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July 3, 2013

Rural Legacy Program Preserves Land in Worcester and Allegany Counties

by Martha
Open farmland

Photo by Ed Liske

The State has added 248 acres to its permanently protected rural landscape and eliminated 24 developmental rights in two counties. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works today approved funding to preserve the land located in Worcester and Allegany counties.

“Through the Rural Legacy program we are not only protecting Maryland’s beautiful countryside and important natural areas, we are ensuring that our farming communities will continue to have the land and resources necessary to work and provide for their families,” said Governor O’Malley.

In Worcester County, preservation of the Aydelotte Property in the Coastal Bays Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 154 acres and prevent the development of 11 lots. This easement ensures that farmland remains in the Chincoteague Bay watershed and sensitive living and natural resources are protected.

This property will be held by the County Commissioners of Worcester County and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Rural Legacy Area totals 27,510 acres of which 14,000 are currently protected.

In Allegany County, the Mullan Property in the Mountain Ridge Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 94 acres and prevent the development of 13 lots. Located on the western side of Haystack Mountain in LaVale, the area hosts scenic views and rich history.

The easement will preserve the character of the National Road for the town’s residents and the wooded property that adjoins the Allegany County-owned LaVale District Park. The county’s planned acquisition of a neighboring land segment will eventually join these parcels with the County’s Narrows Park, preserving the viewshed of a prominent geologic feature.

This easement will be held by the Allegany County Board of Commissioners. The Rural Legacy Area totals 31,310 acres of which 10,329 are currently protected.

Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of forests, agricultural land, and natural resources, while sustaining land for natural resource-based industries. It has to date provided approximately $235 million to protect more than 75,000 acres of valuable farmland, forests and natural areas. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and Board,  comprised of Maryland’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, reviews grant applications annually.

The three member Board of Public Works is composed of Governor O’Malley (chair), Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultation contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement transactions.

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