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DNR Statement Regarding "Reported" Proposed Land Sale
ANNAPOLIS -- In April 2003, all state agencies conducted a comprehensive assessment of their real property inventory. As part of that assessment, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reviewed over 430,000 acres of state owned lands and identified 2,900 acres (less than 1%) that presented management challenges.
The assessment was completed after a 10-month review by an interdisciplinary team of biologists, scientists, planners and public land managers, who had the overarching goal of balancing conservation of the state's natural resources with fiscal responsibility.
The team used the following criteria to identify this list of excess property candidates:
Minimal natural resource value;This exercise resulted in identifying a list of 54 DNR parcels that was sent to Maryland Department of Planning in February 2004 and represents a list of potential excess property candidates. With the single exception of the Deep Creek Lake buy down that has been ongoing for the last three years, all the identified parcels have not been surplused, no action has been taken and no decision has been made to dispose of them.
- Isolated or detached from main land unit by distance, roads, rivers, etc. making management difficult;
- Poor access or landlocked with no potential for improvement;
- Boundary disputes, encroachments or right-of-way conflicts prevalent;
- Existing lease-presumption that property might best be surplused to leasee for that continued use;
- Physical location in or near a population center that would best serve to meet local government open space, recreation or conservation need;
- Adjacent owners have expressed interest in acquiring parcel; and
- Relative high cost of management considering level of public benefit.
A majority of the identified candidate properties have restrictions that prevent development - for example 28% of the parcel acreage have federal environmental restrictions upon them requiring the properties to remain in the same type of usage regardless of its future owner.
Conservation/recreation land management does have significant administrative, staffing, operation, maintenance and infrastructure costs. The assessment did identify those areas where operational and fiscal efficiencies could be realized. Those parcels that posed management challenges that outweighed their value to the state's ongoing land preservation and Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts were added to the potential excess property list.
The state regularly receives donated properties or easements as well as purchases parcels of open space. It is very common that a fraction of the acquired property parcels do not perfectly align with the Department's conservation ideals. In those instances, it may make better fiscal and conservation sense to dispose of those detached parcels and invest the proceeds in initiatives of greater conservation value.
Be assured that DNR remains committed to protecting Maryland's open space and providing recreational opportunities for Maryland's citizens.
To view the list of properties and their associated maps, click here.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to Maryland citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 435,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, as well as Maryland's wildlife and fishery species for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, the department manages natural, historic and cultural resources that 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