News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation of 268 Acres in Cecil County

Projects Acquired through Program Open Space, Rural Legacy Programs

Annapolis, Md. (June 9, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval to purchase 268 acres for preservation projects in Cecil County.

“The land we preserve through Program Open Space and Rural Legacy is not only vital to protecting working forests, farms, and recreational opportunity; it is also a key strategic asset to restoring the Chesapeake Bay, providing a natural defense to the runoff that carries pollutants into our waterways," said Governor O’Malley. "These important landscapes give something back to Marylanders every day."

The Board approved a conservation easement on 114 acres of farmland in Cecil County through Program Open Space. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in cooperation with the Conservation Fund, Maryland Environmental Trust and the Department of Transportation’s Transportation Enhancement Program, worked to conserve this significant property that is contiguous to the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail (LSHGT) and visible from Interstate 95 North and the Susquehanna River.

The property overlooks the historic Garrett Island and will provide a key link to the LSHGT. Mt. Ararat Farm Road and Frenchtown Road are components of Maryland’s Lower Susquehanna Scenic Byway.

The Conservation Fund works with state, county and other partners in Maryland and Pennsylvania, along with major landowners along the river, to bring due attention to the region as one of the best opportunities to conserve an entire intact river system.

“We are grateful to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Cecil Land Trust and the Maryland Environmental Trust for making this collaborative effort happen,” said Bill Crouch, Maryland Representative of the Conservation Fund.  “The Mt. Ararat Farm property, with its farmland, stream valleys and dramatic cliffs, represents the natural beauty of Cecil County, and through its ‘trademark’ view will remind travelers along I-95 of Maryland’s spectacular rural landscape.”

The board also approved the purchase of a two conservation easements totaling 154 acres located in the Fair Hill Rural Legacy Area of Cecil County through Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program. The easements will preserve productive farmland and forests as well as drinking water supply for the City of North East. This agreement will also prevent possible future development of up to twelve new homes in a prime agricultural area. One of the easements protects the historic and scenic views from the State-designated Route 273 Scenic Byway and the historic Elk Creek Valley. 

“The Petersen farm has served as the site of many of the historic and cultural events that have created the unique environment of the Little Elk Creek Valley,” said Bill Kilby, President of Cecil Land Trust. “The permanent protection of the property will ensure that residents and visitors will continue to enjoy this pristine area through the efforts of the Fair Hill Rural Legacy Program.”

Both of the easements will be held by the Cecil Land Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The three-member Board of Public Works is composed of Governor O’Malley (chair), 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.


   June 9, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 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