Farm preservation along Antietam Creek, new signage in Sharpsburg highlights Maryland’s Rural Legacy and history

06 June 2024- The Board of Public Works today approved Maryland Department of Natural Resources items including $4.5 million in grants to local governments and land trusts to preserve and protect land, and provide recreational opportunities for Marylanders.

A total of $679,000 in Program Open Space – Local was approved for seven projects. 

The Town of Sharpsburg in Washington County will receive a $370,000 grant for a new historical park that will showcase the area’s rich history with a monument and signage. The City of Taneytown will receive about $100,000 in funding to replace an outdated playground located in Taneytown Memorial Park, Carroll County.  Additionally, Frederick County will receive about $86,000 to renovate and improve trails at Emmitsburg’s Rainbow Lake.

Program Open Space – Local provides funding for county and municipal governments for the planning, acquisition, and development of recreational land or facilities.

Also approved was $1 million from the Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure Program for Prince George’s County to acquire one acre of land in College Park for construction of a 14,000-square–foot recreation and community center. 

The Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure Program was funded in FY 2022 and FY 2023 to provide grant funds primarily to local governments for park and recreation projects.

More than $2.1 million in Rural Legacy funding was approved for local sponsors to acquire conservation easements on six properties totaling 535 acres, all of which are located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed:

  • An easement in the Lands End Rural Legacy Area in Queen Anne’s County will protect more than 2,300 feet of forested stream buffer in the Chester River watershed. 
  • The Long Green Valley Conservancy Inc. will acquire an easement in the Long Green Valley Rural Legacy Area in Baltimore County to protect nearly a mile-long stream buffer in the Gunpowder River watershed.
  • In Carroll County, an easement in the Little Pipe Creek Rural Legacy Area will protect productive farmland and scenic roadside views.
  • Washington County will acquire an easement in the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area to protect an historic farm and a mile-long buffer along Antietam Creek and associated tributaries. 
  • In the Mountain Ridge Rural Legacy Area in Allegany County, easements on two adjoining properties will preserve these forested properties, limit impervious surface, and protect the buffers in the Potomac River watershed. 

All projects funded are listed in the Board of Public Works June 5, 2024 meeting agenda. The three-member Board of Public Works is composed of Governor Wes Moore, Treasurer Dereck E. Davis and Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman.

Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Rural Legacy Program, created in 1997, conserves large working landscapes across 35 locally designated areas throughout Maryland.

Established under the Department of Natural Resources in 1969, Program Open Space (divided into Local and Stateside programs), along with other state land conservation programs, symbolizes Maryland’s long-term commitment to conserving our natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities for all citizens.