State of New Jersey
Executive Order #82

Governor James J. Florio

WHEREAS, the 1.1 million acre Highlands region, stretching from the Delaware River to the Hudson River and encompassing lands of New York and New Jersey, is an area of significant natural beauty containing numerous cultural and historic sites and possessing substantial recreational opportunities; and

WHEREAS, federal, State, county and local governments in both New Jersey and New York own approximately 148,800 acres in this region, managing them as parks, preserves, water supply areas, historic sites and open space; and

WHEREAS, the State Development and Redevelopment Plan notes that the Highlands is one of but a few of the natural assets of the Garden State that translates into vast recreational and economic opportunity for today's and tomorrow's New Jerseyans; and

WHEREAS, land preservation efforts in the Highlands Region should link the parks, historic sites, wetlands, wildlife habitats, streams, rivers, reservoirs, watersheds, trails, scenic and natural lands and other protected areas unique to the region between the Delaware and Hudson Rivers for the

enjoyment of future generations; and

WHEREAS, greenways provide a means for forging this link by creating unbroken corridors of forests, streams, lakes, reservoirs, rivers and public trust lands which protect valuable wetlands, scenic and recreation areas and wildlife habitats, shape community development and enhance community pride and beauty; and

WHEREAS, in 1987, the President's Commission on American Outdoors called for a network of greenways across the United States to facilitate the preservation of natural resources for recreational and open space purposes; and

WHEREAS, The Governor's Council on New Jersey Outdoors recommended in its 1991 Annual Report that there should be federal and State assistance in establishing greenway projects; and

WHEREAS, both the Skylands Greenway Task Force and the U.S.[Forest Service Highlands Study recognized the continued threats of uncontrolled suburbanization and urbanization on the natural resources of the region and recommended protection and conservation of the region's important water and contiguous forest resources; and

WHEREAS, the Skylands Greenway Task Force recommends the creation of a Skylands Greenway Council and the U.S. Forest Service Highlands Regional Study recommends a continuing entity to implement conservation and preservation strategies; and

WHEREAS, the recent federal appropriation for the Highlands Region, under the Forest Legacy Program, requires public participation in conservation and preservation recommendations; and

WHEREAS, it is in the interest of New Jersey to create an Advisory Group, including public members, to coordinate land preservation and conservation efforts and provide advice and recommendations to the appropriate State and federal agencies

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES J. FLORIO, Governor of the State[of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER AND DIRECT:

1. The creation of a Highlands Trust Advisory Board (hereinafter referred to as the "Board") which shall be advisory to the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection and Energy. The responsibilities of the Board shall include, but not be limited to, providing recommendations on lands most suitable for preservation and conservation in the Highlands region. Preservation and conservation shall include natural and historic resources, as well as greenways, defined as a network of protected linkages of natural, cultural and recreational resources planned in such a way as to enhance the local economy. In making its recommendations, the Board should also examine ongoing efforts to identify and inventory natural habitat areas, greenway corridors, cultural resources, historic resources, scenic roads and landscapes. Additionally, recommendations should reflect comprehensive planning and coordination of land preservation and conservation efforts and most efficient use of resources of public and private agencies in the Highlands Region.

The Board should encourage consideration of the natural and recreational resources at the earliest stages of land use planning and promote cooperation between the community, and State and local reviewing agencies.

The Board should coordinate its activities and recommendations with due regard to the State's Forest Legacy Program.

The Board may examine and refine preservation strategies that were recommended in the Skylands Greenway Task Force Report and Highlands Regional Study and make appropriate recommendations.

2. The Board shall be constituted as follows:

a. The Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy, or the Commissioner's designee.

b. A representative from the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.

c. A representative from the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation.

d. One representative from each of the following private non-profit land holding conservation groups in the Highlands Region: The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Morris Parks and Land Conservancy, Hunterdon Heritage Conservancy, and New Jersey Audubon Society.

e. The Board shall invite representatives, one each from counties comprising the Highlands region, specifically, Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren, each to be chosen by the respective Board of Chosen Freeholders of counties which choose to participate in Advisory Board activities.

f. The Board may also invite the participation of the Commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and/or of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, or their designees, as well as representatives from New York's Orange and Rockland Counties, the United State Forest Service, National Park Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Soil Conservation Service and other interested groups.

3. The geographical boundaries of the region to be studied by the Board shall coincide with those boundaries identified in the U.S. Forest Service Highlands Regional Study. The New[Jersey boundaries include, in part or whole, 83 townships in Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren Counties.

4. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy is authorized and directed, to the extent not inconsistent with law, to cooperate with the Board and to furnish it with such information, personnel and assistance as necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order. The Board may also call upon other State agencies, including the State Planning Commission and Office of State Planning, to provide any information deemed necessary, including statistical and planning data.

5. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal, this
25th day of February in the Year of Our
Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred and
Ninety Three, and of the Independence
of the United States, the Two Hundred
and Seventeenth.

/s/ James J. Florio


/s/ M. Robert DeCotiis
Chief Counsel to the Governor