Sure New Jersey’s got malls, highways and very intense politics, but did you know it also has more of its land dedicated to parks and wildlife than every other state in the country except Alaska?
The aptly named Garden State has designated slightly more than 20% or about 2 of every 10 acres for parks and wildlife. In Alaska, it is almost 40% or 4 of every 10 acres for a total of 144 million acres of parks.
The research, conducted by a team from CLIQ Chairs, a company that manufactures chairs designed for outdoor use, shows New Jersey has set aside 945,000 of its 4.7 million acres to parks.
Coincidentally, this month, New Jersey celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first Green Acres bond act “that has led to the preservation of some 1.6 million acres in the nation’s most densely populated state,” said Department of Environmental Protection acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette.
“New Jersey residents can take special pride in this because they have consistently supported bond acts over the years that have funded expansions of state parks and forests, preservation of wildlife management areas and farmland, creation of parks and recreation opportunities in cities and towns across the state, and so much more,” said LaTourette.
New Jersey’s goal, LaTourette said, “is to provide something for everyone like high-quality parks in every neighborhood, so people can take a short walk to a green space where they can relax, recharge, and play.” That effort, he said is not at the expense of efforts to preserve forests, wetlands and other natural areas “to ensure a healthy diversity of wildlife and plants, especially focusing on connectivity of these important habitats.”
The other eight states in the top 10 list of most land dedicated to parks are:
- California with 19.7% of land designated to parks;
- Hawaii with 17.7%;
- Washington with 13.1%;
- Massachusetts with 12.2%;
- Florida with 11.4%;
- New York with 11.1%;
- Arizona with 10.6%; and
- Idaho with 10.1%.
“State and national parks showcase the country’s diverse natural beauty, are open to all comers, and accomplish important goals for environmental protection and rural economic growth,” wrote Thomas Semow in his report for CLIQ Chairs.
The researchers calculated the proportion of state land designated for parks and wildlife as well as the state share of total U.S. parks and wildlife areas and the total outdoor recreation value added per capita.