Drew Forest Approved for $5 Million Preservation Grant

Drew Forest Approved for $5 Million Preservation Grant

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners tonight approved $5 million recommended by the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee to assist Madison Borough in acquiring and preserving a 51-acre forest section of Drew University known as Drew Forest.

The Madison application was the only Open Space application received and presented to the Commissioners by the Open Space Trust Fund Committee for 2023.

“On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, I want to say that our approval tonight of a $5 million Open Space grant for Drew Forest is the first and only significant commitment by anyone to preserve this property. The recommendation by the Open Space Trust Fund Committee was presented to our board after careful consideration and a review of all aspects of Madison’s application, including information developed through site inspections as well as written and in-person comments from the public,” said Commissioner Director John Krickus.

“The purpose of having the Open Space Trust Fund Committee review these applications has been to take these decisions out of the political process, which is why the recommendations are always presented to this board after election day. Over the past 30 years, our board has never interfered with that process, and we see no need to stray from that sound practice today,” he added.

The funding recommendation was presented by the 15-member Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee at the Commissioners’ Nov. 8 meeting.

Funding for Morris County open space acquisitions and preservation comes from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, which is generated by a special county tax. The funding source also is used for farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, trail development and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.

Since 1994, the Morris County Open Space Program has preserved more than 17,800 acres – which is larger than the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills – with approximately $295 million generated by the county preservation tax approved overwhelmingly by voters in November 1992.

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