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Governor O’Malley Announces Preservation of
More Than 1,072 Acres of Forest Land on the Eastern Shore
Annapolis, Md. —Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the Board of Public Works has approved preservation of more than 1,072 acres of forest land on the Eastern Shore through stateside Program Open Space, including three sites that dramatically improve public access to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, a 3,000 mile waterway tracing the 17th Century explorer’s travels through the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
“The conservation of these properties on the Eastern Shore will safeguard wildlife habitat, protect the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay, and provide for sustainable forestry,” Governor O’Malley said. “In addition, they offer remarkable opportunities for our citizens to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of one of the region’s most important natural resources.”
The 11 properties in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset and Wicomico counties are high priority conservation acquisitions under Maryland’s new Program Open Space Stateside Targeting System. The ecologically based targeting approach was developed last year under Governor O’Malley’s BayStat Initiative to ensure the state is protecting the most strategically important landscapes to provide a lasting legacy for future generations.
The state will be purchasing the properties at below fair market value for $2.5 million, thanks to a $695,000 gift from The Conservation Fund.
"Preserving these properties safeguards wildlife habitat, protects the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay, provides for sustainable forestry and allows water access for public recreation," said Bill Crouch, Maryland Representative for The Conservation Fund. "We are proud to partner with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on this remarkable conservation opportunity that will benefit the people ─ and wildlife ─ of Maryland."
"Conserving land and improving public access to the bay are high priorities of the Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail," said Charles Stek, chairman of the nonprofit group. "I commend the members and staff of the Board of Public Works and Department of Natural Resources for taking this important step to achieve those goals."
The three properties adjacent to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail are:
McMichael Tract in Wicomico County; including more than 64 acres bordering Quantico Creek, which drains into the Quantico River. This section of Quantico Creek is fairly broad and deep and would be able to accommodate a variety of small crafts. Quantico is considered one of the prettiest creeks in Maryland. Furthermore, broad uplands in portions of the tract make this site suitable for primitive camping.
Evans Tract in Somerset County; more than 50 acres bordering Monie Creek, which drains into the Chesapeake Bay and has existing access for boats and kayaks and is suitable for primitive camping.
Lee-Jones Tract in Dorchester County; more than 57 acres straddling Corsey Creek, which drains into the Chesapeake Bay and is best suited for kayak and canoeing and primitive camping.
Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW have preserved more than 8,807 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of 326,280 acres for open space and recreation areas. The money comes from a percentage of the real estate transfer tax and is used for local and state parks throughout Maryland. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by Program Open Space.
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.
October 15, 2008
Contact: Wiley Hall
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 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.