Charles County Property Conserved for New Nature Park

A 202-acre property north of Marshall Corner Road in Pomfret, Md. will be protected from development and will be the site of a new park, The Trust for Public Land and the Charles County Commissioners announced today.

The park, which includes some of the headwaters of Mattawoman Creek, will be a public natural area maintained by Charles County. A portion of the property borders the youth athletic fields operated by the Southern Maryland Youth Athletic Association and some of the property may become available for expansion of this facility. A group of local citizens asked the Chesapeake office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, to seek conservation of the land and TPL has negotiated with the landowner for nearly three years to secure the property’s protection.

“Mattawoman Creek is one of the healthiest remaining freshwater tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay, and conservation of this property helps the watershed stay healthy,” said Kent Whitehead, TPL’s Chesapeake director. “We are grateful to Charles County for their commitment to conserving this property, and very appreciative of the landowner, who was willing to work with us over the long-haul to make this purchase a reality.”

“This isn’t good news – this is great news,” said Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly. “Protecting this vital landscape is a big benefit to the County. We greatly appreciate the critical role of The Trust for Public Land in helping us to preserve this spectacular natural resource.”

The Mattawoman Creek watershed, which drains into the Potomac River, is located about 15 miles southwest of Washington D.C. and has been designated a “stronghold” watershed by the State of Maryland. In 2009, Mattawoman Creek was named the fourth most threatened river in the nation by American Rivers.

“Any action we can take to protect our natural resources is a bonus for our community and it puts the lands that have been saved in trust for future generations to enjoy,” said Commissioner Ken Robinson (District 1).

Charles County utilized local funding from Maryland’s Program Open Space, as recommended by the Maryland Board of Public Works, for the purchase of the Marshall Corner Park property. Program Open Space, which has been in existence for more than 40 years, remains a national model of an effective statewide land conservation program. The availability of these funds helped convince the landowner to sell the property for conservation for a price well below its fair market value, noting the benefits to the community that the project represents.

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. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect nearly 3 million acres nationwide, including more than 8,000 acres in Maryland.