Why do people keep telling private land owners what they should do with their property?
In my opinion, it’s not because people like to fight. It’s because people care about their communities, open spaces, wildlife and nature. I totally get it – I’m a wildlife enthusiast and photographer. When people see a property become a threat to their status quo and to the future of their community and/or envision a different use for it, there are a few resources they might want to consider. And this is isn’t about one property – this is about those that are for sale and those that could be in the future. Full disclosure – my community and the one adjoining it have been involved in these scenarios before and there is currently a debate over a very small piece of land that belongs to someone else. The sign on the land is the cause for debate.
These resources should be considered when advocating for open space. Getting a homeowners association (or group of them) involved is a good start – as is pointing them in the right direction for help. These resources aren’t a guarantee, but who knows – they might be very helpful. And some of these resources are for land owners who might want to consider safeguarding their land against development for perpetuity. Keep in mind not everyone knows about every program out there, including me. This is a small sampling and please, if you know of others, add them in the comments.
Project Open Space – a program though the Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources that “provides financial and technical assistance to local subdivisions for the planning, acquisition, and/or development of recreation land or open space areas … More than 5,800 park and conservation area projects have been assisted through Program Open Space Local grants.”
TKF Foundation / Open Spaces, Sacred Places – this is an organization and program that supports “the creation of public green spaces that offer a temporary place of sanctuary, encourage reflection, provide solace, and engender peace and well-being.”
Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program – a program through the National Park Service that “supports partnerships with
communities across America in achieving their conservation and outdoor recreation visions.”
Conservation Easements and Land Trusts
The Maryland Environmental Trust – works “with landowners, local communities, and citizen land trusts to protect Maryland’s most treasured landscapes and natural resources as a legacy for future generations. We accomplish this work by providing direct assistance, information and innovative tools to ensure the ongoing stewardship and public concern for the natural, historic, and scenic resources of the state.”
Scenic Rivers Land Trust – “works with landowners and other partners to preserve natural and scenic areas in Anne Arundel County. This work is accomplished through landowner education and holding and facilitating land protection agreements.”
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy – “helps save land and promote sound land use planning from the C&D Canal in Cecil County all the way to the Nanticoke River in Dorchester County.” The organization works in in Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties.”
Why the sunflower pictures? This is one example (a huge one) of Project Open Space funding. Yes, it works. Read this Washington Post article from 1981 about the history of the property where these photos were shot – – https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1981/03/26/state-wants-to-save-farm-as-crucial-link-for-parks/dcbb2a34-c1b5-4057-93d8-bec3fae864cb/?utm_term=.41b329a45d3dhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1981/03/26/state-wants-to-save-farm-as-crucial-link-for-parks/dcbb2a34-c1b5-4057-93d8-bec3fae864cb/?utm_term=.41b329a45d3d