Various land preservation programs have been established by the State and local governments since Program Open Space (POS) law was enacted in 1969, including the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, Rural Legacy, Maryland Environmental Trust, County purchase/transfer of development rights, etc. In addition to public parks and active recreation, these programs focus on agricultural land preservation and the conservation of open space and lands that support natural resources. Through May 2009, almost 1.4 million acres of land have been preserved in Maryland, while about 1.3 million acres have been developed. This keeps Maryland on track to achieve its long-standing goal to protect parkland, agricultural land, and resource lands at a rate that equals or exceeds the rate at which land is developed.
Concerns in recent years revolve around effectiveness, funding, and redundancy. All the pieces of land under easement or publicly owned add up to...what? Are statutory goals for the various programs being achieved? How many programs are accomplishing the same thing, and to what effect? When will we preserve enough land to accomplish statutory goals? How much more will we have to spend? Are regulatory and land use planning and programs managing development well enough to make achievement of goals feasible or likely?
Maryland's 2009 Land Preservation, Parks, and Recreation Plan looks at Maryland's preservation programs in detail, evaluates them, and lays out a direction for future improvements.
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