The Rural Legacy Program, administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, allows local governments and land trusts to purchase voluntary conservation easements on designated areas that encompass large blocks of working lands.
Saving farmland and open space is an investment in rural communities, rural economies, and our important natural resources
By working with Rural Legacy sponsors, the program provides funding for the acquisition of easements and fee simple ownership of land to protect the natural, agricultural, forestry, and environmental resources within the locally designated Rural Legacy Areas.
The Rural Legacy Program has protected 75,445 acres of Maryland’s rural lands.
Why is farmland and open space protection important?
Saving farmland and open space represents an investment in rural communities to enhance the rural economy by preserving important agricultural and natural resources. Determining how we use dwindling natural resources will be among the most important issues for the State over the next decade. The competition for land, especially productive
agricultural land, will intensify as Maryland’s population grows and the communications revolution makes it easier to live and work in widely-dispersed communities. To assure a prosperous future, we must save our farmland and protect our green infrastructure
25,000 acres of agricultural and forest lands is converted to development every year in Maryland!
Lands that produce food and provide scenic open space, wildlife habitat and clean water are increasingly at risk from urban sprawl and rural subdivisions. According to an American Farmland Trust (AFT) study, every state in the nation is losing irreplaceable agricultural resources to urban sprawl, converting more than one million acres a year to development. Maryland is no exception and, unless efforts are made to protect rural lands, this pace will continue as one million additional people will call Maryland their home by 2020.