From time to time I'm asked what my greatest achievement as a freeholder has been. It's not always an easy question to answer. I'm very proud of my efforts to redevelop Fort Monmouth, including my work to help provide services for our veterans. The Child Advocacy Center is also something in which I take great satisfaction. But when I think of my greatest single achievement I have to say it is the legacy of the land we have preserved.
While other efforts have helped important segments of our population, the preservation of open lands has provided a permanent foundation that future generations will be able to build upon. It is an asset that serves the entire county. Directly, it provides habitat that protect biodiversity, provides a myriad of recreational opportunities, both active and passive and adds value to the neighborhoods and communities in which it is located.
The indirect benefits are even greater. Where it's farmland, it provides locally grown fresh food. Where it's conservation lands - from open fields to century forests - it cleans the air and cools the land. And all open land helps to manage stormwater, store drinking water and treat wastewater. People who never visit a farm or field or forest benefit from our protection of them which makes open land the best investment we can make in the future of Monmouth County.
All of this makes it particularly important now for everyone to pay close attention to the new Open Space Plan being developed by the Park System. Monmouth County has seen the development of thousands of acres of land that are lost to future preservation efforts. The land that is left is also increasingly sensitive in nature. This makes the challenges we face ahead even greater and more urgent. Careful planning and the wise allocation of resources that have been the hallmark of our previous efforts will be even more essential in the future. The land is the lasting legacy in which every Monmouth County resident can share and take pride. I am just happy to have had the opportunity to do my part as a freeholder in this ongoing process. Nothing makes me prouder.
Freeholder Director Lillian G Burry
Colts Neck, NJ