DNR Still Accepting Public Input on Designation of New Wildlands
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is still accepting public input on the proposed creation of 10 new Wildlands and the expansion of 17 existing Wildlands (click here for the map) by email and postal mail through December 9. Wildlands are State-owned natural areas preserved for their wilderness character or sensitive natural resources.
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 that 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 has been seeking input on the 27 areas of State land that may be suitable for Wildland designation since October. 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.
Although the public meetings period has ended, citizens may still comment in one of two ways ─ 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 Saturday, December 9, 2013.