The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) and Scenic Rivers Land Trust have permanently protected 158 acres of forested land located on the Crownsville Hospital property. Anne Arundel County granted a conservation easement, which eliminates development rights, on this portion of the 460-acre hospital site as a condition of the transfer of ownership from the State of Maryland to the county.
“Protecting the forested land on this property is one of our first steps toward transforming Crownsville Hospital Memorial Park into the green, healing heart at the center of our county,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman.
The conserved portion of the hospital property is almost entirely wooded. A network of over three miles of streams—tributaries of Bacon Ridge Branch and, in turn, the South River—run through the forest. The conserved area is classified as “Significant for Biodiversity Conservation” according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Biodiversity Conservation Network (BioNet) digital map system.
“We are pleased to have worked with Anne Arundel County and Scenic Rivers to protect this land,” said MET Director John Turgeon. “And we are proud to play a role in building a hopeful future for a place with a difficult history.”
None of the hospital buildings are incorporated into the conserved area, only the forest, which expands upon the forests of nearby Bacon Ridge Natural Area, a portion of which is also conserved by MET and Scenic Rivers, which has over 1,000 acres of forest that provides vital wildlife habitat and opportunities for recreation via a system of more than 12 miles of trails.
“The connection between conserved land and healthy, thriving communities is increasingly obvious,” said Scenic Rivers Executive Director Sarah Knebel. “It is fitting that conserved forest is part of the plan for the future of the Crownsville Hospital property.”