Tall Pines State Preserve - South Jersey Land & Water Trust
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In November, 2015, after an eight-year endeavor, the South Jersey Land & Water Trust was proud to announce the official preservation of Tall Pines State Preserve, formerly Maple Ridge Golf Course.

This 111-acre parcel of land that straddles Mantua and Deptford Townships had been approved for building more than 100 housing units before its preservation. Thankfully, through the efforts from groups like SJLWT, the Friends of Maple Ridge, Gloucester County Nature Club, NJ Green Acres program, Mantua Township, the Gloucester County Board of Freeholders and Gloucester County Office of Land Preservation, the property was preserved.

The preservation of this land created the first state park in Gloucester County and New Jersey’s 40th state park.

Maintenance of the park will be conducted by Mantua Township, and regular monthly litter cleanups and periodic workdays will be conducted by the South Jersey Land & Water Trust and the Friends of Tall Pines.

The property held its official Dedication Ceremony and unveiled the new sign on June 20, 2016; watch the video here.

This 111-acre parcel of land that straddles Mantua and Deptford Townships in Gloucester County was originally forested woodlands, then an asparagus field before it became a golf course named Tall Pines in the early 1950s. The course became the first in the world to offer “nighttime golf” on an illuminated course. Tall Pines was purchased by former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski in 1984 and renamed “Ron Jaworski’s Eagles’ Nest.” The parcel eventually became Maple Ridge Golf Course, then purchased by a development company in 2006, which obtained preliminary approvals to build 123 housing units on the property.

The golf course was allowed to lie fallow, which created a wonderful meadow habitat for songbirds, migratory birds, bald eagles, and other wildlife. This untouched habitat area is especially important in this area of New Jersey, which is typically heavily developed. SJLWT and other groups recognized the importance of preserving this land, which led to the preservation efforts beginning in full force in 2008. The Friends of Maple Ridge (now Friends of Tall Pines) was formed to raise money, advocate on behalf of the property, and spread the word about the preservation project. This group sold “Save Maple Ridge” T-shirts at festivals and Community Days, posted yard signs all over Mantua, Deptford and Wenonah, and helped raise over $140,000 to preserve the land.

The property was officially preserved in November, 2015, and the Dedication Ceremony was held on June 20, 2016; watch the video here.

The official Dedication Ceremony for Tall Pines State Preserve was held on June 20, 2016. Watch the video here, and read the press coverage from NJ.com here, from the Courier Post here, and from Only In Your State here.

 

The April, 2016 issue of Natural Awakenings South Jersey magazine featured an article that highlights the history of Tall Pines State Preserve. Check out the article here.

 

For its involvement in preserving Tall Pines, the Gloucester County Board of Chose Freeholders and Office of Land Preservation were honored at the South Jersey Land & Water Trust Annual Dinner in March, 2016. Read the article here.

 

Watch a video from a March, 2016 cleanup at Tall Pines here.

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