Land preservation has long been a goal of Maryland. To slow the disappearance of agricultural, forest, and other natural lands, Maryland has developed a variety of land preservation programs. Maryland has been consistently a leader among states in these efforts. As a further demonstration of its commitment to agricultural and forest land preservation, on April 7, 2002, the Maryland General Assembly approved Senate Joint Resolution 10. This resolution set a goal of preserving triple the amount of land currently in preservation status, or approximately 686,000 acres, by the year 2022. This is approximately 34,300 acres per year.
In the 25 years that agricultural and other preservation programs have existed in Maryland, the state and county programs have preserved approximately 343,000 acres. Thus, achieving the goal of preserving twice that amount or 686,000 more acres in just 20 years may prove difficult unless sufficient resources are allocated to achieve the target. In addition, if the programs have managed to purchase easements on the “easiest” to enroll parcels, then policymakers will need to reexamine eligibility criteria and determine what further steps must be taken in order to attract the remaining eligible lands.