In the final week of 2012, Somerset County completed the acquisition of more than 250 acres from Carrier Clinic Inc. in the southern part of the county.
The Carrier property acquired by the county consists of 256.5 acres of wooded and agricultural land located at the base of the Sourland Mountain in Hillsborough and Montgomery townships along East Mountain Road and County Route 601.
“This acquisition is a great addition to the county’s growing Sourland Mountain Preserve,” said Freeholder Director Peter S. Palmer. “The county’s commitment to preserving the Sourland Mountain has made it the largest park area in the county’s park system.”
“The preservation of the Carrier Clinic property continues the county’s goal of preserving the environmentally significant Sourland region,” said Freeholder Mark Caliguire, liaison to the county’s Open Space Advisory Committee. “In addition to helping to protect the region, the acquisition of this property will maintain the unobstructed views across the open fields to the Sourland Mountain."
“Through the sale of Carrier Clinic acreage to Somerset County for open space, Carrier has been able to continue the legacy of the surrounding grounds remaining a place of serenity and relaxation,” said Carrier Clinic Chief Financial Officer Randy Jacobson. “Additionally, the proceeds will enable Carrier Clinic to continue its 103-year mission in serving the behavioral health needs of thousands of residents within our Somerset community and beyond.”
A 2,500-foot section of a Pike Run tributary traverses the northern boundary of the property, providing water to the Delaware & Raritan Canal. The acquisition represents a substantial expansion of the Sourland Mountain Preserve, which provides both critical habitat and watershed protection to the Sourland Mountain region.
The acreage of the Carrier property will increase the total area of the Sourland Mountain Preserve to just over 5,450 acres. The property will be limited to passive recreational uses such as trails and bird watching.
The Carrier property made up the bulk of the 302 acres added to the county’s open space holdings in 2012. Total parkland as of the end of the year was 13,302 acres.