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July 5, 2013

Agencies Meet to Protect Maryland Scenic Byways

by Martha
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway

Maryland heritage area and byway managers, planners, and land trust members met to develop efforts to protect and preserve the State’s scenic byways at a workshop last week in Crownsville. Representatives with Maryland’s Environmental Trust, State Highway Administration and Department of Planning, along with the National Park Service, discussed new monitoring tools and best practices for these scenic, and often historically significant, roads.

Planners with the Maryland Department of Planning demonstrated the new Scenic Byways Resource Protection Application, a geographic information system-based mapping tool that inventories and analyzes both protected and vulnerable byways. This instrument will help local and State agencies decide which byways are in most need of immediate conservation action, allowing them to prioritize and protect their historic and natural resources.

Also unveiled was LandScope Chesapeake, a publicly-accessible mapping tool that reveals conservation priorities within the Bay’s watershed at non-governmental, local, State, regional and federal levels. Developed through a formal partnership between NatureServe, Chesapeake Bay watershed states, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, this tool aims to help groups in the Bay region collaborate on land conservation efforts and goals.

Maryland Environmental Trust staffers were also on hand to discuss how donated conservation easements preserve cultural landscapes and viewsheds along scenic byways. Established in 1972, the program has protected more than 1,050 easements on nearly 130,000 acres statewide, including 80 miles along Maryland Scenic Byways. These areas will be forever protected from development and their beauty, history, and natural resources preserved for future generations to enjoy. For more information on MET, visit dnr.maryland.gov/met.

Learn more about the Maryland Scenic Byways Program.

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