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History


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The Maryland Environmental Trust was established by statute in 1967 and was created “to conserve, improve, stimulate, and perpetuate the aesthetic, natural, health and welfare, scenic, and cultural qualities of the environment, including, but not limited to land, water, air, wildlife, scenic qualities, [and] open spaces.” Today, the Maryland Environmental Trust is a State-wide leader in land conservation.

Created as a quasi-public entity, we are both a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and governed by a private Board of Trustees. This unique arrangement allows us the resources and flexibility necessary to be a highly successful and trusted land conservation partner. Its programs now include Land Conservation, Monitoring and Stewardship, Local Land Trust Assistance, and the Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants Program.

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During its first four decades of operation the Maryland Environmental Trust permanently protected more than 132,000 acres on over 1,065 properties State-wide. Since its first easement in 1972, we have become a leader in land conservation and has helped hundreds of families to preserve their family history, agricultural operations, and natural resources. We have long been recognized as a national leader in land conservation and can be considered one of the largest land trusts in the nation in terms of number of transactions completed. We were the first to establish a donated conservation easement program in Maryland and has, since then, become the expert on easement drafting, negotiating complex transactions, and working with various local, state, and federal conservation programs.

we have helped create more than 50 vibrant land trusts that work to protect the natural resources, culture, and history of their respective corners of the State. These land trusts now partner with us on nearly three-quarters of all of our easement projects. We provide a variety of training events and conferences for land trusts and the Maryland land conservation community. We also give small grants to help land trusts grow.

Our Governing Statute


Annotated Code of Maryland Natural Resources Article

§ 3-201. Established; purpose; perpetual existence.

(a) Established; purpose.- There is a Maryland Environmental Trust established to conserve, improve, stimulate, and perpetuate the aesthetic, natural, health and welfare, scenic, and cultural qualities of the environment, including, but not limited to land, water, air, wildlife, scenic qualities, open spaces, buildings or any interest therein, and other appurtenances pertaining in any way to the State. Through educational and other means, the Trust shall encourage and motivate the populace of the State and others to do so and shall promote continuing interest in and the study of these matters. The purpose of the Trust is of general benefit to the citizens of the State, and it is charitable in nature.

(b) Perpetual existence subject to power of General Assembly.- The Trust has perpetual existence subject to modification or termination by the General Assembly if necessary to effectuate its purpose or when and if its substantial purpose ceases.

[An. Code 1957, art. 41, §§ 181L, 181M; 1973, 1st Sp. Sess., ch. 4, § 1; 1977, ch. 784, § 5.]