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Montgomery Friends of Open Space Set Up an Online Petition to Preserve 392 Acres

By Barbara A. Preston | August 18, 2022

About 426 people have signed an online petition as of August 18 to preserve 392 acres of farmland in Montgomery Township. New Jersey’s Department of Corrections owns the properties, located around Montgomery High School, Skillman Park, and Skillman Dairy Farm.

The old NJ Department of Corrections Dairy Farm on Burnt Hill Road. The Somerset County Parks Commission has permission to use the property for park maintenance projects.

“This land is a hub that connects much of Montgomery Township’s existing open space, and would provide critical pathway linkages, connecting neighborhoods to Bessie Grover Park, the Otto Kauffman Center, our schools, municipal building, and beyond,” according to the Montgomery Friends of Open Space petition at “This land is a monument to Montgomery Township’s heritage of farming and mental health care.”

The Friends argue that acquiring the property would have many advantages to the community, such as:

  • Empowering Montgomery Township officials to manage these lands as open space, conduct ecological restoration, and protect the Rock Brook stream corridor.

  • Removing barriers to free public access and promote overall public health in green spaces

  • Link Montgomery’s existing parks with pathways & trails which follow the natural contours of the land.

  • Avoid unwanted development by protecting it as part of Montgomery’s Open Space Master Plan.

  • Using and restoring farm buildings that could be saved for community arts programs.

  • Promoting good stewardship with community volunteers of all ages and township staff.

The Friends plan to present the petition to local, county, and state elected officials in order to show them “how critical it is to our community that Montgomery Township acquire all of this land from the state.”

The friends implore Montgomery residents to “lend your voice to let our representatives emphasize the importance of this to Montgomery residents.”

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Signers who support the purchase of the land include Lisa Carrier of Skillman who writes, “I want this developing to stop. Fix the run down buildings on 518 for community use, and stop building on our green space.” Raymond Croot of Hillsborough says, “Open space is rapidly disappearing and we must protect what is left.” Betty Modrzejewski of Montgomery Township writes, “I care about nature and want to sustain their natural home. SAY NO TO DEVELOPERS !!!”

Montgomery Friends of Open Space (MFOS) is a nonprofit all volunteer organization formed in March 2002. Its main goal is to preserve remaining open land in Montgomery Township, to act as stewards for the properties already preserved, and to run a farmers’ market to support local agriculture. Montgomery Township’s population has more than doubled in the past 20 years.

The Friends are working hard to protect the remaining open land, and hope to achieve a better balance between growth and preservation.

Make a donation or volunteer to help by visiting


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