Staff from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) and Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) signed 678 acres of Oldfield Point Farms, LLC. into a permanent conservation easement, forever protecting what land conservationists consider a “keystone Eastern Shore property” – meaning a large, intact farm visible from the road, containing waterfront property, and home to wildlife. The Starkey family, owners of Oldfield Point Farms, worked with ESLC and its partner organizations to make the easement a reality.
According to a press release,
The easement is a big win for preserving open space and prime agricultural land on the Eastern Shore. This success was made possible by the generosity of the Starkey family and the efforts of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, MET, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, MD State Highway Administration, and Kent County.
The keystone property has been considered a priority by ESLC for many years, as the number of large Eastern Shore farms that haven’t already been subdivided or preserved is relatively small. The conservation easement protects about one-half of Oldfield Point Farms from large scale development, and preserves the natural resources and prime farmland for the production of diversified grain and vegetable crops.
Also resulting from the easement, a portion of the property’s shoreline now provides public access on a scenic shoreline along one of the Eastern Shore’s most pristine waterways.
“Since 2007, MET, working in partnership with Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, has completed seven easements along the Byway protecting more than 2,500 acres of scenic lands”, adds Jared Parks, Conservation Easement Program Manager for Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. “In addition to protecting lands on the scenic byway, these efforts have also conserved important wildlife habitat and prime agricultural lands. We are very pleased to help protect this important property, further securing the scenic, rural, ecological and agricultural character of this landscape.”
It should be noted that this easement would not have been possible without funding allocated from Program Open Space – the state’s financial and technical assistance provided for the planning, acquisition, and/or development of recreation land or open space areas. ESLC also notes that without the tireless work of former Congressman, now ESLC Environmental Education Director, Wayne Gilchrest, to have federal money earmarked for the preservation of land along the National Scenic Byway, this environmental win may have not happened.
Visit the ESLC webpage for more information.