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Pinelands Preservation Alliance

Pinelands Preservation Alliance
The mission of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) is to protect and preserve the resources of the New Jersey Pinelands. The Pinelands Preservation Alliance advocates for Pinelands preservation before government agencies like the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, and seeks to educate the public about the Pinelands and the threats facing its natural resources.

PPA's advocacy work is focused on four basic themes: Monitoring public agencies, especially the Pinelands Commission; protecting the water quality of the Pine Barrens ecosystem; protecting the water supply embedded in the aquifers underlying the Pinelands and sustaining both the human and the natural communities of this region; and improving habitat protection for the distinctive, rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal species of the Pinelands.

PPA works to involve citizens in this monitoring effort by notifying residents when they could get involved in issues affecting their area and through their broader Pinelands Watch network.

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For the last few years, the Pinelands Commission has struggled to respond to problems arising in certain Regional Growth Areas, especially in Atlantic County. Regional Growth Areas are the areas designated in the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan for growth, as opposed to conservation. Problems in these areas include poorly designed, sprawling development patterns, rapid growth of municipal expenses and taxes associated with accelerating development, and increasing pressure on heavily exploited aquifers for water supply. The Pinelands Commission recently reduced the number of housing units certain towns are required to provide for in their zoning, but approved revised master plans that provided no better community design measures. The Commission initiated the Pinelands Excellence program, in which two municipalities are working with outside consultants to create more creative master plans and design standards. While these steps are positive, they have not yet addressed the long-term questions facing the growth areas as a whole.

During the past year, PPA pressed the Pinelands Commission, DEP and local governments to convene a broadly based, long-range water supply planning effort for the Atlantic City metropolitan area. To date, state government has not taken any steps to begin such a planning process despite broad recognition of the need to do so.

PPA tracks, analyzes and submits comments on specific water allocation requests that affect the Pinelands. PPA, in partnership with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and American Littoral Society, submitted a proposal calling on the Governor to convene a working group of public and private agencies to plan for sustainable development, including particularly a sustainable use of ground water, in the Atlantic City metropolitan area. This area includes both Pinelands and non-Pinelands areas that share the same aquifers and the same economic engine in Atlantic City. While the Pinelands Commission and DEP staff has now recognized the need for long-term water supply planning in this area, they have taken no action so far to address this critical issue.

PPA publishes its newsletter, Inside the Pinelands, six times a year, and its action alerts, Pinelands Watch, also six times a year. PPA’s efforts foster regular press coverage of Pinelands issues, natural history and education programs.

PPA holds its annual Summer Institute for Teachers each year in July. The weeklong program provides a broad examination of the Pinelands designed for high school and middle school teachers, using both field experiences and classroom presentations and workshops. PPA is expanding its formal education programs with development of a new program, titled Barrens To Beaches, for high school teachers and their students. Barrens To Beaches is being designed as an integrated curriculum and field experience that studies the Pine Barrens and coastal estuary ecosystems and the measurable affects of human alteration of the land on the functioning of these systems. For more information on Barrens To Beaches, contact Carleton Montgomery at PPA.

Want to get involved with the PPA? Those who give the gift of their time, energy, and skills greatly enhance PPA's ability to be "efficient"—to do the thing right—and "effective"—to do the right thing. If you would like to get involved with Pinelands preservation while learning, having fun and meeting interesting people, they have many opportunities for you. Join their crew and represent PPA at festivals, lead walks, give talks, take action or help with mail campaigns. The PPA offers general training on Pinelands issues and the work of PPA as well as specific training for certain positions. They cannot do the many things they do without their volunteer crew and greatly appreciate all their volunteers’ support. Their volunteers make a difference and make the world a better place. Whatever your skills or interests, they can use them. To find specific volunteer opportunities visit their website and click on the link that says, “volunteer.”

If you would rather make a monetary donation, you can become a member and donate online.

Mark your calendars for these exciting PPA events. Coming soon is the Pinelands Discovery Festival! It is on Sunday October 2, 2005 at Whitesbog Village. Join PPA and many friends to explore and celebrate the Pinelands.

If you love cycling, the outdoors, and the PPA, consider joining the Tour de Pines! Join the (noncompetitive) Tour de Pines in October to explore the Pines by bicycle in the company of other like-minded souls. There is more information available on the PPA website.

Don’t miss the upcoming Pinelands Adventures. Explore the Pinelands with PPA's expert leaders. The October 2005 schedule is here! The schedule includes the following adventures: Jersey Devil Hunts, Canoeing Piney Rivers, Ghost Town Tour, Overnight Canoe & Camping, Fairy Shrimp Tour, Base Camp Overnight, Hiking the Pine Barrens, Backpacking the Batona Trail, Wilderness Survival - basic and advanced, and Navigating the Pinelands.

Their Pinelands Adventures program is designed to introduce you to the pleasures of the New Jersey Pinelands with their superb guide and naturalist Russell Juelg or with one of their expert guest leaders. You can read the descriptions of the adventures and decide which one you would like to participate in on their website. Call PPA at (609) 859-8860 to check space availability. Fill in their registration form and mail it to PPA with the appropriate amount. Please note the following: all programs require pre-registration, all programs are limited to a specific number of participants, all programs are conducted in wilderness settings, be prepared to spend time away from “modern conveniences,” and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! E-mail Russell for more information at Russell@pinelandsalliance.org.

For more information, visit the Pinelands Preservation Alliance at www.pinelandsalliance.org. Their mailing address is 17 Pemberton Road, Southampton, NJ 08088. You can reach them by phone at (609) 859-8860 or by fax at (609) 859-8804. You can also email them at ppa@pinelandsalliance.org.

For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.


Author: Margo Harvey

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