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 400,000* acres of land
  • More than 7,500 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 30, 2021.

To track our progress​ refer to the Annual Department of Natural Resources Acreage Report​.

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 7,500 county and municipal park and conservation area projects that exist because of the program. Almost all of the land purchased by the department in Maryland in the last 50 years was funded at least in part through Program Open Space.​

Program Open Space Local Annual Programs