Governor Ehrlich Announces BPW Approval of Land Management Projects in Allegany, Charles and Washington Counties

On Thursday, December 16, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. announced Board of Public Works approval to purchase land in Allegany County through Program Open Space and to continue lease agreements in Charles and Washington Counties. The Board is composed of Governor Ehrlich, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.

“Today’s approvals involve purchasing land on the North Branch of the Potomac and continuing long-standing lease agreements on two state properties,” said Governor Ehrlich. “These projects illustrate just two aspects—purchasing and leasing—of managing land, a multifaceted responsibility that requires the attention of state government throughout the year.”

The approvals concern three items in three counties:

Allegany County: The Board approved $38,034 in Program Open Space funds to purchase 16 acres of unimproved land from the Potomac Conservancy. The property, which borders the CSX Railroad and the Potomac River in the town of McCoole, is a key element in the effort by DNR’s Fisheries Service to provide recreational access to the North Branch of the Potomac. The property will also be of value in monitoring the water quality of this tributary.

Charles County: The Board approved a continuation of a lease agreement that allows the Sur Shot Hunt Club to hunt on 320 acres of unimproved land in the Doncaster Demonstration Forest. The land was acquired from Sustainable Conservation, a non-profit organization, in early 2004. The acquisition of this parcel included a lease with the hunt club, and DNR executed a new lease for $1,500 for a term of six months, effective Oct. 1, 2004, through March 31, 2005, to allow use of the land for the 2004 fall hunting season. The club has leased this land from previous property owners for the last 20 years. The tenant assumes all costs for use, maintenance, repair, and improvements.

Washington County: The Board approved a continuation of a lease agreement that allows Fleetwood Travel Trailers to use 1.4 acres along the Western Maryland Rail Trail for trailer parking and storage as part of the tenant’s adjacent commercial travel-trailer production facility. The 5-year lease is for $32,500. The leased site is an open gravel area that was previously used by CSX Transportation, the prior owner, for equipment storage. The tenant, who has leased this property since 1994, assumes all costs for operation, maintenance, repair, utilities, and improvements.

“We at DNR are extremely pleased to acquire the acreage along the Potomac’s North Branch,” said DNR Secretary C. Ronald Franks. “Besides providing better access for fishermen, this location is an excellent site for measuring our progress in restoring the water quality of a major Chesapeake Bay tributary.”

DNR’s Program Open Space is a nationally recognized program that provides funding for Maryland’s state and local parks and conservation areas. More than 4,600 county and municipal park and conservation projects have been completed through the program, improving the quality of life for millions of Marylanders.

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