The Board of Public Works approved new conservation easements in five counties Wednesday totaling 795 acres – meaning the total number of acres conserved under the state’s Rural Legacy Program has now surpassed 100,000.
“We have successfully worked with local partners, farmers and other landowners to conserve and maintain the rural character of our state for future generations,” Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio told the BPW, noting that it’s the 20th anniversary of the Rural Legacy Program.
The program provides funding for the state to purchase large tracts of land to enhance the protection of natural resources.
Former Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D), who launched the Rural Legacy Program, was on hand to accept congratulations from the board members. Glendening, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said, “was way ahead of his time” when it came to preserving open space.
But Glendening preferred to give credit to one of his predecessors, the late Gov. Harry R. Hughes (D), who died earlier this year. Glendening said Hughes was the state’s first chief executive to make protecting the Chesapeake Bay a top priority.
“We’re really standing on Gov. Hughes’ shoulders,” he said.
The easements presented for approval Wednesday by DNR cover territory in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, St. Mary’s, Worcester and Washington counties.