318 Acres Along Patuxent River Protected (MD)

Prince George’s County, MD – October 17, 2006 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) announced today the protection of 318 waterfront acres along the Patuxent River, just 12 miles from the Washington, D.C. border. The acquisition will provide public access to more than half a mile of trails that will become part of Prince George’s County’s Patuxent River Scenic Trail. The purchase represents the acquisition of the largest single parcel still available for conservation on the Patuxent River.

“The Commission is honored to partner with the Trust for Public Land to preserve this critically important environmental resource,” said Samuel J. Parker, Jr., M-NCPPC chair. “The acquisition of this section of the Patuxent River Greenway will provide for the conservation and protection of a vital part of Prince George’s County’s green infrastructure network, and allow us to manage its enhancement and public use.”

The scenic trail is ultimately envisioned as a 60-mile hiker/biker/equestrian trail along the entire eastern border of Prince George’s County. The property protected today will become the second link in the existing trail system, providing a southern trailhead for walkers, bikers, bird watchers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, negotiated and secured an agreement for the purchase of the land—which was once under contract for development—from the city of Bowie. A longtime high priority for conservation, the property will be permanently owned and managed by M-NCPPC’s Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation.

“This property is remarkable for both its beauty and its location,” said Denise Schlener, director of TPL’s Chesapeake and Central Appalachians Field Office. “It will provide residents in the heart of a rapidly growing county with new places to picnic, walk, and enjoy other forms of recreation. We applaud Prince George’s County and the M-NCPPC for ensuring that growth is accompanied by natural resource conservation.”

Funding for the $3.2 million acquisition was allocated to Prince George’s County for land conservation by Maryland Program Open Space.

In a region ripe with growth, the land’s forests and fields provide a critical buffer near the Patuxent River, keeping intact the natural filtration system that protects the waters of the Patuxent and other tributaries that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.

The bulk of the 318 acres will become part of the Patuxent River Scenic Trail, which runs through M-NCPPC’s expansive Patuxent River Park. The Prince George’s County Radio Control Model Airplane Club, with more than 200 local members, will continue to use 18 acres for its activities, while another 20 acres will be leased for farming.

Approximately four miles (180 acres) of the Patuxent River Scenic Trail have been created in Prince George’s County to date. Overall, 10,506 acres have been conserved along the Patuxent, although those lands have not yet officially been tied into the Scenic Trail. M-NCPPC is actively pursuing other lands along the river for preservation.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL has helped protect more than 8,000 acres of land in Maryland, including the 515-acre Belt Woods property. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.