Scenic Rivers Land Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have permanently conserved 130 acres of forest, farm, and the last remaining sawmill in Anne Arundel County. Landowners Gary and Janet Garman granted a conservation easement on their Crownsville property, which could have been developed with at least 24 homes. With the conservation easement in place, development is now limited to just one main house and two guest houses.
“Our family has cared for and worked this land for over 75 years,” said Gary Garman. “We love the forest and we’re proud to be conserving it, so that future generations can enjoy it too.”
The immense ecological value of the land, which is in the Severn River watershed, has been recognized by multiple state and county criteria for conservation prioritization. Located in a Targeted Ecological Area, the 120+ acres of forest are identified as valuable green infrastructure in assessments conducted by both the Department of Natural Resources and Anne Arundel County. Situated adjacent to other conserved properties, the forest is known vital habitat for bird species that require large forest areas for breeding, known as Forest Interior Dwelling Species, and classified as “Extremely Significant for Biodiversity Conservation” according to the state’s Biodiversity Conservation Network (BioNet). In addition to the forest and a small farm, the property contains wetlands, half a mile of streams, and is adjacent to the Round Bay Bog, an ecologically unique habitat for diverse species of flora and fauna.
“The Garman property is number eight on our list of the Top 100 most important properties in need of conservation in the county,” said Scenic Rivers Executive Director Sarah Knebel. “I cannot express how grateful we are that the Garmans are conservation-minded landowners. They understand how special their land is, know that it’s worth conserving, and were willing to work with us to see it protected forever.”
Most of the funding for the conservation easement was provided by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Public access is not a condition of the funding; the property remains privately held. Additional funding was generously provided by The Helena Foundation.
“We were pleased to work with the Scenic Rivers Land Trust and the Garman family to protect this ecologically significant property in perpetuity,” said Department of Natural Resources Land Acquisition and Planning Director Hilary Bell. “Working with willing landowners and land trust partners is key to protecting Maryland’s natural resources throughout the state.”