Great Piece Meadow contains natural features of biological and recreational value, and economic value for its water resources and flood water storage capacity.
The Great Piece Meadow Preserve is open to the general public. It is used for passive recreational use such as hiking, biking, bird watching, nature observation and study, wildlife photography, and/or passive, non-consumptive recreational uses.
It is closed to motorized vehicles, motorbikes, ATVs, motorboats, off-road vehicles and all-terrain vehicles.
Most of the Preserve is closed to hunting, trapping, fishing, driving and baiting of wildlife, and shooting, using, or traversing the property with gun or bow - while limited areas of the Preserve are open for hunting. More details regarding this issue follow:
Management Agreement between Wildlife Preserves and the State
Wildlife Preserves sold most of its land in Great Piece Meadows to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (2006, 2007, and 2010); it was assigned to New Jersey Natural Lands Trust. The land was sold with a Conservation Covenant that protects it as a wildlife sanctuary in perpetuity. It was also stipulated in the sales contracts that all the State land in Great Piece Meadows, including any additional lands acquired under the Passaic River Preservation of Natural Flood Storage Areas Project shall be managed as a wildlife sanctuary. (The contract clause survives the closing.)
As a result of the contract and covenant, Wildlife Preserves and New Jersey Natural Lands Trust entered into a "Management and Use Agreement for Great Piece Meadows" and agreed to work together to co-manage some 1,300 + acres at the Great Piece Meadow Preserve as a nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary for the protection of its natural, biological, and wildlife resources. Wildlife Preserves was granted authority to post, patrol, and enforce restrictions at the Great Piece Meadow Preserve.
Management Agreement between
Wildlife Preserves, the Township and the Fairfield Hunting Club
Wildlife Preserves entered into the "Great Piece Meadows Wildlife Management Agreement" with the Township of Fairfield and the Fairfield Conservation and Sportsman's Association to divides Great Piece Meadows into a Wildlife Management (hunting) Zone and a Wildlife Sanctuary (no hunting) Zone. Since the initial Great Piece Meadows Wildlife Management Agreement, all parties have agreed to extend the Agreement annually.
The Wildlife Management Agreement became necessary because the pattern of land ownership in Great Piece Meadows creates a "checker board" of lots open to hunting and lots closed to hunting during the hunting seasons.
Before the Wildlife Management Agreement, Great Piece Meadows was extremely difficult to manage because there were conflicting uses with State land open to the public and closed to hunting and Township land closed to the general public and open to hunting.
So the Township and Wildlife Preserves adopted an agreement to manage Great Piece Meadows, regardless of ownership, as two consolidated areas- a "wildlife management zone" and a "wildlife sanctuary zone." A Wildlife Management Map was created dividing the meadows into the two zones. Agreements were executed with Wildlife, the Township, and the Fairfield Conservation and Sportsman's Association.
Wildlife agreed to refrain from posting against and enforcing hunting prohibitions on State land located within the delineated wildlife management area - and the Township and Association agreed to prohibit hunting and authorize Wildlife Preserves to enforce laws and restrictions against hunting and hunting activities on Township and Association land located within the delineated wildlife sanctuary zones at Piece Meadows.
State, Township, and Wildlife land in Little Piece Meadows - south and east of Route 80 and south of Horseneck Road are closed to hunting.
State land in Lincoln Park and Montville between, Peace Valley Road, Pine Brook Road, and Two Bridges Road are closed to hunting.
The public is encouraged to report all illegal hunting activity on State land in Great Piece and Little Piece Meadows. Telephone numbers are listed on the posters and land managers can be contacted at: info@WildlifePreserves.org orNatLands@dep.state.nj.us.
Great Piece Meadows (Fairfield Twp) Wildlife Management Map
The Wildlife Management Map is hand-drawn on a Fairfield Township Tax Map. The zone boundaries on the Management Map are approved by the Township of Fairfield, the Fairfield Conservation and Sportsman's Association and Wildlife Preserves and signed by the former Mayor, President of the Association, and the Land Manager of Wildlife Preserves.
In Fairfield Township, the land at the gate at Park Road is a Wildlife Sanctuary Zone (no hunting area). The Management Zones are posted at boundary lines and where they cross the Ditch Road.
There is a quarter mile stretch of land along both sides of the Ditch Road where the Management (hunting) Zone extends from the highway to the river. There is also a stretch of land where the Management (hunting) Zone is northwest of the Ditch Road and the Sanctuary Zone southeast of the Ditch Road. The northern boundary of the Management Zone is at the Passaic River and the old access road to the river. All zones are clearly posted.
As illustrated in the Map, most of the land north of Route 80 and south of the Ditch Road is closed to hunting. All of the land south of Route 80 is closed to hunting. The land in and around the leaf dump is closed to hunting except for two lots (3.6 acres) of private property where the cell tower is located and two lots (5.8 acres) at the old, overgrown access road from Route 80 to the river.
