Thomas F. Bullock, forestry chair of the Lenape Farms, Inc. of New Jersey.
Lenape Farms is a unique Tree Farm, self-described by its owners as "A Family of Families who have found a way to blend our long term interests into a sustainably, stewardship-driven land use ethic."
The 4,500 acre tree farm is located within 5,000 acres in southern New Jersey’s outer coastal plain, 25 miles southwest of Atlantic City. The farm ranges from sea level to 84 feet above, encompassing 500 acres of tidal meadows along the Egg Harbor River, 2,000 acres of freshwater-influenced lands, and 2,500 acres of upland featuring sandy loamy soils.
The incorporation of the current "family of families" began in 1902 when a group of businessmen formed a hunting club, thus setting the tone for joint management and stewardship over what was then a sportsmen’s paradise. A movement among a few men within the club to look seriously at the potential of the land and appropriate management of its natural resources eventually led to the incorporation of the entity that is now Lenape Farms. Lenape Farms, Inc. became a certified tree farm in 1963.
The rest of the story is a wonderful history of loss and learning, culminating in an exemplary tree farm. Early lessons about high-grading and slash mismanagement, the perils of improper supervision of harvests, and losses to wildfire led to a path now followed, of forest operations guided continuously by a management plan.
Aggressive and sustainable forestry practices have provided valuable demonstration sites for numerous audiences, including Tree Farm Days, New jersey Forestry Association meetings and retreats, school field trips, and forestry field days sponsored by Rutgers Cooperative Extension and New Jersey Audubon Society. Thomas’s active engagement in the New Jersey Forestry Association has included the underwriting of several forestry education programs targeting the Allegheny Forest region that encompasses New Jersey and four surrounding states.