Over six years ago, the effort to preserve Maple Ridge began. The Friends of Maple Ridge are now very gratified to report to the many supporters and contributors who have worked with us to save this beautiful and ecologically important place that we are very close to the creation of a park at Maple Ridge. The preservation of public lands is a careful and deliberate process, and that process with Maple Ridge has taken time. Over the past several months, progress has quietly but steadily been made and the new park at Maple Ridge is now in sight. The State of New Jersey is committed to acquiring Maple Ridge as a State Nature Preserve- the first of its kind in New Jersey- as part of our State Parks system. Gloucester County and Mantua Township are equally committed to doing their parts in the maintenance and management of the new Nature Preserve. We expect Maple Ridge to go under contract for purchase by the state in the very near future with settlement following in the spring.
With the creation of the State Nature Preserve, the Friends of Maple Ridge have done what we set out to do. We are now taking up a new mission- to become a permanent Friends organization for the new State Nature Preserve and to provide a means and opportunity for all of us to work together with park officials for the benefit and improvement of the new park. We will be formally announcing the details of the new Friends organization at the appropriate time a little later this year.
It has been said that every place that has been saved, every parcel of land that has been preserved, has a story behind it. The story behind Maple Ridge is a remarkable one and you have all helped write it. With your contributions, fundraisers, lawn signs, donation cans and a spirit of never quitting, never giving up, you made the new park possible. Now government working together on the state, county and local levels is making the new park a reality. We thank everyone who has supported and contributed to this effort and we look forward to a great new State Nature Preserve for all to enjoy for many years to come.