Land Acquisition and Planning

Maryland's Rural Legacy Program


Rural Legacy Milestone

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has now conserved more than 120,800 acres of land on over 885 easements throughout the state.​

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while supporting a sustainable land base for natural resource based industries. The program creates public-private partnerships and allows those who know the landscape best – land trusts and local governments – to determine the best way to protect the landscapes that are critical to our economy, environment and quality of life. 

The program encourages local governments and land trusts to work together and determine how best to protect their vital working landscapes.

Land conservation investments are targeted to protect the most ecologically valuable properties that most directly impact Chesapeake Bay and local waterway health.

The Rural Legacy Board consists of the Secretaries of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Chair), the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Department of Planning.

The Rural Legacy Advisory Committee (RLAC) met on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, virtually via ​the Google Meet platform. The minutes of the meeting can be accessed via this link:

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The Rural Legacy Board administers the Rural Legacy Program with assistance and advice from the Rural Legacy Advisory Committee. The Board annually designates Rural Legacy Areas and recommends areas for funding to the Board of Public Works.

​The Rural Legacy Board (RLB) met on Monday, July 24, 2023, virtually via the Google Meet platform to discuss and vote on recommendations to the Board of Public Works for a Rural Legacy Area ​boundary change, and funding of the FY 24 Annual Grant Awards.

The minutes of the meeting can be accessed via this link:

​The Rural Legacy Program encourages local governments and private land trusts to identify Rural Legacy Areas - delineated areas within a county that include both working farms and ecologically significant landscapes - and to competitively apply for funds to complement existing land conservation efforts or create new ones. Local Sponsors must apply annually to the Rural Legacy Board for participation in the Program and to receive funding.

Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act, the Rural Legacy Board meeting is open to the public; however; part of the meeting may be conducted in closed session pursuant to § 3-305(b)(3). During the open portion of the meeting, when invited by the Chair to participate, the public may comment on the discussion. Please contact Katrina L. Tucker​ at​ if you have questions.​

There is at least one Rural Legacy Area in every county of the state and the total acreage designated in all Rural Legacy Areas is 1,276,249​ acres.​​

Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has dedicated over ​$464.209 million to preserve 120,805 acres of valuable farmland, forests, and natural areas.

Maryland Rural Legacy Area Map 

Rural Legacy Program

...Saving the best of what's left
by creating greenbelts around
Maryland's communities
and saving our remaining countryside.