open space not controlled by
the municipality (watershed lands for ex-
ample) can suddenly disappear from a
municipality's open space inventory if the
owner decides to sell the land or put it to some
other use. When such open space is con-
sidered to be an important part of a
community's open space plan, the community
should take whatever steps are available
toward assuring continuation of the open
space use.
7. It is recommended that the present efforts
toward developing linear parks, open to ped-
estrians and non-motorized vehicles, be con-
tinued and expanded. Patriot's Path, across
the south-central part ofthe county, is becom-
ing a model of how municipal-county-private
sector cooperation, acquisition, easements
and state funding can be utilized over time to
produce a viable trail system, even in very
urbanized areas. The Passaic River flood plain
and embankments, "Towpath Trail" along the
Rockaway and the rivers in southwestern
Morris County offer prime opportunities for
additional trails. Other locations also exist (see
"Lands with Open Space Potential" on Figure
8. Since both the state and federal
governments' responsibilities for providing
open space encompass considerations and
areas much larger than Morris County, no
specific recommendations are made in this
master plan for themother than the following:
If Farny State Park is considered to have· a
potential as part ofthe state parksystem, even
if only as a wildlife preserve, steps should be
taken to ensure that the state has a first right
of refusal to acquire the parcels between the
two existing Farney tracts if they come up for
sale or change of ownership. This might apply
to other adjacent properties as well, and to
undeveloped properties between or adjacent
to the Berkshire Valley Wildlife Management
area tracts. However, in order to make such a
procedure effective, the state department
responsible would need to have funds that it
could drawupon fairly quicklyif and when the
need arises.
9. Municipalities and the county should ex-
amine their existing and potential sites to see
if they are vulnerable to damage from
upstreamor adjacent land uses, and determine
what measures (development standards,
mitigation measures or acquisition) are need-
ed to prevent or minimize such damage. This
procedure should include examination for
possible damage from future development of
now-vacant land upstreamor adjacent to each
open space site. Proposed changes in zoning
of such vacant tributary lands must also be
considered in light of possible damaging im-
pacts on existing or future open space parcels.
10. The county and those municipalities
having need to purchase additional open
space should take advantage of all existing
feral and state funding programs and monitor
any changes in them.
Morris County Open Space Element 116
WHEREAS the Morris County Planning Board is charged with the responsibility
of adopting a master plan for the physical development of the County; and
WHEREAS an updated draft "Open Space Element" of the Morris County Master
Plan was approved by the Planning Board for printing and distribution for review
by municipalities on March 15, 1988; and .
WHEREAS a public hearing was held on the above draft on June 16, 1988, at
which several ad<li,tiono/ potential sites were recommended for inclusion; and
WHEREAS on October 6, 1988 the Morris County Planning Board approved the
draft "Open Space Element" as corrected and with the following changes:
1) Addition of the 415 acre former Jersey City Watershed
lands in Denville; and
2) Deletion of the proposed access parcel to a portion of
Lewis Morris Park in MendhamTownship;
NOWTHEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Morris County Planning
Board hereby formally adopts the 1988 "Open Space Element" as corrected and
amended on October 6, 1988 as a part of the Morris County Master Plan, with the
stipulation that in any case in which the "1988 Open Space" map is inconsistent
with the text of the "Open Space Element," the text shall govern.
I hereby certify that this is a true copy of a
Resolution unanimously approved by the Morris
County Planning Board at its regular meeting
held on January 3, 1991.
(j};,. .,/L JJ. hi IJ ..
Dudley H. Planning Director7 -
The County of Morris would like to express its appreciation to the following officials who were in office
when this Element was duly adopted:
Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders
George J. Szatkowski, Jr., Director
Frederick W. Knox, Jr.
PatricJ. Hyland
CarolJ. Murphy
Alex DeCroce
CarolJ. Rufener
Walter J. Luger
Morris County Planning Board
WilliamJ. Mathews, Chairman
Joyce Brown,
Melveme E. Cooke,
George E. Burke,
County Engineer
George J. Szatkowski, Jr.
Patrie J. Hyland
James Nelson
Barry Marell
Donald F. Roos

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