Maryland has a deserved reputation as a progressive and innovative state with a commitment to maintain the quality of life for its citizens and fostering sustainability. An example is Maryland’s nationally-recognized program that funds state and local parks and conservation areas and helps to preserve working farm and forest lands. In 1969, the Maryland General Assembly created Program Open Space through the institution of a transfer tax of 1⁄2 of a percent on every real estate transaction in the state. Thus began the remarkable history of protecting land, and creating parks and play- grounds that helped to make this state such an attractive place to live, work and play.
Program Open Space funds the acquisition and development of state and local parks, the preservation of unique natural areas that harbor rare and endangered species, the preservation of farmland using agricultural easements through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), and the protection of locally identified resource lands (farm, forest, historic/cultural) with easements through the Rural Legacy Program. Today every county has a list of state and local parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, agricultural lands, and Rural Legacy Areas that were funded by Program Open Space. The collective result is remarkable: