Environmentalists urge preservation of 1,700 acres Land adjacent to 6 parks and refuges

February 17, 1993|By Joshua Shaffer | Joshua Shaffer,Capital News Service

WASHINGTON -- Environmental groups are urging the federal government to purchase and preserve more than 1,700 acres of land adjacent to six parks and wildlife refuges in Maryland.

The Wilderness Society led a coalition of conservation groups in calling for land purchases at the Antietam National Battlefield, Monocacy National Battlefield, Assateague Island National Seashore, Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and land between Fort Washington and Piscataway Park in Prince George's County.

The coalition estimated that the land would cost $11.2 million.

Members want the government to buy 370 acres of the Antietam battlefield that are privately owned and could be developed. The cost is estimated at $1 million.

Antietam is in an area west of Frederick that is growing, but Susan Moore, acting superintendent of the battlefield, said she is unaware of any development plans.

Nearby Monocacy Battlefield, another Civil War battle site, has 75 acres that the coalition wants the government to buy. That land will cost $5.2 million.

Ms. Moore, who is also acting superintendent of Monocacy, said that although Congress appropriated $7 million to buy a portion of privately owned land, developers will build an industrial park on the remainder without the additional purchase.

On the Eastern Shore, the owners of 96 acres across Sinepuxent Bay from Assateague Island will sell the land to builders should Congress not come through with $1.1 million, said Roger Rector, superintendent of the Assateague Island National Seashore.

The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, an island at the mouth of the Chester River in Kent County, would be threatened if 900 acres of private land nearby was cleared for development, the coalition said. That land would cost $1.1 million.

The coalition also want the government to buy six tracts scattered along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. And, land along the Potomac River in Prince George's is sought for a proposed bicycle and hiking trail linking Fort Washington and the National Colonial Farm.

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