Header Art - Land Acquisition and Planning

What We Do


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been a national leader in land conservation for more than 40 years. The DNR programs listed in the right hand column are nationally recognized. Other states have modeled these programs to achieve success in their own Land Conservation efforts.

Our purpose is to advance land conservation and outdoor recreational opportunities throughout Maryland. We work to provide sustainable and healthy land resources and ecosystems that serve vital ecological, economic and recreational needs for Maryland citizens - both now and into the future.

We partner with local governments, conservation groups and land trusts to meet state goals for land conservation and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Our philosophy is based on Maryland's Green Infrastructure.  We participate in and support Maryland's Smart Growth, GreenPrint and BayStat initiatives.

With support from DNR's Office of Sustainability, DNR has recently launched a new approach to land conservation, with a goal of improving how land acquisitions are targeted, as well as more efficient coordination of land planning efforts.

Cover of the 2014-2018 Land Preservation & Recreation PlanMaryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan 2014-2018

The Land Preservation and Recreation Plan is prepared every five years to identify essential and contemporary issues impacting outdoor recreation and natural resource protection in Maryland. This Plan was developed using public input gathered through surveys, stakeholder meetings and thorough analysis of national, state and local issues impacting recreation and natural resource conservation.

The Land Preservation and Recreation Plan will help guide land conservation and development of outdoor recreation opportunities over the next five years and builds upon the America's Great Outdoors Initiative to include proactive approaches to address critical issues identified in the planning process. The Plan aims to: provide Maryland’s citizens and visitors with safe and easily accessible amenities; encourage the enjoyment and stewardship of Maryland’s natural world; and balance outdoor recreation land use with natural and cultural resource protection. It also serves as Maryland’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan and qualifies the state to receive funding through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Please click here to read the Land Preservation and Recreation Plan.

Land Acquisition & Planning Unit Staff Contacts

Land Acquisition and Planning is now reorganized into five focus groups to continue the 40-year legacy of land acquisition in the state of Maryland.

Land Acquisition and Planning (LAP) has three core functions:

  • Land Conservation
  • Stewardship, and
  • Local Support (Community Resilience)
  • Our Director

    Emily Wilson, LAP Unit Director
    Land Acquisition & Planning Unit
    Tawes State Office Building, E-4
    580 Taylor Ave.
    Annapolis, MD 21401-2397
    Phone: 410-260-8436
    Fax: 410-260-8404
    E-mail: emilyh.wilson@maryland.gov

    Photo of Maryland landscape showing Open Space

    Program Open Space

    The POS program acquires recreation and open space areas for local public use.

    Rural Legacy

    This program protects cultural, agricultural, forest and environmental resources from urban sprawl.

    Land protected by Conservation Easement


    The Maryland Environmental Trust protects Maryland’s open spaces, farms, forests, and scenic landscapes.

    Land conserved in Maryland

    Acreage Reports

    Details lands protected by fee simple ownership and long-term or permanent easements.