The Mercer County Park Commission is holding a virtual public meeting for the Moores Station Quarry Park Master Plan. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 2 from 7pm to 9pm. The Moores Station Quarry has been operating since the 1800s. The Park Commission is developing a master plan to turn the quarry into a park after quarrying operations cease in spring of 2023.
“After all these years, the quarry is finally closing and Mercer County is moving forward with creating a park there. This was proposed decades ago, and now the quarry is finally closing. This means the environmental impacts from all of the trucks and the pollution from the site will finally stop. Now that the quarry is closing, the property needs to be restored,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This new park shouldn’t become a place for active recreation. There are other Mercer County parks for that. This area should continue the open space and wild experience of Baldpate Mountain.”
The quarry site is located next to the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain. It measures more than 2,000 feet across and is approximately 200 feet deep. A multi-disciplinary team is working to develop the master plan, including landscape architects, geologists, engineers, ecologists, wildlife biologists, architects, sustainability experts and real estate market analysts.
“The Sierra Club and others have fought countless battles to protect Baldpate Mountain. We stopped projects like ball and soccer fields, as well as a new entrance that would have been like a highway going up the mountain. That is why it is critical that this quarry park has to be compatible with the goals of the park. It needs to be for passive recreation, with trees, meadows, and wetlands. They should not use this park as an excuse for these active recreation amenities or facilities,” said Tittel. “This quarry should have been shut down a long time ago. Now that it is finally being turned into a park, it cannot be privatized. Too many people have fought too hard for too long to save this area to lose it now to profiteers.”
The process of turning the quarry into a park will take multiple years, starting with developing a park master plan. The Park Commission will be holding additional public meetings on the master plan in February, May, and October of 2021.
“People need to come to the hearing to protect Baldpate Mountain. We have worked tremendously to protect Baldpate, and we need to make sure that this park continues that legacy. It is important to keep this area in a natural state instead of repurposing it for active recreation. They could put an arboretum in the quarry pit. They could also work on restoring wetlands and riparian corridors in the area,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “It is important for the people to come out to the meeting and demand that the area is fully restored. If done properly, this park will be a critical part of restoring and preserving the wild spaces of Baldpate Mountain.”
The above was submitted by Megan Steele, Communications Coordinator for the Sierra Club
The following was submitted by Mercer County Park Commission
The Moores Station Quarry is located off Route 29 at the intersection with Pleasant Valley Road in Hopewell Township. Parts of the 166-acre site have been mined for more than a century. In the 1800’s, quarried materials were transported via barge on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, later via railroad. Today, trucks transport materials from the Titusville site.
Quarrying operations by Trap Rock Industries will cease at the site in the spring of 2023, when a 25-year agreement with the quarry operator will expire. At that point, the Park Commission will take possession of the site and begin a multi-year process of transforming the open-pit quarry into a park. The first step in this process is now beginning, with a public planning effort to develop a park master plan.
The quarry site is located adjacent to the County-managed Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain. Most of the quarry is without vegetation, and the excavation has revealed millions of years of geologic history. The quarry pit measures more than 2,000 feet across and is approximately 200 feet deep. While there are several relatively level areas in the quarry, there are also many steep rock walls, haul roads and two small ponds. The views into and within the quarry are dramatic and unusual. A brief fly-over video of the quarry can be viewed at the Mercer County Park Commission website.
“Moores Station Quarry will be the most unique site that the Park Commission has ever transformed into a park,” said Aaron T. Watson, Executive Director of the Mercer County Park Commission. “Our consultant team will explore a wide range of recreational activities and ecological restoration options. Because this is such an unusual site, we look forward to considering programs and activities that could never be contemplated in a more traditional landscape.”
The Park Commission has retained a multi-disciplinary team to help develop the master plan, led by Simone Collins Landscape Architecture of Norristown, Pa. The team includes landscape architects, geologists, engineers, ecologists, wildlife biologists, architects, sustainability experts and real estate market analysts.
The link to the virtual meeting can be found on the Mercer County Park Commission website at: http://mercercountyparks.org/#!/about/moores-station-quarry-park-plan.
Feature photo submitted by the MC Park Commission.