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National Park Service Approves Maryland’s Land Preservation and Recreation Plan

Qualifies State for Federal Land Acquisition Funding

The National Park Service has approved Maryland’s five-year Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, allowing the State to move forward with a variety of projects that will enhance recreation areas and services on public lands, and protect natural resources and open space. Developed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with federal, State, county and local officials, and stakeholders and citizens, the plan’s approval qualifies the State to receive land acquisition money through the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“Our land is the foundation of Maryland’s economic and social prosperity, rich in forests and farms, wildlife habitat, recreation and tourism, and culture and history,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This plan will ensure that as our State grows and changes our investments grow and change as well, with projects that will meet the needs of our citizens and visitors, and protect our living and natural resources.”

The plan – which is updated every five years – offers a comprehensive, well thought out “to do” list for increasing safe and easily accessible amenities, encouraging enjoyment and stewardship of Maryland’s natural world, and balancing outdoor recreation with natural and cultural resource protection. Projects under the current plan will be completed across the State between 2014 and 2018.

DNR will work with local governments, using their individual recreational inventory data, to identify critical gaps and prioritize funding. Projects include expanding trails, creating picnic areas, upgrading visitor centers and other facilities, and improving access to the water and nature spaces.

“By assessing the State’s resources, examining issues and trends, and incorporating extensive public input, the Department of Natural Resources produced a document that is indeed an invaluable tool to use in addressing future needs and availability of public outdoor recreation facilities,” said Michael Caldwell National Park Service Northeast Regional Director.

Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Program has provided nearly $80 million through 387 projects across Maryland. These funds were often matched by local and state governments, bringing the total investment rooted in Program funds to nearly $160 million, used to acquire land and build and enhance recreational amenities and opportunities for the benefit of the public.

“As a champion of public land conservation and outdoor recreation in Maryland, DNR is proud to continue this remarkable partnership with the National Park Service,” said DNR Secretary Joe Gill. “I also want to recognize our internal working group, led by John F. Wilson, associate director of DNR Land Acquisition and Planning, for bringing new passion, energy and vision to a process that has been benefited Maryland citizens for more than a half century.”

The Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan also serves as Maryland’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan and is located here.