DNR to Gather Public Input on Possible Designation of Additional Wildlands
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public input on the proposed creation of 10 new Wildlands and the expansion of 17 existing Wildlands (click here for the map). Wildlands are State-owned natural areas preserved for their wilderness character or sensitive natural resources. Starting in late October, the department will be holding public meetings in nine counties across the State to collect comments on designating additional Wildlands.
Wildlands benefit the economy of local communities by attracting birdwatchers, photographers, backpackers and others who enjoy nature. Many Wildlands serve as home to rare and endangered species such as hellbenders and purple-fringed orchids. Other recreational pursuits like hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and horseback riding, as well as research, are all permitted. Currently 29 areas of State-owned land in 15 counties are designated as Wildlands, totaling 43,779 acres, listed here.
DNR has acquired new properties which meet State Wildlands Preservation System criteria since the last designations 11 years ago. Many of the candidate regions contain rare or threatened plants and animals, and other environmentally sensitive characteristics. The department identified additional areas upon completing an Inventory of Old Growth Forests, and mapping high conservation forests and environmentally sensitive areas, on DNR-managed lands.
DNR is currently seeking input on 27 areas of State land that may be suitable for Wildland designation. Information and maps showing the location of the areas are available at dnr.maryland.gov/land/stewardship/wildland.asp. Click here for a detailed listing of the candidate areas grouped by county.
Citizens may comment in one of three ways─ at any of the public meetings listed below, by email to Wildlands@dnr.state.md.us, or by mail to: Wildlands Comments; Attn: Rich Norling; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; 580 Taylor Ave., C4; Annapolis, MD 21401. The comment deadline is December 9, 2013.
The public meetings will focus on the county in which proposed new or expanded Wildlands are located, but representatives will accept comments regarding any aspect of the proposed designations. They are as follows:Frederick County: Monday, October 28 at 6 p.m. Thurmont Regional Library 76 East Moser Road, Thurmont, 21788 The library does not promote or endorse the views of program sponsors or presenters Calvert County: Tuesday, October 29 at 6 p.m. Prince Frederick Library 850 Costley Way, Prince Frederick, 20678 Worcester County: Tuesday, October 29 at 7 p.m. Shad Landing State Park, Camp Store Dining Area 3461 Worcester Highway, Snow Hill, 21863 Enter the Park and drive straight back on the main entrance road until it ends and then turn right and follow the signs to the Camp Store, which is located at the boat launch area on the Pocomoke River. Map of park. Montgomery County: Wednesday, October 30 at 6:30 p.m. Seneca Creek State Park, Visitor Center 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, 20878 Charles County: Monday, November 4 at 6 p.m. College of Southern Maryland, Center for Business & Industry, Room 104 8730 Mitchell Road, LaPlata, 20646 Garrett County: Wednesday, November 6 at 6 p.m. Deep Creek Lake State Park, Discovery Center Meeting Room 898 State Park Road, Swanton, 21561 Somerset County: Wednesday, November 6 at 6 p.m. Janes Island State Park, Nature Center 26280 Alfred J. Lawson Drive, Crisfield, 21817 Allegany County: Thursday, November 7 at 6 p.m. Allegany College, Continuing Education Building, Room CE8 12401 Willowbrook Road, Cumberland 21502 Baltimore County: Thursday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m. Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, Conference Room 5100 Deer Park Road, Owings Mills, 21117