Land Acquisition and Planning

Program Open Space Grants Accomplishments

Established under the Department of Natural Resources in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long term commitment to conserving our natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities for our citizens.

Program Open Space has...

  • Protected approximately 380,000* acres of land
  • More than 6,400 grants awarded to local government through Program Open Space Local and Community Parks & Playgrounds
  • Enhanced quality of communities
  • Established Greenways and Green Infrastructure network
  • Provided state, local park or public open space within 15 minutes of most residents

*Acreage includes Program Open Space Stateside, Program Open Space Local, and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program permanent easements as of September 1, 2015. Updated acreage by program is available at Maryland’s Conservation Lands Reporting Site.

Have We Done Enough?

The population of Maryland goes up every year, while the land area remains the same.

About 20% of Maryland is developed and about 19% is protected with conservation easements or publicly-owned open space. Program Open Space has allowed the State to protect land at a rate that keeps pace with land development.

Growing communities need to save land for recreation and maintain scenic beauty and environmental quality. Open space protected from development today will be available for recreation and natural areas for tomorrow.

The provision of recreation and park programs are proven alternatives to crime and drugs. In drug-free zones and public parks, people can develop healthful, lifetime sports and skills.

Today there are more than 6,400 individual county and municipal parks and conservation areas that exist because of the program. Almost all of the land purchased by the department in Maryland in the last 45 years was funded at least in part throughProgram Open Space.

Program Open Space Local Annual Programs