LACEY – The county will move to purchase an 8,000-acre tract often referred to as the site of the Forked River Mountains.
“This acquisition, recommended by the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee, is the largest tract and one of the most environmentally sensitive that we have purchased since the county’s open space program first began in 1997,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said. “By adding this to what we have already preserved, Ocean County will have saved almost 30,000 acres of open space and farmland under its Natural Lands program.”
The tract, nestled between Lacey and Ocean townships and surrounded by public lands, was valued at $15.45 million. It fronts Lacey Road in that township and is accessible from old sand roads in both townships. Ocean holds 1,602 acres and Lacey holds 6,258 acres.
The county will seek public funding partnerships with the Department of Defense and Green Acres.
The land will be purchased from John J. Brunetti of Old Bridge.
A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19 at the Ocean County Administration Building.