Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Is TLT certified by the National Land Trust Alliance?

No, we have not gone through the accreditation process because the application is time consuming when there are other projects to do. However, we are guided by the standards and practices required for accreditation. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission was established as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance in 2006. Following a two year pilot, 2008 was the first year Land Trusts were officially accredited by the commission. We may apply for accreditation in the future.


2. Who are TLT partners?

  • Raritan Headwaters Assoc – We have partnered on a number of acquisitions and stewardship projects with RHA.
  • Hunterdon Land Trust – We are in the 2nd year of a formal agreement with the HLT to perform stewardship work for us and we have discussed common acquisition priorities.
  • Highlands Council - We are a member organization of the NJ Highlands Coalition, which is a group of nonprofits who have a shared interest in protecting the highlands region of New Jersey. The Council is a NJ State Agency.
  • Green Acres – Most of our projects have involved coordination with NJ Green Acres.
  • NJ Audubon – NJ Audubon has been a partner on stewarding our fee properties, recommending grassland habitat, applying for grants and sharing equipment. They are not involved in acquiring land.


*We work with other NGOs as well – of special note: The NJ Invasive Species Strike Team and the NJ Conservation Foundation


Cultural resources other than natural resources - We have worked with the Tewksbury Trail Association and participated in the Tewksbury Harvest Festival to support the library. We have also worked with Boy Scouts on Eagle Projects and Girl Scouts on Gold Award Projects.


3. How are potential purchases identified?

We start by using GIS computer mapping and analysis tools to identify undeveloped parcels larger than 15 acres. The system targets contiguous undeveloped parcels in common ownership that cumulatively aggregate to greater than 15 acres as well. We have determined project areas where there is already some core preservation underway or that create key linkages of existing open space. Other factors like view shed, environmental sensitivity, and willingness of seller to offer a bargain sale or outright gift are also considered. Partner interest is an equally large driver as the lead or as a supporting funder. However, we do not identify purchases based on already functioning ecosystems, visual appeal for artists, water bodies for boats, or the possibility of bike paths.


4. What processes do you go through with your pre-assessments?

After it is determined that a property is of interest, the next step is to approach the landowner and secure an “Option to Purchase” from him or her. The option price is usually established through an informal “drive by” appraisal that helps determine how much we should and are willing to pay. This appraisal is also needed to secure Greenacres grants. Once an option agreement is signed, funding applications are started, partners are engaged, and certified appraisers are contracted. Everything generally follows the State requirements for acquiring public land. If private funding is part of the funding package, we would start planning that campaign as well. The town council is sometimes approached since it is a potential source of funding. As part of the purchase, a Level 1 inspection is performed to determine if there are any adverse chemicals or oils on the property. Process from start to finish takes roughly 2 years.


5. What percent (how many acres) of TLT land is accessible to the public?

All the properties TLT owns in fee are open to the general public. Fee properties are: Lance, Sullivan, Whitman, Christmas Tree Farm, Jeffrey, Sutton and Brady. There is a public access trail at Olsen but most of that property is held as an easement, which does not offer public access. TLT holds deeded rights on both Smith and Roskowski but these properties do not allow for public access.


6. Where does TLT funding come from?

Operating funds come from an annual appeal for private donations from friends and residents of Tewksbury Township as do special appeals for project specific needs. The majority of our funding has come from the Green Acres Program, Hunterdon County Open Space Program or Tewksbury Township Open Space Program. We have also received funds from the NJDEP Natural Resource Damage Program. Every November, we send an informational letter to Tewksbury residents encouraging them to help us preserve land. This effort usually generates twenty-five to thirty-five thousand dollars every year.


7. What are TLT stewardship objectives?

All our fee holding are managed for passive recreation and ecological restoration. It starts with managing the whitetail deer population and controlling invasive species and then promoting native regeneration and ecological diversity. Trail system development and maintenance is also included in our stewardship priorities.


8. Does TLT fund the purchase of development rights from landowners?

TLT does not typically play an active role in holding or funding the purchase of development rights from a private landowner. When there is potential for or interest from a landowner to preserve their farmland we would in most cases direct them to the County or State Ag Development Committee to buy from the landowner the rights to further subdivide or develop the property for something other than agriculture. Farmland preservation does not typically provide the right of public access.