Byram closes second deal on open space

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    BYRAM-It may be just what residents had in mind when they endorsed an open-space tax that would provide for the purchase of picturesque property like the 49-acres of rocky slopes, meadows and wetlands that plant and animal species including the pileated woodpecker and lady slipper orchid still call home. The property that overlooks Cranberry Lake is, in fact, now the second purchase of land in Byram's six-year open-space fund program. The township teamed with a local non-profit conservation group to close the deal on the property, which is located east of Cranberry Lake and off Tamarack Road, from Brian and Lynn Beckmann for $288,000. The Beckmann family has owned the land for many years and subdivided 11/2 acres to maintain their residence while selling the remaining property to the township for preservation. Byram's purchase was funded by a county grant for $95,000; a $72,000 contribution from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation; a matching $72,000 state Green Acres planning incentive grant; and $49,000 from the township's open space trust fund. Conservation officials said the land will be used for passive recreation and may include a trail that loops to face the rock cliff. Earl Riley, a township councilman and land preservation director with the Morris Land Conservancy, said a bench may also be placed to provide visitors with a scenic overlook. Byram purchased its first open-space property in February when the township closed on the 44-acre wetlands and forested Arnell property through another state Green Acres and township matching gifts. The township is considering the purchase of a third open-space parcel in the near future near Lake Mohawk. Since 1999 when the open-space program was created, the township has also assisted in the purchase of 167 acres, which included four parcels persevered by the Department of Environmental Protection as additions to Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Sussex County.