June 7, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 460 Acres in Cecil County Preserved; Will Become Bohemia River State Park The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is preserving 460 acres in Cecil County for the future development of a new state park. The Board of Public Works unanimously approved the acquisition this morning. The new water-access site, located near Chesapeake City, will eventually be called Bohemia River State Park and will complement existing Maryland Park Service properties in the area – Elk Neck, Fair Hill, and Sassafras. This is a big win for land conservation on the Eastern Shore, and more specifically, Cecil County. “Over the course of the past 27 years, ESLC has been involved with literally thousands of Eastern Shore farms. OBX Farms is truly one of the most beautiful we’ve ever assisted in preserving!” said ESLC Executive Director Rob Etgen. “This purchase will keep the land open, free from future development, and most exciting of all, available to the public for generations to come. ESLC is incredibly proud to play a role in this important legacy.” The acquisition of OBX Farms was fully funded by Program Open Space, which preserves natural areas for public recreation, and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. In addition to existing agricultural land that will most likely continue being farmed, approximately 14,000 feet of riverfront property will now be available to the public for kayakers, standup paddle-boarders, canoers, and other activities. The property’s rich network of riparian forests and tidal and non-tidal wetlands will provide for habitat restoration and water quality benefits. Once the acquisition is complete (projected Fall 2017), the department will develop an interim public access plan for the property, which will enable visitors to enjoy passive, nature-based activities until a master plan can be developed. Public access
John Hutson, a leader in Maryland’s land preservation community who assisted in the protection of more than 43,000 acres throughout the state, died of cancer on Tuesday, November 22 in Franklin, Tennessee. He began his career with the Maryland Department of Agriculture at the Charles County Soil Conservation District. In 1984 and transferred to the Maryland Environmental Trust in 1989. Mr. Hutson was hired as an easement planner and was serving as the manager of the Easement Program manager when he retired in 2014. During that time, he worked with 265 families who voluntarily protected 43,500 acres of farms, forests and historic properties. After retirement from the state, he worked with the Scenic Rivers Land Trust and the Land Preservation Trust assisting in the stewardship of their protected properties. Mr. Hudson loved the land and the people he worked with throughout some of the most beautiful areas of the state. His daughter, Erin Meold said “he loved walking the properties and taking photos. He loved talking to all the different people involved and learning the farm history. He taught me what it meant to really enjoy what you to do make a living”. He was a friend and mentor to many entering the land preservation field, always exhibiting an exemplary spirit and dedication. One of the many people he mentored is Jared Parks from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy “He helped me cut my teeth in this field on some very interesting projects on the Eastern Shore. They don’t make better people than John, or people with a bigger heart”. Rob Etgen, director of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy: “John was ESLC's longest running easement partner from MET staff, a fast friend to all who worked with him, and a dear personal friend of mine. He was also the “Dad of the Year’ for
On March 16th in Annapolis, the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) celebrated the state's best efforts in historic preservation during the 41st Maryland Preservation Awards. The MHT Board of Trustees recognized outstanding education, restoration and revitalization projects, as well as organizational leadership. ESLC proudly accepted MHT's award for 'Outstanding Organizational Leadership' - one of only 11 projects/groups to be awarded. (Pictured, from left to right: ESLC Center for Towns Director Katie Parks; Easton Town Councilmember Pete Lesher; ESLC Board President Benjamin Tilghman; ESLC Board Member Dave Harp; Maryland State Senator Addie Eckardt; and ESLC Executive Director Rob Etgen) "In addition to protecting land with archeological sites and cultural landscapes, this conservation organization has expanded its programs to include planning in historic towns and recently rehabilitated a historic industrial building as its headquarters." -MHT
Along with colder temperatures and the fade of holiday lights, every January brings a new legislative session in Annapolis. State employees, politicians, lobbyists, advocates, and policy staff from groups across Maryland converge in an effort to advance the issues and beliefs they believe to be the most pressing. ESLC’s Policy Manger Josh Hastings and Program Assistant Rachel Roman were there when the Maryland General Assembly convened on January 13th and have since been active, traversing across the Bay Bridge for the meetings that apply to our mission. Consistent with the overall purpose of land conservation, ESLC works within the following policy and advocacy parameters: Support water and land use policies that encourage stronger rural communities, protect rural landscapes, and increase public access. Additionally, ESLC promotes policies that lead towards a cleaner Chesapeake Bay and that build resilience towards and support adaption to the effects of climate change on the Eastern Shore landscape. Support economic development efforts for the Eastern Shore that strengthen the agricultural, forestry, and fishing industries, and that direct and deepen investment in small towns. ESLC supports residential and commercial development focused in towns and infrastructure to support sustainable growth. Support transportation policies that result in the most sustainable land use patterns for the Eastern Shore. Promote policies that make travel safer and easier and that emphasize multimodal options. Support energy policies that promote long-term, locally generated, renewable energy that adds to the rural, independent character of the Eastern Shore and that has the smallest impact upon the landscape. Governor Hogan submitted his budget on January 20th, and since that time ESLC has had time to analyze and react accordingly. While the good news is that $20 million more dollars are allocated towards land protection measures than in last year’s budget, the proposal still takes approximately $43 million from Program Open Space – Maryland’s
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