News Department

Warren County farm slated for development now preserved

FRELINGHUYSEN TOWNSHIP, NJ (Warren County) – Residents of beautiful, agricultural Frelinghuysen Township in Warren County can rest a little easier knowing that Murlan Farm has been preserved in perpetuity.

Many years ago these 224 acres on Kerrs Corner Road were on track to become a residential subdivision, but a Township resident stepped up to protect it. Now it has been permanently preserved with the assistance of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.

This story has played out over two decades. In 2003, Murlan Farm was almost purchased by a real estate developer, until Frelinghuysen’s mayor convinced local landowner Rick Murphy to buy it instead. Murphy held on to the farm and prevented it from being developed, but that wasn’t a permanent solution.

In 2015, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey applied for and was awarded cost-share grants from the New Jersey State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) and Warren County. The project took a lot of time and met many obstacles, but TLCNJ was finally able to secure a farmland preservation easement that officially closed in March 2021.

Rick Murphy is pleased with the outcome. “This is a beautiful, rural area and very worthy of preservation. I am relieved to know that while the farm may be sold, it will never be developed. Some properties should never be developed. It is important to honor our history, our culture and our unique landscapes. I am very happy to have been a part of preserving this special place.”

Mayor Chris Stracco expressed Frelinghhuysen’s support of the project: “Frelinghuysen Township is very pleased that the 224 acres of the Murlan Farm on Kerrs Corner Road has been  preserved. It is delighted that Rick Murphy, the owner of the farm, proactively addressed the preservation of this incredible virgin farmland which will remain in agriculture for years to come.”

Thanks to the State Agriculture Development Committee, Warren County, and others, this old farm will remain productive and retain its natural beauty, permanently. The Land Conservancy is grateful to all the help received along the way, especially from the Warren County Agriculture Development Board and its knowledgeable staff, who helped in getting this one over the finish line.

Lori Ciesla, County Commissioner and liaison to the agricultural board, said the county is pleased with the outcome as well. “The County Commissioners are committed to preserving farmland throughout our community and happy to see this land permanently protected against development. We thank Mr. Murphy, the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, Frelinghuysen Township, and the State for supporting this important project.”

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is a member-supported, non-profit, accredited land trust dedicated to preserving and protecting natural land and water resources throughout the State. Originally founded as an all volunteer group in 1981, the organization has worked with 100 municipalities in 13 counties and continues to be recognized for meeting the highest standards for protecting open space, upholding the public trust, and ensuring that their conservation efforts are permanent.

For more information about the work of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, visit their website or call 973-541-1010.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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