The Board of Public Works today unanimously approved the Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquisition of 2,009 acres in Western Maryland for the development of a new state park. This acquisition in Garrett County consists of three parcels near Kitzmiller, with two of the parcels being adjacent to Potomac State Forest.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a very large tract of ecologically-important land that will also provide true back-country recreation for residents and visitors,” Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “We look forward to providing expanded public access and opportunity to this beautiful, rugged and unique landscape located along the Potomac River in Western Maryland.”
This county-approved purchase provides for the permanent conservation of a variety of important natural resources, including a riparian forest along the North Branch of the Potomac River, three brook trout streams, approximately 1,700 acres of mixed forest, an area of Wetlands of Special State Concern and extensive acreage of important forest interior bird habitat.
The newly acquired property will provide recreational opportunities for biking, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting as well as angler access to 3 miles of the North Branch. In addition to preserving these resources, two of the properties include several miles of established off-road vehicle trails that will present an opportunity for this recreational pursuit.
Development of a strategic management plan for the North Hills property that will include recreational access and trail development, will be initiated in 2018, and will include opportunities for public comment and involvement. The area, which includes Wolfden Run, will be managed by the Maryland Park Service.
The Program Open Space acquisition was leveraged by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is administered by the National Park Service. The department partnered with The Conservation Fund to complete the acquisition.