24 January 2008

The Open Space Race?

Somerset County announced today that they have finally reached 10,000 acres of preserved open space. This is a nice achievement, one that should be commended - even if it did take almost 50 years!

On June 14, 1958, The New York Times reported that Somerset County - which had no county owned parkland - proposed the acquisition of several tracts totalling 10,500 acres. The article described this as a "long-term" goal. They weren't kidding.

Public referendums in 1989 and 1997 established, and then doubled, the Open Space Trust Fund. In 1994, the county reiterated its goal of acquiring 10,500 acres. Again, no timetable - but in 2000 the goal was increased 20,500 acres.

I don't know when we will surpass 20,000 acres, but it is comforting to know that we have nearly reached our 1958 goal. Like the proverbial tortoise, we are moving slowly and steadily toward the finish line - except that in our case, the finish line keeps receding into the distance!

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