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Candace McKee Ashmun

We mourn the passing of a giant in the environmental movement and Pinelands protection.

May 26, 2020


All of us at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance mourn the passing of Candace McKee Ashmun, who died last Friday at the age of 96. 

Candy was one of the key figures in the generation that created the environmental movement in New Jersey.  In 1979, Governor Byrne asked Candy to serve as a founding member of the Pinelands Commission.  She answered that call and served continuously on the Commission until her death, the last original member of the Pinelands Commission.  That dedication over so many years gave her unequaled insights and wisdom on the policies and controversies the Commission faced during its first forty years.

Candy was a personal hero and mentor to me, as she was to so many others.  I recall that on my first day on the job at PPA in May 1998, she called me to make sure I knew what issues I needed to focus on, and from that day on she never hesitated to let me know where she thought I should focus for the good of the Pinelands.  Her guidance shaped my understanding of how the Pinelands protection laws are supposed to work, and what we need to do to make them work better. 

Candy has joined the pantheon of Pinelands heroes who secured this unique and wonderful place for the people.  Now it is up to us to keep the flame alive and make sure the Pinelands and all its wildlife, plants, and waters survive intact for those who follow us.

One response to “Candace McKee Ashmun”

  1. Joan Batory says:

    I served with Candy for seven years on the original Pinelands Commission that authored the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan. She and I spent many hours writing the Interim Development Regulations that guided development during the 18 month building moratorium and was a precursor to the development regulations set forth in the final Comprehensive Management Plan.
    We were always in agreement on preserving and protecting this vital national ecological treasure that was soon designated as a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve.
    I truly enjoyed working with Candy. I will always remember the sidebar conversations we shared with fellow Commissioners Franklin Parker and Budd Chavoosian during breaks in our meetings. I admired Candy’s knowledge base, her levelheadedness and her consummate dedication to preserving and protecting the natural resources throughout the state in her many leadership roles. She was a valuable friend and mentor, the likes of whom we who knew her will never see again.

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