Can you imagine Maryland without our rolling horse and farm fields, forests, and parks? Each year Maryland loses 17,000 acres of open space due to poorly planned development. It is often cheaper for a developer to build on a green field instead of redeveloping abandoned space in an urban area. In addition, weak or unclear local planning and zoning opens the door for that type of poor growth. It is vital to our future to balance growth with conservation of natural and agricultural areas, 1000 Friends of Maryland works to protect these areas from sprawling development.
There are several policies that can slow or even stop green field development:
- Funding programs at the State or local level. The premier State land conservation program, Program Open Space, uses a small tax on real estate transfers to support preservation.
- Strong local plans that establish agriculture or conservation areas, backed by strong rural zoning.
- Other financial incentives. These can include tax credits for placing land under easement, or transfer of development rights programs where a developer pays a rural land owner for the right to build in an urban area.
Think about your favorite vista, farm, or park. Why does it matter to you? Help us protect these natural areas from development!
1000 Friends is supporting legislation that will create nine new Wildlands and expand fourteen existing Wildlands. Wildlands are state-owned properties that have retained their wilderness character or are home to rare plants and animals. They are great places for enjoying nature! Best of all, the Wildlands designation assures that these special places are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.
One of our favorites is the Mattawoman Wildland in Charles County, the only place on Maryland’s Western Shore where the American lotus grows. We are excited that the proposed legislation will expand the Mattawoman Wildland and designate almost 700 acres of nearby Chapman Forest as a new Wildland.
Years ago, we fought alongside numerous organizations to save Chapman Forest from development. Thanks to the coalition’s hard work and the support of Governor Glendening, visitors to Chapman State Park enjoy rich wildflower displays, the state’s largest Glade Fern bed and a variety of magnificent birds – including bald eagles! Click HERE to find the Wildland closest to you and HERE to see the list of proposed Wildlands.