RARITAN TWP. – A greenway of preserved open space and farmland along the picturesque Wickecheoke Creek in Hunterdon County just got bigger.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation and its partners preserved 18 acres of woodlands and farm fields off Rake Road here, at the headwaters of the Wickecheoke Creek.

New Jersey Conservation purchased the land from Ellen and Mark Hollenback for $171,325, using funds from the state Green Acres Program, Hunterdon County, Raritan Township and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority.

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“It pleases me to know that the land is being preserved for all time,” said Ellen Hollenback. “My husband and I are both environmentalists, and this just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Permanently preserving the land helps protect water quality and wildlife habitat.

Ellen Hollenback said she and her husband have spotted a wide variety of wildlife on the property, including bobcats, foxes, coyotes, mink, fisher cats and possums.

The property is open to the public for passive recreation, including hiking and nature observation on existing trails.

“The Hollenback property links other preserved properties along the Wickecheoke Creek,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “We’re very grateful to the Hollenbacks and all the funding partners who made this acquisition possible.”

“Raritan Township has been and will continue to preserve land for the right reasons,” said Mayor Jeff Kuhl. “It is wonderful that we can do this with partners.”

The Wickecheoke Creek Preserve is an ever-expanding patchwork of nearly 3,800 acres of preserved open space and farmland along the Delaware River tributary. It provides important wildlife habitat, and the creek flows directly into the Delaware & Raritan Canal, a source of clean drinking water for over a million New Jersey residents.