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Saving Land

Heart of the Highlands

Parts of Passaic and Morris Counties

The Heart of the Highlands project area includes parts of Passaic and Morris Counties and contains the best examples of intact northern hardwood forests within the New Jersey Highlands. The forests are home to many endangered, threatened and declining species.

Visitors to this unique area can expect a near wilderness experience unfound in other parts of the Highlands. New Jersey Conservation Foundation is working to halt forest fragmentation and enhance the outdoor experience for all by focusing our efforts on acquiring properties adjacent to preserved land. Recent preservation projects have included:

  • 958 acres in Kinnelon Borough to expand Silas Condict County Park
  • 177 acres in West Milford and Bloomingdale near NJCF’s Apshawa Preserve
  • 90 acres expanding Norvin Green State Forest
  • 40 acres of wooded property in West Milford

Apshawa Preserve

The Apshawa Preserve is a cooperative project of New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the County of Passaic. This 576-acre preserve offers a diversity of Highlands habitats, including mixed hardwood forest dominated by oak and sugar maple; the 40-acre Butler Reservoir, a scenic attration for hikers and birdwatchers; and the Apshawa Brook, which flows through the preserve to the Pequannock River.

Nearly seven miles of blazed trails traverse the Apshawa Preserve and are open for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, nature study and fishing.

The Apshawa Preserve is open from dawn to dusk for recreation and can be accessed from Macopin Road in West Milford. For a printable trail map (pdf), click here.

The New Jersey Highlands

The New Jersey Highlands are part of the great green sweep of the Appalachians that shadow the East Coast from Georgia to Maine. The Highlands region stretches from eastern Pennsylvania through New Jersey and New York to northwestern Connecticut, forming a vital linkage between the Berkshires and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Highlands form a greenbelt of forest and farmland around the New York metropolitan area and provide fresh air, natural areas and recreation opportunities for millions of residents of the greater New Jersey metropolitan area.

Over 1,300 square miles in the northwest part of the state noted for its scenic beauty and environmental significance, the Highlands stretch from Phillipsburg in the southwest to Ringwood in the northeast and lies within portions of seven counties (Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren), including 88 municipalities that are home for more than 750,000 people. The Highlands diverse natural communities are important statewide. With extensive forests, wetlands, rivers and streams, over 70 percent of the Highlands are environmentally sensitive while providing water supply for more than half of New Jersey’s families – over 5.2 million people.

To learn more about New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s preservation efforts in the Highlands, please contact Ingrid Vandegaer, Highlands Regional Manager, at or 1-888-LANDSAVE (1-888-526-3728). For information on our public policy initiatives in the Highlands, please contact Wilma Frey, Highlands Project Manager, at or 1-888-LANDSAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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New Jersey Conservation Foundation           Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931           908-234-1225 
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