Remembering Candace McKee Ashmun, the ‘Godmother of the New Jersey Pinelands’

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and summer arrives, thousands of New Jerseyans may visit the state forests and other natural areas in the New Jersey Pinelands.

News 12 Staff

May 29, 2020, 11:46 PM

Updated 1,421 days ago

Share:

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and summer arrives, thousands of New Jerseyans may visit the state forests and other natural areas in the New Jersey Pinelands.
While many New Jerseyans walk through and experience the nature preserves, they should give thanks to the woman many say made it all possible – Candace McKee Ashmun. Often referred to as the “Godmother of the New Jersey Pinelands,” Ashmun died last Friday at age 96.
Ashmun was a major figure in the Garden State’s environmental movement. Gov. Phil Murphy called her a legendary New Jerseyan.
Ashmun was the last remaining original member of the Pinelands Commission, which was formed by then-Gov. Brendan Byrne when he set the region aside for preservation in 1979. Ashmun – who lived in Somerset County – spent the next 40 years fighting back efforts to chisel away or destroy the Pinelands and other open spaces across New Jersey.
Former Gov. Tom Kean knew her well.
“Candy Ashmun was a remarkable woman and she was the last of a generation. There are a whole bunch of people - mostly women – who built the New Jersey conservation movement from Earth Day on…and they made an incredible impression on the state,” says Kean.
Kean says that Ashmun was involved in every environmental project in the state over the last 50 years.
“She was the nicest person. She had a wonderful sense of humor. She was pleasant to be with,” says Kean. “But if you were on the wrong side, she was as fierce an opponent as you would ever want to have.”
Ashmun has a preserve named after her in Lacey Township. There is also an exhibit in her honor at the Pinelands Commission’s headquarters. It explains the history and ecology of the region.


More from News 12
0:28
Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

1:37
Scattered rain showers overnight; sunshine returns Saturday afternoon

Scattered rain showers overnight; sunshine returns Saturday afternoon

0:15
Authorities: Berkley Township man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatal stabbing of Seaside Heights man

Authorities: Berkley Township man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatal stabbing of Seaside Heights man

1:42
Police: Marlboro teacher accused of inappropriately touching student faces charges

Police: Marlboro teacher accused of inappropriately touching student faces charges

0:32
Man who lit himself on fire outside Trump trial has ties to New Jersey

Man who lit himself on fire outside Trump trial has ties to New Jersey

0:56
Graffiti of former Palestinian militant Leila Khaled found spray-painted at Rutgers University

Graffiti of former Palestinian militant Leila Khaled found spray-painted at Rutgers University

0:09
Police: 2 men critically injured in Newark shooting

Police: 2 men critically injured in Newark shooting

2:16
Public warned to keep their dogs away from seals at the Jersey Shore

Public warned to keep their dogs away from seals at the Jersey Shore

0:59
Jersey Proud: 3 men running the length of New Jersey for ‘Dylan’s Wings of Change’ charity

Jersey Proud: 3 men running the length of New Jersey for ‘Dylan’s Wings of Change’ charity

0:35
Tesla recalling nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks because accelerator pedal can get stuck

Tesla recalling nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks because accelerator pedal can get stuck

1:01
New Jersey water companies make plans to adapt federal ‘forever chemical’ guidelines

New Jersey water companies make plans to adapt federal ‘forever chemical’ guidelines

1:54
Authorities: 2 children at Port Reading school become sickened after ingesting marijuana gummies

Authorities: 2 children at Port Reading school become sickened after ingesting marijuana gummies

2:45
Business owners say they are losing business due to Route 71 bridge being stuck in up position

Business owners say they are losing business due to Route 71 bridge being stuck in up position

1:42
Prosecutor: Remains found at Wall construction site were of ‘advanced age’

Prosecutor: Remains found at Wall construction site were of ‘advanced age’

0:27
Prosecutors: Atlantic City’s Central Pier bursts into flames; 1 man dead

Prosecutors: Atlantic City’s Central Pier bursts into flames; 1 man dead

0:25
Boil water advisory issued for parts of Monmouth County

Boil water advisory issued for parts of Monmouth County

0:48
Ridgewood mayor shares photos showcasing renovation of former Warner Theater

Ridgewood mayor shares photos showcasing renovation of former Warner Theater

1:37
Officials: Some Marlboro schools, Trenton Board of Ed receive bomb threat 2nd day in a row

Officials: Some Marlboro schools, Trenton Board of Ed receive bomb threat 2nd day in a row

0:31
Start of Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial is delayed a week to mid-May

Start of Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial is delayed a week to mid-May

Show off your team spirit! Share your photos with News 12

Show off your team spirit! Share your photos with News 12