News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of 60 Rural Legacy Acres In Washington County

Annapolis, Md. (July 28, 2010) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval for acquisition of a conservation easement in the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area in Washington County. The easement, known as the Meyers Property, will permanently protect 60 acres of historically significant property for future generations.

“By protecting this land, we are not only supporting an ecologically important area, but preserving an important piece of our State’s history,” said Governor O’Malley. “This acquisition ensures that our rich heritage and our great outdoors will be protected for future generations of Marylanders.”

The protected land contains prime and highly productive agricultural soils as well as 1,125 feet of grassed riparian buffers along streams that feed into Antietam Creek, supporting wildlife conservation and pollution control. The land also provides important habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife, including forest interior dwelling species, migratory song birds, and raptors.

This property lies within a two-mile radius of more than 8,800 acres of land permanently protected near Antietam Battlefield, and will extinguish 47 development rights in the viewshed of this famed battlefield. The easement will be held by Washington County.

“Washington County is pleased to partner with the State on this important conservation easement that will protect prime agricultural land within a historically significant area,” said Eric Seifarth, Land Preservation Administrator for Washington County. “We are glad the Governor has such an interest in the history of the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area, and the desire to protect this area.”

The land is historically important due to its role in the Civil War. During the Battle of Antietam, Miller’s Sawmill Road, which runs along this property, was used by A. P. Hill’s Light Infantry Division to fortify Robert E. Lee against Burnside’s division, thereby preventing the destruction of Lee’s Army. Not only did this property witness the flanking of Lee’s army, it also provided encampment following the Battle of Antietam for the Union soldiers.

The Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area totals 42,849 acres of important environmental, agricultural and historical areas. This Rural Legacy area protects a number of historically significant areas in addition to Antietam Battlefield, including Fox’s Gap, Turner’s Gap, the C & O Canal, and the viewshed of Washington Monument State Park.

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of land, natural resources, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while sustaining land for natural resource-based industries. Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided over $2.3 million to protect 67,096 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 grant applications annually. For additional information, visit

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 consultation contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement transactions.

   July 28, 2010

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million 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 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