The Division of Conservation and Open Space Stewardship within the Office of Parks and Recreation is responsible for the maintenance and improvement of the 32 conservation areas and preserves which encompass over 7,500 acres.
Responsibilities, projects, and programs include:
•Open Space Acquisition and Preservation: To identify and acquire environmentally sensitive acreage to help maintain a healthy balance between open space preservation and continued land development
•Open Space Recreation Grants: To provide funding through the Middlesex County Open Space Recreation and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund for recreational facilities grants submitted by municipalities to fulfill recreation needs of a community.
◦Middlesex County Conservation Corps
◦Deer Management Program
◦Trail Building and Management
- Approximately 30 miles of marked and maintained natural surface trails
◦Farmer Agreements for Open Space Properties - Five (5) farmers on approximately 314 acres
◦Habitat Management - Prescribed burning agreement with the NJ Forest Fire Service, invasive species monitoring and removal, native plant restoration, and habitat enhancements to benefit native wildlife.
◦Green Acres - Compliance Inspections by Green Acres and Parkland Diversions/Disposal Process
Maintaining a balance between open space and development has long been a priority in Middlesex County. The Open Space Trust Fund is supported by a special tax levy of three cents per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation, which was overwhelmingly supported by Middlesex County voters in both 1995 and 2001. The levy pays the debt service on revenue bonds issued by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, which finance the acquisition of various parcels of land to ensure that many of the County’s undeveloped areas remain untouched forever. To date, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders have saved more than 7,500 acres from development since the program began in 1997. The County continues to enter into joint-purchasing agreements with the state and local municipalities to purchase lands. Joint purchases allow the leveraging of the open space funs at the municipal, County, and state levels so that these funds can be used in the most efficient manner.
Open Space and Recreation Public Advisory Committee
Minutes of Open Space Advisory Committee Meeting - May 25, 2018Minutes of Open Space Advisory Committee Meeting - January 12, 2017
29. Deep Run Preserve - Old Bridge
Deep Run Preserve protects 905 acres of environmentally sensitive pinelands and wetlands in Old Bridge Township.; Locally rare plants and nesting bald eagles inhabit lands that are drained by the Deep Run and flow into tidal sections of the South River.
30. Matchaponix Forest - Monroe Township
The County acquired the 100-acre Matchaponix Forest property in 2008. It was zoned for residential use. The area consists of upland areas covered with pine, beech and oaks. A series of wetlands and streams drain the property, and flow into the nearby Matchaponix Brook—a tributary of the Manalapan Brook. In the Lenape language, matchaponix means ‘land of poor bread’.32. Story Farm - Monroe Township
The 107-acre Story Farm was purchased by the County in 2017. The property is a mix of farm fields and wooded areas and played a significant role in the Battle of Monmouth and the Revolutionary War. This site is currently undeveloped. Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve - Edison and South Plainfield
Middlesex County has preserved more than 120 acres in the environmentally sensitive Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve, protecting wetlands and wildlife.
Helping to Protect our Native Pollinators!
Visitors to Davidson's Mill Pond Park may observe odd structures in the fields and meadows. In July 2015, as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project, Patrick Fitzgerald built and installed a series of Pollinator Boxes and Pollinator Hotels to benefit native plants and their pollinating insects - which are in decline. Visit the Davidson's Mill Pond Page for more information on these Pollinator Boxes!
Return to Map of Middlesex County Park System