All State and Township land in Little Piece Meadows south of Horeseneck Road and south of Route 80 in Fairfield Township is closed to hunting.
All State land in Lincoln Park and Montville is also closed to hunting.
Wildlife Management Map
Great Piece Meadows Restrictive Covenant
This conservation covenant is recorded with the deed to 472 acres of land sold by Wildlife Preserves to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (New Jersey Natural Lands Trust).
Restrictive covenant recorded with the deed
In the interest of the public and wildlife, title to the lands under this Deed (the "Lands") is conveyed with all hunting, fishing, timber, and building rights reserved to Grantor, except as provided below, subject to the following conditions and restrictions:
- The Lands shall be administered as a flood storage area, in a natural state and as a wildlife sanctuary, for the conservation and protection of plants and animals, and their habitats;
- The Lands shall be closed to hunting, fishing, trapping, poisoning, baiting, driving, injuring, harvesting, or killing of plants or animals, or any other activity aimed at the destruction of wildlife on the Lands;
- The Lands shall be closed to shooting, using, or traversing the Lands with gun or bow, or traps;
- The Lands shall be closed to motor vehicles, including, but not limited to off-trail vehicles, motorbikes, motorboats, and snowmobiles;
- Consistent with the above restrictions, the Lands shall remain free of any development, except that walking trails for nature study and limited non-intrusive facilities appropriate for natural areas for wildlife observation may be constructed on the Lands; provided, however, that any development on the Lands is designed to minimize the disturbance of wildlife; and
- The Lands shall be conspicuously posted as a "wildlife sanctuary and nature preserve" specifically indicating the prohibition of hunting, trapping, fishing, driving or baiting of wildlife, disturbing, injuring, harvesting, or killing of plants and animals, using or traversing the Property with gun or bow, and/or using motor vehicles or motorboats upon the Lands.
- Management Plan:
- Grantee, its successor, and/or assigns (hereafter Grantee) shall adopt a Management Plan for the management and protection of the Lands consistent with the restrictive covenant as set forth.
- Grantor, its successor, and/or assigns (hereafter Grantor) shall have the right to post and patrol the Lands, and the authority to enforce the conditions and restrictions as set forth.
- At all times Grantor shall have the right to inspect the Lands.
- Notwithstanding the forgoing restrictions, motor vehicles and motorboats may be used on the Lands by Grantee and Grantee's authorized representatives, by Grantor in the exercise of its right to inspect, post, patrol, and protect the Lands, and by government personnel in the exercise of public safety and law enforcement duties.
- In the event of an emergent threat to human health and safety, or a need to control invasive species of plants, or a need to protect a rare plant species and/or its habitat, Grantee shall have the right to harvest and/or kill plants on the Lands; provided, however, that Grantee determines that there are no feasible alternatives after consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NJ DEP Office of Natural Lands Management, and Grantor, and that such harvest or kill is implemented to minimize disturbance and/or damage to non-target species and habitat.
- In the event of an emergent threat to human health and safety, or a need to control an overabundance of mosquitoes or insect pests, Grantee shall have the right to undertake or authorize a control program on the Lands; provided however, that Grantee determines that there are no feasible alternatives after consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NJ DEP, Office of Mosquito Control, Office of Natural Lands Management, and Grantor, and that such control program is implemented to minimize disturbance and/or damage to non-target species and habitat.
- In the event of an emergent threat to human health and safety, or a need to control the overpopulation of a particular species of animals, Grantee shall have the right to undertake or authorize a non-lethal, non-recreational control program on the Lands for such particular species of animals; provided, however, that Grantee determines that there are no feasible alternatives after consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NJ DEP, Office of Natural Lands Management, and Grantor, and that such control program does not include the baiting or driving of animals on the Lands, and that such program is implemented to minimize disturbance and/or damage to non-target species and habitat.
- Notwithstanding the forgoing restrictions, The Passaic River Flood Damage Reduction Project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) may be carried out, provided that the project complies with the National Environmental Policy Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (as amended), and the U.S. Endangered Species Act (as amended); that it is authorized by the U.S. Congress; that the natural state of the Lands are not appreciably altered, nor artificially flooded or drained for any significant period of time; and that the Lands are preserved in a natural state as a wildlife sanctuary. It is recognized that the intent of the Grantee's acquisition is to protect the water storage capabilities of the Lands and improve the overall health of the area as a wildlife sanctuary and natural habitat area.
- In the event that flood protection facility/facilities are needed on, over, or across the Lands, then the USACE and Grantee must notify and consult with Grantor and comply with the above conditions.
- The Lands shall not be used for the purpose of calculating permissible lot yield of the Lands or of any other land.
- This covenant is intended to benefit the public and may be enforced by Grantor or Grantee, their successors and/or assigns or the public at large. The covenants herein provided are permanent, perpetual and run with the land. The covenants herein provided shall be binding upon Grantee, its successors and/or assigns and cannot be altered or terminated except by the express written approval of Grantor, its successors and/or assigns.