Ocean County (New Jersey) has amplified its commitment to land conservation by planning the acquisition of Cedar Creek Campground.
The property, conveniently located off Route 9 in Bayville, is poised to change hands for a sum of $5.9 million, drawing the curtain on its operation as a campground following this summer season.
This purchase will be made through the Natural Lands Trust, a fund built from a county-
wide open space tax, emphasizing the county’s earnest commitment to preserving local natural resources.
The county’s commissioners were initially presented with this decision at a work session, and the purchase is set to be given the green light at an official meeting this coming Wednesday.
This initiative is strongly supported by Berkeley Township officials, who expressed their approval earlier in the week, demonstrating local government consensus on the importance of conserving the area.
Cedar Creek Campground is a popular retreat for families, accommodating RVs for short stays.
It offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including camping, kayaking, and hiking. Additionally, the campground’s swimming pool has been a favorite amongst visitors, especially during the summer months. The appeal of this site is accentuated by its unique location, nestled between Barnegat Bay and the Pine Barrens.
For Ocean County, however, the significance of this acquisition lies not just in the rich recreational potential of the area but, importantly, its strategic location alongside the Barnegat Branch Trail. This trail, a preserved corridor following a historical train line, forms an integral part of the county’s conservation efforts.
County Administrator Michael J. Fiure stated that “As of right now, the main priority is that this will be consistent with our Natural Lands plan, which could allow some recreation. But really, the main thing is that we have the Barnegat Branch Trail that runs through here, and there are pieces next door that we just acquired on all sides. Everything will eventually flow together.”
Despite the rich potential for recreational development, the county officials have yet to disclose any plans to maintain the camp as an active recreational attraction.
This acquisition offers valuable insights for private campground owners or operators.
As urbanization continues to encroach on natural spaces, local governments like Ocean County are recognizing the importance of conservation and are willing to invest in preserving these spaces.
Private owners may find their properties increasingly attractive to government bodies looking to expand their conservation efforts, and this transaction with Ocean County could encourage other owners to consider similar opportunities. This trend, in turn, could lead to increased preservation of open spaces and a healthier balance between development and conservation.
Fiure confirmed that the decision to purchase was only made after the campground owner expressed interest in selling, highlighting that “It’s been completely discussed with the seller, they are on board, and they accepted our offer.”