|Press Releases | Search DNR | DNR Home|
Governor O’Malley Announces Preservation Of One Of The Largest Remaining Privately-Owned Forestland In Maryland
BPW Also Supports Improvement Projects in 20 Local Parks
Annapolis, Md. — Under Governor O’Malley’s leadership, the Board of Public Works today approved preservation of one of the largest privately-owned contiguous forestlands in Maryland, a 4,769 acre-property located in Worcester County.
“Today we took advantage of a historical opportunity to permanently protect a great natural treasure on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, one that offers boundless outdoor recreation and sustainable, green job opportunities,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Protecting this invaluable wildlife habitat and pristine landscape is a legacy that Maryland’s families expect and deserve, and the wisest use of our Program Open Space funds.”
Located in the Nassawango Creek and Pocomoke River watersheds, the Foster property borders the state’s certified sustainably-managed Chesapeake State Forests, and received one of the highest ecological rankings to date under the Governor’s new Program Open Space targeting system. Five rare, threatened and endangered wildlife and plant species, including White-fringed orchids, inhabit the property.
“One of the most precious legacies we can leave our children is a beautiful landscape that they can value as much as we do,” Congressman Wayne Gilchrest who helped secure federal funding for the acquisition. “Bald eagles soar and scarlet tanagers fly free amidst the loblolly pines, bald cypress and old oaks on this breathtaking property.”
The property, preserved through collaboration among The Nature Conservancy, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, State Highway Administration, Maryland Department of General Services and the U.S. Department of Transportation will be purchased for $14,400,000 that includes funds from state-side Program Open Space and $5,110,609 in federal SAFETEA funds. The average cost per acre is just over $3,000.
“The Foster property is just such a priority, and its protection by the State, together with The Nature Conservancy's holdings at our Nassawango Creek Preserve, will create an expansive natural gem that future generations of Marylanders will be able to enjoy for years to come,” said Nat Williams, Director of The Nature Conservancy of Maryland/DC.
Today, the Board of Public Works also approved local-side Program Open Space funding for improvement projects at 20 local parks located in Baltimore City and five Maryland counties.
“Recreational opportunities and open green space are critical to an urban environment,” said Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks’ Director Wanda S. Durden. “Program Open Space not only continues to be a much-needed funding source for improving Baltimore’s recreational facilities, it also contributes to the city’s efforts to preserve open green space and the surrounding natural resources.”
Baltimore City will receive $3,696,702 which includes:
- $100,000 to renovate the athletic fields at Herring Run Park;
- $300,000 for new playground equipment at Arundel Elementary School and a new basketball court at Warwick Park.
- $300,000 to restore the stone wall at Wyman Park Dell;
- $500,000 for renovations at Riverside Park;
- $760,000 for improvements at Druid Hill, Patterson, Clifton, Gwynns Falls and Carroll Parks;
- $800,000 to renovate the athletic fields at Radeke Park; and
- $936,702 for staffing and maintenance of parks throughout the city.
Baltimore County will receive $1,562,595 for three projects including:
- $306,000 to expand the Hawthorne Community Trail by connecting Hawthorne-Midthorn and Darkhead Creek Parks with the Hawthorne Elementary School Recreation Center in Middle River;
- $606,795 for an artificial turf athletic field at Franklin High School in Reisterstown; and
- $649,800 for an artificial turf athletic field at the Eastern Regional Park in Chase.
Carroll County will receive $146,400 for two projects including:
- $16,800 to install five wellness/fitness stations along the Union Bridge community Park trail; and
- $129,600 for a new multi-use athletic practice field at Deer Park near Westminster.
Cecil County will receive $25,000 to update its Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan.
Howard County will receive an additional $559,615 for construction of the Robinson Nature Center in Simpsonville.
Washington County will receive:
- $37,500 for improvements to the outdoor track and soccer field at the Hagerstown Community College;
- An additional $27,360 for an irrigation system on three heavily utilized soccer fields at Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park; and
- $16,200 for road to improve access to Veterans Park’s new walking trail in Smithsburg.
Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the Board of Public Works have preserved 15,765 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. Since 1969, Program Open Space has protected more than 336,200 acres with funds from a percentage of the real estate transfer tax. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by Program Open Space. Visit www.greenprint.maryland.gov for an interactive, statewide map showing the land protected by Program Open Space.
The Board of Public Works also approved a total of $13,460,700 in Rural Legacy grants to help preserve agricultural, forestry, natural and cultural resources in 20 Maryland counties. Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has provided more than $174.6 million to protect 60,882 acres of valuable farmland, forests, and natural areas. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and the Rural Legacy Board, which is comprised of Maryland’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, reviews competitive grant applications annually.
The three-member Board of Public Works, chaired by Governor O’Malley, is comprised of Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.
January 7, 2009
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
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 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 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 12 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.