The Highlands

Striking a balance between conservation efforts and development has long been the challenge for planners, developers and conservationists alike.

The New Jersey Highlands are a vital aspect of the region’s water supply, natural resources, residential and commercial life.

Matt Sprung was a key figure in the debate which lead to the creation of the New Jersey Highlands Commission.  He served as Chairman of the NJ Builders Association Highlands Committee, was a working member of two congressional work groups on the Highlands and served as Vice Chairman of the Morris County Planning Board.  

The Highlands Region is not a remote inaccessible area.  It is home to over 800,000 people and  an integral part of New Jersey with major interstate highways, railroad connections, and employment centers. It is essential that we concurrently protect the Highlands’ natural resources and provide future areas for economic growth and needed housing.    ~Matthew Sprung     

Cool facts about the NJ Highlands:

  • 860,000The number of acres of forest, farms, recreation, wildlife and historic treasures in the Highlands Region.
  • 800,000 The population found within the boundaries of the NJ Highlands.
  • 770 million gallons of potable water daily is supplied by the Highlands, making it crucial for more than half of the state’s population (most of whom live outside the Highlands Region).
  • Just 8%:  of the region is earmarked for intensive development.
  • Over 80 percent: The percentage of the Highlands Region classified as environmentally sensitive.  
  • 30% of the Highlands Region is designated as Open Space as a result of conservation efforts. Quite a feat,  given that New Jersey is America’s most densely populated state.
  • Over 50% of the Highlands remains forested.  Forests provide habitat for NJ’s exceptionally diverse wildlife, capture rainfall and protect water quality by filtering nutrients and reducing run-off.
  • Nearly 13% The area of the Highlands is farmland.  Agriculture provides jobs, contributes to local economies, and enhances both the scenic beauty and the state’s tourism industry.
  • The most recrational visitors each year: The Highlands are an easy escape to natural beauty for millions, atracting more tourists than Yellowstone, Yosemite an the Grand Canyon combined.