(TRENTON) – To honor the late Peter J. Barnes III, Assembly Democrats Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex), Sterley Stanley (D-Middlesex) and Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex) introduced a measure to rename the Dismal Swamp, often referred to as the “Everglades of Central Jersey”, to the Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve.
“When Peter Barnes was in the Assembly, he was instrumental in preserving the Dismal Swamp,” said Karabinchak. “Renaming the largest natural area remaining in northern Middlesex is a merited tribute to his effort and dedication toward protecting the land.”
The bill (A-5822) would rename the Dismal Swamp and the Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission as the Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve and the Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preservation Commission. In 2008, then-Assemblyman Barnes sponsored the Dismal Swamp Preservation Act which established the commission to provide planning and regulations that focused on protecting and preserving the ecological, historical, and recreational values of the area.
“The support of then-Assemblyman Barnes and his legislation led to the conservation of approximately 660 acres of land,” said Stanley. “He was very passionate about preserving this area and through his actions, Peter was able to protect hundreds of birds and dozens of endangered species. Naming the conservation area after Peter is a wonderful way to honor and recognize his dedication to Middlesex.”
Peter J. Barnes III served as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 2007 until 2014. He then went to work as a State Senator until he was nominated and confirmed to serve as a Superior Court Judge where he remained from 2016 until he passed away on February 22, 2021.
“Peter fought hard to ensure that the ‘Everglades of Central Jersey’ were protected, and that the wildlife there was able to thrive,” said Coughlin. “He would often go door to door to spread awareness about the State park. Dedicating the conservation to Peter is a way to honor his advocacy and dedication toward safeguarding such a spectacular place in New Jersey.”