The Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (BAC) has put another significant portion of Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation (BCMSR) under a conservation easement that will preserve it in a wooded and undeveloped condition in perpetuity. BCMSR is the official camp of the Baltimore Area Council. The BCMSR is located in Harford County about 5 minutes from the PA border. The camp is about 1691 acres in size. On August 4, 2009, the last administrative hurdle was cleared to receive $3,255,000 from the Federal Forest Legacy Program (FFLP) and place a conservation easement on 376 acres of the BCMSR thus permanently protecting and preserving this acreage for Scouting in Central Maryland.
This process started in 2004. In order to obtain FFLP approval and funding, BAC had to have at least 25% of the easement value funded by another source. In January 2005, 391 acres, the area formerly known as the Pines, was included in the Harford County Agricultural Preservation Program and BAC received a check for $1.5 million. BCMSR qualified for this Harford County program because of its legal status as a tree farm. These funds have provided the opportunity to create a separate Broad Creek Endowment Fund to provide the resources to fund current and future capital needs of the camp.
The Task Force has not accomplished all of what it set out to do. Because the FFLP funding level for BCMSR was limited within the Federal allocation process, only a portion of the remaining unprotected acreage could be covered. The acreage included in the FFLP easement is basically the actively used areas of the existing three camps. BAC hopes to be able to put the remaining acreage (approx. 900 acres) under easement at some point in the future so that the entire property is protected and the directives of the Executive Board are fulfilled. At the present time, funding availability is extremely limited at the county, state and federal levels.
Fundamentally, a conservation easement allows BAC to continue their current ownership and use of BCMSR, while realizing some of the value of the property now by restricting development of that property in the future. FFLP is a federally funded program, administered by the state, designed to protect critical tracts of our nation’s privately owned forest land from conversion to non-forest uses. The FFLP requires us to maintain forest cover on at least 85% of BCMSR. In addition to our current 10 acres of “development” (pools, parking lots, cabins, etc.) BAC negotiated an allowance of up to 19 acres of additional development in the future. There are also other programs including Harford County Agricultural Land Preservation and Maryland’s Program Open Space, with similar objectives.
On August 4, 2009, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of Public Works approved the FFLP intent of putting an easement on 376 acres as designated in the survey maps and appraisal provided to them. On August 13, 2009, 2:30PM at BAC, 701 Wyman Park Dr. Baltimore MD 21211 the FFLP presented a check for $3,255,000 to the BAC Board Chair Barry Gossett to be added to the BCMSR endowment. For more information contact Reed Blom 443-573-2501 or go to the BAC website www.baltimorebsa.org.
Source: Baltimore Area Council