Pinelands National Reserve: An Intergovernmental Approach to Nature Preservation
The Pinelands National Reserve was created in 1978 when private interests and federal, state, and local governments allied to protect 378,000 ha (935,000 acres) of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens from encroaching development. An intergovernmental authority, the Pinelands Commission, manages the reserve by implementing a regional plan to guide development away from environmentally sensitive areas and into designated growth centers. Through transferable development rights, financial gains from development in growth centers are used to compensate owners and localities in the reserve who might otherwise have developed their lands.
The national reserve strategy contrasts with other federal strategies for preserving unique environments in which the federal government exercises exclusive control (e.g., national parks, monuments, and recreation areas). This article describes the strategy applied in the Pinelands and discusses the conditions in which it may be more or less effective than other strategies used to protect unique or valued landscapes. It then compares the Pinelands model with strategies and conditions of California’s Redwood National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore to develop propositions about the circumstances in which one or another strategy is more likely to be viable. Finally, it applies these propositions to the possibilities for future preservation in New England.