The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been a national leader in land conservation for more than 40 years. The DNR programs listed below have all brought national recognition to Maryland and are used by other states to model programs that will repeat the success Maryland has had with land conservation and recreation. Together, these programs will continue to meet the challenges of land conservation and recreation for our citizens.
Established under the Department of Natural Resources in 1969, POS symbolizes Maryland's long term commitment to conserving our natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities for our citizens. Funding for Program Open Space typically comes from the collection of a 0.5% State property transfer tax. Transfer tax funding of POS is designed with a direct correlation between development pressures and available funding for open space and recreational facilities for the public good.
The Program also administers and leverages federal funds including funds provided through the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Maryland's Rural Legacy Program (RLP) was created within the DNR to preserve large blocks of working rural lands for future generations. The Program protects natural, cultural, agricultural, and forest land statewide by granting funds to local governments and land trusts, our local program sponsors, to conserve land through easement and fee purchases within designated rural legacy areas. Currently there are 31 Rural Legacy Areas throughout the state. The RLP uses an objective scoring approach to review and allocate its limited grant funds.
The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) was formed in 1967 to conserve, improve, stimulate, and perpetuate the aesthetic, natural, scenic and cultural aspects of Maryland’s environment. The Trust also promotes conservation of open space and appreciation of the environment and its care. MET programs now include Land Conservation, Monitoring and Stewardship, Local Land Trust Assistance, and the Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants Program.
Maryland’s Protected Lands Reporting Site includes details for individual programs on acres protected by fee simple ownership and long-term or permanent easements. The DNR Acreage Report tracks the state lands purchased by the Department of Natural Resources.
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