News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Environmental Trust Celebrates 1,000 Properties Protected in Perpetuity

Peter Franchot, Comptroller of Maryland and King Burnett, Chair of MET, at Holly Hill.Friendship, Md. (October 7, 2009) — On Saturday, October 3, more than 125 guests joined the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) in a celebration of 1,000 conservation easements on more than 122,000 acres of forest, farmland and scenic open space across the state of Maryland. The milestone event was held at historic Holly Hill in southern Anne Arundel County.

Keynote speaker Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance, acknowledged MET’s tremendous accomplishment and its leadership role in the land conservation movement in Maryland. He also thanked landowners who had donated conservation easements on their properties to protect them from sprawl and development. Wentworth indicated that MET ranks as one of the largest land trusts in the country, comparing its success to the Nature Conservancy, a conservation organization which holds over 1,000 easements nationwide.

Wentworth used the occasion to announce that U.S. Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-MD) is a co-sponsor of the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, H.R. 1831, a bill to make permanent the increased tax incentives for donations of conservation easements. With Sarbanes’s support, a majority of the House -- including majorities of both parties -- has been secured.

Special guests included Comptroller Peter Franchot, who praised the foresight of William S. James, President of the Maryland Senate (1963–1974) and author of 1967 legislation that created MET. Other presenters included, Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael Busch and John Griffin, Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, who remarked on the important role MET plays in land protection in Maryland.

Guests enjoyed locally grown food, wine and local seafood, and music by the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, plus a rare opportunity to tour the house and gardens at Holly Hill, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Holly Hill, originally named Holland Hills, was built between 1698 and 1733 and is one of the largest and best preserved examples of the Medieval Transitional style of architecture in Maryland.

The Clagett Family, the owners of Holly Hill, recently donated a conservation easement to MET, which will permanently protect the conservation values of the entire 255-acre farm. A conservation easement is a tool for landowners to protect natural resources and preserve scenic open space. The landowner who gives an easement limits the right to develop and subdivide the land, now and in the future, but still remains the owner. The organization accepting the easement agrees to monitor it forever to ensure compliance with its terms.

The Maryland Environmental Trust is a statewide land trust governed by a citizen board of trustees, whose mission is to preserve privately owned farm and forest lands and significant natural resources in Maryland. MET is one of the oldest and most successful land trusts in the country and works with over 52 local land trusts in Maryland. MET provides landowners information and tools to permanently protect natural, historic and scenic resources in the state. For more information about MET, please visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/met.


   October 7, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov