Group wants to preserve farm near Sandy Point

Conservation Fund trying to buy property

July 28, 2000|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

With nearly $6 million in state and federal funds earmarked to assist its preservation efforts, the Conservation Fund is negotiating to purchase the 300-acre Holly Beach Farm near Sandy Point State Park.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced this week that $2 million from the state Department of Transportation and $2 million from the Department of Natural Resource's Program Open Space would be added to $2 million from the National Park Service to buy the forest and wetlands on the Holly Beach property if the sale went through.

A representative of the Conservation Fund said the nonprofit land acquisition and preservation group was in negotiations with the owners of Holly Beach Farm but that the organization did not want to comment further on the talks.

Michael L. Shultz, vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said his organization has been trying to assist in tile negotiations. He said the Conservation Fund has discussed selling development rights to the state to prevent building on the land if the deal goes through.

"We'd like to see the land protected," Shultz said. "It's both beautiful and valuable to the bay."

The land contains Chesapeake Bay shoreline, a freshwater pond, wetlands, a bald eagle nesting site. and an abundance of waterfowl, the governor's office said.

Susan O'Brien, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources said that although the Holly Beach Farm property is yards from the popular state park, there are no intentions, if the Conservation Fund acquires the property, for a similar, parklike development.

"We want to pretty much preserve it as is," she said, "enhancing it for additional opportunities for waterfowl, for eagles' nests."

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