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History of the Sourland Conservancy


Robert Garrett invited a group of residents to gather around a kitchen table and share their concerns about the growing threat of unsustainable development in the region. The Sourland Regional Citizens Planning Council was born.

The group recruited members who attended our hikes, talks, ice cream socials, participated on our behalf at community events, and read our “Back Roads” newsletter.


Published our first book, “The Sourland Legacy.”

Members testified before the State Planning Commission, (which planned to designate the Mountain as a “future suburbanizing area”), worked with local governments to update ordinances to protect the fragile aquifer, and spoke out at hearings in opposition to activities that harmed the environment – like a quarry dumping rock dust into a headwater stream.


Shortened our name to “Sourland Planning Council.”


T.J. Luce, a retired Princeton professor and Trustee, donated two years to research, write, collect the graphics, and getting a grant to print “New Jersey’s Sourland Mountain.”


Jennifer Bryson began negotiating with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for support in developing a Smart Growth Plan for the Mountain.


Our first annual summer music festival was held at Hillbilly Hall.


Hired our first employee, a part-time Executive Director. Each of our five townships officially declare the Sourlands a “Special Resource Area.”


Created and mailed to every address in the Sourlands,  a magazine-sized “Sourland Stewardship Guide” containing information about invasive species.


Our Comprehensive Management Plan was endorsed by each of the five townships, creating a blueprint for cooperative cross-municipality management of this fragile and irreplaceable resource.

Sourland Conservancy began restoration work on the Mt. Zion AME Church on Hollow Road in Skillman.


First “Sourland Spectacular” gathered hundreds of cycling enthusiasts to ride designated routes in the region. 


Changed our name again – to Sourland Conservancy – to reflect the fact that we are not a governmental body, and we are devoted to goals far beyond planning.  



Sourland teens

Our staff and volunteers continue to advocate for the remarkable Sourland Mountain.  Please join us!