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Governor O’Malley Commends Maryland Environmental Trust for Surpassing 120,000 Acre Milestone
Bear Creek Ranch Conservation Easement Tips the Scales
Annapolis MD (April 2, 2009) – With the recent completion of the Bear Creek Ranch conservation easement in Garrett County, the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) has now protected more than 120,000 acres of open space and natural resource lands in the state. Since 1972, MET has been working with its local land trust partners and the citizens of Maryland to protect the State’s most treasured landscapes and natural resources as a legacy for future generations.
“This landmark is a testament to the commitment of Marylanders to preserving environmental quality and open space,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Very few land trusts in the nation have achieved this level of success and we hope to build on this milestone by enhancing the quality and increasing the pace of land conservation in Maryland for a future that is smart, green and growing.”
The Bear Creek Ranch easement, which was completed on March 25, carried MET past the 120,000-acre milestone. The protection of the 745-acre property, a multi-year collaborative effort between MET and its partners, is a fitting way to usher in this achievement. The property’s high quality habitat for many rare, threatened and endangered species, including the Tiger spiketail dragonfly and Southern Water Shrew, earned it a high ecological ranking under the Governor’s new Program Open Space targeting system.
“We are thankful for the ongoing wise stewardship of Bear Creek Ranch by the Weitzell family,” said MET Director Elizabeth Buxton. “Their decision to allow a conservation easement on their property will protect Western Maryland’s cherished scenic ridge tops for current and future generations.”
A statewide land trust governed by a citizen board of trustees, the Maryland Environmental Trust was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly to preserve privately owned farm and forest lands and significant natural resources. MET is one of the oldest and most successful land trusts in the country. It holds 979 easements and has protected over 120,000 acres across the state. MET promotes the protection of open land through its Land Conservation Program, Monitoring and Stewardship Program and Local Land Trust Assistance Program. MET also provides grants to environmental education projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program. For more information, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/met and www.conservemd.org.
April 2, 2009
Contact: Ray Weaver
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspire action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The Initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.