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State officials seeking ideas for repurposing of Rockport Game Farm in Mansfield Twp.

MANSFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (Warren County) – The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is looking for ideas from individuals and organizations that may be interested in making use of the former Rockport Game Farm in Mansfield Township.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife has issued a request for expressions of interest for projects that are compatible with the rural environment of this part of the state. The goal is to eventually bid out the site for agricultural purposes to a bidder that can improve and utilize the site while providing lease revenue to the DEP.

“Located amid picturesque rolling hills and farmland, the Rockport Game Farm is a wonderful property that could be reutilized for a number of purposes such as a farm, to raise poultry, a tree nursery, or even a vineyard,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty. “We are very eager to gather ideas on how this property can remain in active, productive use that is compatible with its rural surroundings.”

The Division of Fish and Wildlife last year closed the facility, which reared pheasants to increase hunting opportunities across the state, due to the cost of complying with recent changes to U.S. Department of Agriculture avian influenza control requirements.

The 160-acre facility, situated within the 1,380-acre Rockport Wildlife Management Area and just minutes from Hackettstown, had been in operation since the early 1900s. Pheasants reared at the facility were famed as Rockport Rockets.

Working in partnership, the New Jersey Fish and Game Council and the Division of Fish and Wildlife have expanded the purchase of pheasants to ensure full annual stockings across the state so that the closing of the game farm is having no impact on pheasant-hunting opportunities.

The game farm consists of a number of structures, including a barn, a garage, rearing pens and houses, a pole barn, and brooder and incubator building.

Diverse uses are welcome provided they cause no detrimental environmental impacts. Those interested should note that the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on land owned by the Division of Fish and Wildlife but that the rule may be relaxed if a bidder can show the potential for significant revenue.

The Rockport Game Farm will be available for inspection on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Potential responders who would like to inspect the property should notify the Division of Fish and Wildlife by calling (609) 292-6685 prior to Jan. 29. The Department reserves the right to cancel the inspection.

For details visit njfishandwildlife.com/news/2019/rockport_rfei.htm.

Expressions of interest are to be submitted in writing no later than 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26. They are to be mailed to: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Attention: Carole Stanko Mail Code: 501-03 PO Box 420 Trenton, NJ 08625-0420.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook

(Photo: Rockport Game Farm/Courtesy NJDEP)