On Sine Die, Chesapeake Conservancy Applauds Maryland General Assembly, Governor Hogan on Conservation Victories in FY 22 Budget for Maryland
Annapolis, Md. – At the end of its 2021 session, the Maryland General Assembly passed the state budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022 which provides substantial funding to support Maryland state and local parks and open space protection.
The FY 22 budget provides full funding – a total of $178.9 million – for Maryland’s Program Open Space, a suite of programs funded through a real estate transfer tax that support land conservation, agricultural land preservation, state and local parks, historic preservation and Maryland’s Heritage Areas Program. Since its establishment in 1969 by the General Assembly, Program Open Space has helped to protect nearly 400,000 acres of land in Maryland, and the program has provided more than 6,000 grants to local communities for parks and park development.
The General Assembly has also included repayments to Program Open Space from past diversions to the General Fund, and the budget directs nearly $23 million to address critical maintenance at state parks. Secondly, in response to a significant increase in local park usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Assembly also included an additional $85 million that will support local park improvements.
In addition to Program Open Space, the General Assembly provided significant funding for park and recreation related projects in Miscellaneous Capital Grant Programs. In total, FY 22 funding that will support parks, public access, and conservation in Maryland totals to more than $305 million.
Chesapeake Conservancy President & CEO Joel Dunn applauded the General Assembly and Governor Hogan on the Maryland FY 22 budget.
“Over the past year, we have seen the great importance of parks and open space in Maryland, which offer Marylanders a safe place for recreation. Parks and open space benefit our environment, they benefit public health and they also support outdoor recreation which is an economic driver in Maryland and in the Chesapeake Bay region. I thank Governor Hogan for including full funding for Program Open Space in his FY 22 budget, and I thank the Maryland General Assembly for appropriating full funding to this vital program, as well as funding other programs that will support Maryland parks and open space.”