Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


Land Conservation

Land Use & Policy

Ways to Give


News / Blog



Board of Directors




Mission Statement
Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

ExcellenceITAC Accreditation
eastern shore maryland farmland conservation


1222 Acres of Cecil Farmland Protected Forever from Development

ESLC partners with state to protect farms along the Sassafras River

Queenstown, Maryland – January 28, 2008 –Over 1,200 acres of farmland and important habitat areas in Cecil County have been protected forever, thanks to the recent completion of a 479-acre conservation easement on Ordinary Point Farm and a full property purchase of Grove Farm. With the protection of Grove Farm and Ordinary Point Farm, ESLC is over halfway to its goal of protecting a 5,000 acre block of land along the Sassafras River

Ordinary Point, which protects a combination of productive agricultural and woodland soils, will ensure 479 acres in this important area are preserved. With approximately 99 acres of the property located in the Grove Neck Natural Heritage Area, protection of this property provides protection of habitat that is home to six rare, threatened or endangered species, including the Federally endangered Puritan Tiger Beetle. 

Adjacent to Ordinary Point Farm is another farm ESLC has been working for many years to protect. Grove Farm, a 743 acre farm, is expected to be transferred to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the end of February. Last month the state Board of Public Works approved Program Open Space funding to protect Grove Farm, which fronts on two water bodies, the Sassafras River (approximately ½ mile of frontage) and Pond Creek (approximately 1¾ miles of frontage). It is anticipated that once transferred to the state, the property will be managed for wildlife habitat as well as community access for passive recreation such as canoeing, kayaking and other passive recreation activities.

“There aren’t many places like Grove Farm and Ordinary Point left on the Eastern Shore and we are thrilled that we are able to add to the important block of protected land in such a beautiful part of Cecil County,” said Rob Etgen, ESLC’s Executive Director. “The protection of these two properties is the result of many years of hard work and collaboration with the County and the State and will provide a real gem for Cecil County residents to enjoy for generations to come.”

With significant development pressure threatening the region, protection of these two properties will play an integral role in securing productive farmland as well as providing passive recreation opportunities in lower Cecil County where there are few properties available for public access. Protection efforts have been a collaborative partnership with Cecil County, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.
In other news, ESLC also announces the expiration of its contract with the owners of the Browning Creek Farm   property located along Route 213, Chesapeake Country national scenic byway, north of Cecilton. ESLC entered into a contract on the farm, also known as the “Pumpkin Shell” last year in hopes of securing a conservation buyer for the property and protecting it with a conservation easement. Browning Creek Farm under its current ownership, received concept plat approval in August 2006 for 47 residential lots, which led to ESLC’s involvement. It is located across the road from a block of approximately 1,600 acres of protected land, including Anchorage Farm, which ESLC protected in 2001. The farm also has approximately 3,800 feet of frontage along the Chesapeake Country national scenic byway. Strong community support allowed ESLC to raise $115,000 to secure the contract on the farm; however a lack of conservation buyers made it impossible for ESLC to move forward to closing.

“Obviously we are very disappointed that we were unable to locate a buyer to protect this important farm,” said Meredith Lathbury, ESLC’s Director of Land Conservation. “We remain committed however to exploring potential conservation options and helping this farm to remain an important piece of Cecil County’s rural heritage and economy.”

For more details about ESLC’s land protection and land use planning activities, to become a member or learn how you can protect your land, please visit eslc.org.

Previous Post:

Next Post: