On a sunny Saturday morning in early March, more than 70 people joined the Hunterdon Land Trust for a hike at Horseshoe Bend Park in Kingwood Township.
East Amwell Township is a rural haven tucked away in the southeast corner of Hunterdon County. The township has worked for many years to make East Amwell a place where farming comes first. That commitment has paid off, and the township is home to many preserved farms, including a 61 acre farm on Wertsville Road recently preserved by the township with the help of the Hunterdon Land Trust.
Lately I’ve been educating myself on the open space around Lambertville. A major reason that I moved to Lambertville was to get away from the ever- growing traffic and population in the suburbs. If someone had asked me “Do you enjoy the open space around here?” Up until recently I would have said: “I don’t know.” That answer, like my youthful one, was out of ignorance. The concept of open space wasn’t one I was familiar with. As much as I appreciated seeing them, the farms, the woods and fields were just there. For someone who has led rides with titles like “More animals than cars”, you would think that the preserved land in this area would be something I knew about. The area is beautiful. There are scenic vistas, open fields, and forests. More open space means less traffic, less traffic means more enjoyable cycling. It took a while for me to find out that open space organizations are working to make sure this area retains its beauty and rural character. I’m not sure that ignorance is bliss but I am sure that knowledge provides the ability to appreciate our blessings and act wisely. I have never heard a cyclist say: “If only there was more traffic where we cycle!” More open space creates better cycling. I’ve cycled in France, Italy, the Berkshires and Oregon the last few years. Each time I came home, I realized our area is just as beautiful. We can help keep it this way. There are problems in the world that don’t impact most of us directly and there are problems that affect us. We don’t always know what we can do to solve some difficult problems like a broken tax system and climate change. There are other problems we have to solve, like paying the bills. Keeping our area beautiful, for our selves and our children, is a problem with a ready solution, much like taking care of our health and the health of our families. With some action and forethought, we can all contribute to preserving open space. There are local open space organizations whose staff and volunteers steward the open space and keep our area beautiful. This work benefits everyone, but it’s mostly invisible to us. When open space gets developed we notice. Developed land tends to stay developed. There is a natural alignment between open space and the enjoyment of cycling. Giving your support to the local open space organizations is a great way to make sure we keep the area beautiful. Support your local open space organizations. It’s a great way to make sure you continue to live in a place where you want to keep pedaling. See you on the road!
Organizations like the Hunterdon Land Trust are built of relationships similar to the connections between living things in the natural world.
Together, we can create a community with abundant clean water and fresh air, where healthy food is grown at local farms and everyone can enjoy open spaces and beautiful landscapes. For me, it’s a commitment I gladly undertake – to protect the places I love for the people I love.
Shopping at a local farmers’ market means you are helping ensure that farms and farming families remain in your community, and you are creating a healthy and secure food future for the Garden State.
There is a saying that we protect what we love and we love what we know. Those of us concerned for the future of New Jersey’s unique and special landscapes should share the places we know and love with the people we know and love.
Bob Jones, the owner of Clinton area Winnewald Day Camp, has donated a conservation easement on his property to the Hunterdon Land Trust. The donation ensures that the land that decades of campers, counselors and parents have grown to love will be protected for generations to come. The 2011 season will mark the camp’s 60th year.