Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2024


New Jersey contains the densest human population in the United States. As New York City to the east has grown, urban sprawl has reached much of the Garden State. For the natural environment, the impact of this sprawl is significant. The eastern deciduous forest that once covered the northern half of the state has been reduced to select areas where development is restricted. The remaining areas of protected forest are valuable to the public as natural gems amidst a world of modern infrastructure. Most of these protected forests are owned and managed by the state of New Jersey, by the people of New Jersey. Though protected forests are generally viewed positively, they have also created points of tension when managing agencies and stakeholders disagree on best management practices. One area of public land in northern New Jersey has generated a particularly great amount of such tension: Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area (SMWMA). This paper will characterize the issues associated with managing land on Sparta Mountain, and will explore policy options for addressing those issues from both sides of the debate.


Course: ENS 302, Environmental Law and Policy (Dr. Phil Grabowski)