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March 20, 2013

Rural Legacy Program Preserves Land in Baltimore and Washington Counties

by Martha
Piney Run Rural Legacy Easement

Piney Run Rural Legacy Easement

The State has added 63 acres to its permanently protected rural landscape, eliminating 10 developmental rights in two counties. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works today approved funding to preserve the land, located in Baltimore and Washington counties.

“Thanks to the Rural Legacy Program and its generous land donors, Maryland has permanently protected more than 75,000 acres of farm, field and woodland,” said Governor O’Malley. “These areas will work to improve our air and water quality, and provide wildlife habitat.”

In Baltimore County, preservation of the Moore and Skaggs Property in the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 31 acres and prevent the development of one lot. The farm is in the heart of the Piney Run area. It includes more than 535 linear feet of streams lined with trees that work to filter polluted runoff of tributaries that flow into Piney Run, which leads to Loch Raven Reservoir and Gunpowder Falls. This Moore property lies adjacent to a block of more than 14,000 acres of permanently protected land.

“When the Moores purchased their farm in 2009 it had fallen into severe disrepair. Fencelines were overgrown, waterways eroded and the farm buildings needed significant work,” said Ann Jones, administrator for the Land Preservation Trust. “The Moores have created a successful horse breeding, boarding and training facility. They also provide support to other successful horse breeding facilities in the area, including David and JoAnn Hayden’s Dark Hollow Farm, one of the State’s first Rural Legacy easements.”

This easement supports Maryland’s equestrian industry, and the property owner intends to use the proceeds from their sale to expand their operation, enhancing the economic impact of this new and growing Maryland business. The Rural Legacy Area in Baltimore County totals 32,320 acres, of which 16,268 are currently protected.

In Washington County, preservation of the Morgan Property in the Mid Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 32 acres and prevent the development of nine lots. The easement preserves historic land near Antietam Battlefield.

“The Morgan Property helps protect the wooded viewshed of the area, which includes the Washington Monument,” said Eric Seifarth of Washington County. “The area is also in the Maryland Plan as a watershed protection area for the Elk Ridge water supply. Further, the property is very historic, having contained an important signal tower that was used during the Civil War.”

The Morgan Property is part of a large tract of land acquired in 1727 by Israel Friend, a Quaker who purchased the land from the Indian Chiefs of the Five Nations. The Antietam tract was measured in “arrow shoots,” or the farthest distance an archer could shoot an arrow. The land is part of the site of Antietam Iron Works which produced cannons for the Continental Army, among others. The Morgan property also played a significant role during the Battle of Antietam with the Union 9th Corp passing through the general area. There is also evidence that a Signal Tower used in the Civil War was located on one of the parcels included in this easement. The Rural Legacy Area in Washington County totals 42,849 acres, of which 15,414 are currently protected.

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided more than $235 million to protect 75,498 acres of valuable farmland, forests, and natural areas.

 

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