The purpose of Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space is to promote conservation in the Hopewell Valley Region through open space preservation, informed land use, wise stewardship, education and outreach.
In 1987, a simple ad was run in the local newspaper looking for people who were interested in open space conservation in the Hopewell Valley. Weeks later, a group of concerned citizens gathered together to discuss the growing impact of suburban sprawl on their community. The impetus for action was a major roadway that was slated to intersect a beautiful 116-acre plot of land on the edge of Pennington Borough that contained a mature beech forest and a 17-acre lake.
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) was formed in response to this threat and its roots remain firmly planted in the community. In 1993, years of effort resulted in a tremendous success - the preservation of Curlis Lake Woods. FoHVOS brokered a deal whereby Mercer County purchased all 116-acres for approximately $3 million. The preserve, located off of Pennington's Main Street, now contains hiking trails and serves as a connector to Mercer County Park Northwest.
In the late eighties, FoHVOS began working on its largest property acquisition, Baldpate Mountain. FoHVOS learned there was a proposal to quarry the entire mountain, despite the presence of threatened species, gorgeous vistas and acres of significant habitat.
Through the use of grassroots petitions, public meetings and the successful placement of the Pleasant Valley Rural Historic District on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, the organization spearheaded the development of a network of advocates to push for the protection of the mountain.
The bulk of the land was acquired from Trap Rock Industries in partnership with the State of New Jersey, Mercer County and Hopewell Township for more than $11 million. This 1,200+ acre park now stands at the western edge of the Valley, supporting rare plant and animal communities and providing beautiful vistas of the Delaware Valley.
Over the past 18 years, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space has helped broker over 70 land transactions. This has resulted in the preservation of more than 3,500 acres of open space in Hopewell Valley. With the support of our dedicated members, FoHVOS continues to play a critical role in the planned growth of Hopewell Valley.