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Governor O'Malley Announces Preservation of 1,504 Acres of Maryland Landscape
Wilderness Ranch, Lower Deep Creek Rural Legacy Area among $15.6 Million in Projects Approved by the Board of Public Works
ANNAPOLIS – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of $15,586,027 in Program Open Space (POS) and Rural Legacy (RL) funds for state and local projects.
Of particular significance on today’s agenda was the acquisition of the 800-acre Wilderness Ranch tract in Garrett County from the Nature Conservancy. The land serves as a link between the Conservancy’s 1,700-acre Cranesville Swamp Preserve and Maryland’s 7,000-acre Garrett State Forest and is considered a vital ‘piece to the puzzle’ for biodiversity conservation in the region.
“Maryland’s thriving landscapes play a fundamental role in defining our culture and our sense of place, especially in rural areas,” said Governor O’Malley. “By connecting two larger tracts, preservation of the Wilderness Ranch property creates a 9,500-acre band of critical forest and wildlife habitat across Garrett County. The State of Maryland is proud to partner with the Nature Conservancy to purchase this important site on behalf of our citizens.”
“The acquisition of Wilderness Ranch for the purposes of conservation is another positive step that Governor O’Malley and the Department of Natural Resources have promulgated in Garrett County,” said Garrett County Commissioner Ernie Gregg. “We are pleased to have their support and to cooperate in this endeavor.”
Two Rural Legacy projects were also approved by the Board of Public Works at today’s meeting: The $1,103,048 acquisition of a conservation easement on a 91.5-acre property located in the Lower Deer Creek Rural Legacy Area in Harford County will protect significant farmland and allow for enhanced recreational and educational opportunities along Deer Creek. The $1,147,004 acquisition of conservation easements on 150.5 acres for the Piney Run Watershed Rural Legacy Area in Baltimore County will preserve farm and forest land, as well as improve water quality through the establishment of permanent riparian buffers along streams that feed Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
Also approved by the Board of Public Works today were the following projects:
State Program Open Space
Local Program Open Space
- $4,342,400 to Prince George’s County for:
- Charles Branch Stream Valley Park – Acquisition of 246.4 acres of land to expand the existing park and provide open space, conservation and recreational opportunities.
- Dorsey Chapel – Acquisition of a .94-acre wooded lot to restore the camp meeting and picnic area that was part of the original site.
- $2.5 million to the State of Maryland for acquisition of a 48.9-acre addition to Rosaryville State Park in Prince George’s County.
- $1.5 million to Queen Anne’s County for acquisition of the 94.52-acre Davidson Property to conserve and preserve the natural and open space characteristics of the property, promote and improve wildlife habitats, and facilitate public recreation and educational uses.
- $845,000 to Somerset County acquisition of the 45-acre Long property parcel in Westover to safeguard wildlife habitat, increase opportunities for outdoor recreation and provide opportunities for enhancements along the Manokin River.
- $329,600 to the State of Maryland for purchase of the 26.4-acre Brown Property in Frederick County, which will become part of Cunningham Falls State Park.
Chaired by Governor O’Malley, the Board of Public Works is also comprised of Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp. The Board is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.
- $1,186,856 to Montgomery County for:
South Germantown Recreational Park – Relocation of one of the softball fields
- Seneca Stone Barn – Restoration of this historic stone structure located in Dickerson.
- Stepanek Park – Construction of a playground, landscape and park benches and tables.
- $251,406 to Allegany County for:
- Mason Sports Complex – Tennis court resurfacing and restroom addition
- Constitution Park – Renovation and expansion of the Summer “Day Camp House” and parking lot paving
- $180,000 to Washington County for the replacement of the roof of the Hagerstown Fairground Grandstand.
- $90,000 to Frederick County for upgrading the parking lots at the Brunswick Sports Complex.
- $42,109 to Garrett County for improvements to West Glad Park including walking trails, basketball courts, pavilions and other amenities.
- $37,251 to Caroline County for acquisition of a .27-acre lot within in the Town of Denton for parkland expansion.
- $30,000 to Cecil County for the development of marine- and land-based facilities within Elk River Park.
- $10,350 to Dorchester County for paving of the access road and parking lot in East New Market Park.
Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of more than 318,000 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by this program.
The Rural Legacy Program provides the focus and funding necessary to protect large, contiguous tracts of land and other strategic areas from sprawl development, and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection through cooperative efforts among state and local governments and land trusts. Protection is provided through the acquisition of easements and fee estates from willing landowners and the supporting activities of Rural Legacy Sponsors and local governments.
May 23, 2007
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov