When the State of Maryland announced its Rural Legacy grants in October, it brought welcome news to Heart of Maryland local government partners Washington County and Frederick County. Rural Legacy is a conservation easement program funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that works to permanently preserve agriculturally, environmentally and historically significant lands.
Washington County received nearly $1.7 million to protect farmland, forests, and Civil War sites within view of Washington Monument State Park, South Mountain Battlefield State Park, Antietam National Battlefield and its approaches. Conservation within the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area will provide water quality benefits to the Potomac River. The county also received approval to expand its Legacy Area by 12,413 acres in three areas that includes properties significant to the Battle of Antietam, properties on the Potomac River and C&O Canal, properties along the Appalachian Trail, as well as within the Targeted Ecological Areas.
Frederick County’s Mid-Maryland Frederick and Carrollton Manor Rural Legacy Areas: Frederick County will receive $1,700,000 to acquire conservation easements to protect farmland, forestland, Civil War historic sites and a greenbelt around the historic Town of Burkittsville. Conservation of property in the Area will protect the view surrounding the Appalachian Trail and South Mountain Battlefield State Park, which are nationally significant natural and cultural resources. The Board approved the designation of the Mid-Maryland Frederick Rural Legacy Area in 1998 and the Carrollton Manor Rural Legacy Area in 2004.
The Mid-Maryland RLAs in each county are key focus areas for the Heart of Maryland Conservation Alliance.