Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan

Updated every five years by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan is a comprehensive, statewide plan to guide efforts to conserve natural and cultural resources and enhance access to recreation and open space on State lands. The Plan identifies priorities, goals, and measurable action items for a five-year period to encourage equitable access to the outdoors and stewardship of natural and cultural resources. The Plan recognizes that climate risks such as sea level rise, storm surge, drought, wildfire, flooding, and loss of high quality cold water all have the potential to negatively impact outdoor accessibility and recreation and that land conservation has habitat, recreation, and adaptation value.

The four key strategies identified in the Plan include to: 

  • Coordinate local, county, and state planning efforts
  • Promote the economic, health, and environmental benefits of outdoor recreation and natural resource protection
  • Improve equitable access to water and land based recreation for all populations
  • Connect DNR trails and public lands to the place where people live, work, and play

Chapter 5 presents Maryland DNR’s efforts to conserve natural resources and address climate change through various programs. As a result of DNR adopting its Building Resilience to Climate Change policy, climate change considerations have been integrated into its land conservation programs. GreenPrint is one such program highlighting “Wetland Adaptation Areas” and wetlands preservation as a priority due the value they offer for water quality; as habitat for plants, wildlife, and fisheries; and for extreme storm and flooding protection in coastal and floodplain areas. 

The plan includes a discussion on making Maryland’s natural and open spaces more accessible to under-served communities, with a focus on the Park Equity Analysis Tool which maps and provides statewide, quantitative analyses of where public lands access needs are greatest. The tool prioritizes areas with high concentrations of children under 16, high concentrations of poverty, high population density, and low access to public park space. The tool can help identify areas in need of park space; streamline green space funding; aid planners in green infrastructure, parks, and recreation development; and combine with other data, such as health, for planning purposes.

DNR has also incorporated resilience provisions into its conservation easement program such as identifying “no-build” areas in sea level rise inundation zones, and more stringent requirements on shoreline stabilization. Additionally, properties with over 5 acres of identified
“Climate Adaptation Areas” qualify for free Coastal Resilience Plans. The plans identify a suite of adaptation measures that could be implemented on the property such as living shorelines, wetland restoration, storm surge buffers, and removal of impervious surfaces and inundation hazards, among others. 

DNR’s Community Connections program, among other objectives, helps communities prepare for climate change and build resilience.

Additionally, the DNR partners with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) which integrate science and management at the landscape scale to address climate change and other issues.


Publication Date: 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)
  • Progress report

States Affected:


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