Anne Arundel County's largest tract of continuous forest, the South River Greenway, has added another 73 acres in a step toward expanding protection of the sensitive wetlands, county officials said.
The state Board of Public Works approved the acquisition of the 62-acre Dorothy Boehm property this month, along with an additional 11 acres, using Maryland Program Open Space funds. The expansion adds to the Bacon Ridge Natural Area, located within the nearly 4,000-acre Greenway in Crownsville, which runs on both sides of the South River.
About 10,000 acres have been identified for inclusion in the Greenway, which provides critical habitat for forest birds and rare, threatened and endangered plants, county officials said.
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold said the recent expansion is part of his administration's conservation vision "to protect the headwaters of the South River and expand recreational opportunities for our citizens."
The county's goal is to acquire 1,100 contiguous acres in the Greenway, which is made up of both county- and privately owned property.
The pending purchase of another 46 acres and conveyance of the 546-acre Crownsville forest planned for later this year will move the county closer to that goal.
"This is a big win for the environment and secures land for the enjoyment of current and future generations," said Alyssa Domzal, Greenways coordinator for the Scenic Rivers Land Trust.
The South River Greenway includes two of the largest forests in the county, including 100 miles of streams in four watersheds - Bacon Ridge Branch, Broad Creek, North River and Tarnans Branch - that flow through the area into the South River, according to the Scenic Rivers Land Trust.