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Board of Public Works Approves Expansion of Chesapeake Forest Lands

Program Open Space Acquisition Supports Economy, Environment and Recreation

Chesapeake Forest Lands will increase by 1,664 acres following Board of Public Works approval today of a Maryland Department of Natural Resources conservation acquisition in Somerset County.

The adjoining and contiguous parcel will be integrated into the Chesapeake Forest Lands sustainable forestry management plan and provide for economic, environmental and recreational opportunities on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore.

“This strategically important acquisition will benefit both the economy and the environment,” Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “The working forests will be retained and will now be managed in a sustainable manner, supporting the local economy and watershed. The acquisition will also protect public access to traditional outdoor activities and recreation like hunting.”

The Program Open Space acquisition will allow these forested tracts to be managed in an environmentally-sound and sustainable manner benefiting the natural resources-based economy as well as allow for both active and passive recreational pursuits, including birding, camping, fishing, hiking and hunting.

The forested lands will be managed by the Maryland Forest Service in accordance with the state’s dual forest certification through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council. Timber harvesting and public recreation will be incorporated into the land’s management plan. The public will have many opportunities to comment on the plan as it is being drafted.

The department partnered with The Nature Conservancy on the acquisition of the property.