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History

Maryland's First Forestry Law

Loggers laying down a new roadAs a direct result of the Garrett's generous and farsighted gift, the legislature passed Maryland's first forestry law. It dealt mainly with the control of the forest fires which made the practice of forestry financially impractical. Specifically the law called for the establishment of a State Board of Forestry, the appointment of a State Forester and the organization of a corps of local fire wardens. The law also provided for education of woodlot owners about better management and harvesting methods. The Forestry Board's total operating budget in 1906 was $2,500.

Throughout the 1920's and 1930's, Maryland's forestry program continued to stress protection of the resource. Federal-State fire control legislation and a "Keep Maryland Green" campaign strengthened this effort.

The establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 boosted Maryland's forestry substantially. The CCC not only fought fires but also built cabins and other structures on State Forest land and initiated many reforestation projects. By the 1940's, the risk of forest fire to Maryland's timber growing business had been greatly reduced.

Maryland's Forestry Conservancy District Act of 1943 was one of the most progressive forestry laws in the nation. The act stated, "It is...the policy of the State to encourage economic management and scientific development of its woodlands to maintain, conserve, and improve soil resources of the State to the end that an adequate source of forest products be preserved for the people...where such interests can be served through cooperative efforts of private forest landowners, with the assistance of the State, it is to be the policy of the State to encourage, assist and guide private ownership in the management and fullest economic development of such privately owned forest lands."

As a result of the legislation, scientific forestry principals were applied to all types of privately owned forest land in the State.


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