Legacy Dpen Space

Legacy Open Space (LOS) is a bold, new program to conserve Montgomery County’s most outstanding open space as a means of protecting the County’s environment, quality of life, and economic vitality. The program identifies natural resources, open space, farmland, and historic lands for conservation in a functional master plan developed by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and a Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

Legacy Open Space recognizes the critical need to act now to protect exceptional open spaces for our children and grandchildren. As Montgomery County becomes increasingly developed and the population continues to grow, human activity encroaches upon open space lands, which become more precious and scarce. As stewards of Montgomery County’s open spaces, we have an important responsibility to conserve and interpret our open space heritage.

Legacy Open Space program initiatives include:

  • Safeguarding thousands of acres of exemplary and diverse natural resources
  • Contributing to the protection of water supplies by reducing development of thousands of acres of land in the Patuxent River Watershed
  • Creating a national model for heritage protection that embraces historic preservation
  • Connecting new and existing open spaces to form a 100-mile “ribbon of green” trail from the Potomac River to the Northwest Branch
  • Assisting our farmers in maintaining the agricultural use of thousands of acres of at-risk farmland and rural open spaces
  • Protecting green spaces in highly urban areas
  • Developing a new regional park.

In the year 2000, the Montgomery County Council appropriated $33 million for the Legacy Open Space program, to be used over a six-year period. The first LOS purchase was the $3 million, 213-acre Bucklodge Forest located northeast of Barnesville that was threatened by a golf course development.

While the Montgomery County government’s commitment to the Legacy Open Space program is substantial, an ongoing stream of revenue will be required to support costly acquisitions. State and federal grants will be needed to complement local government’s share. And, the purchase of some properties and easements will need to be donated or sold at bargain prices in exchange for tax advantages, naming rights, and other incentives (see MAKING DONATIONS -Donating Assets).

You do not need to be the owner of a property designated in the Legacy Open Space Functional Master Plan to contribute to the program. The Parks Foundation has established a Legacy Fund to accept gifts of cash, stock, securities and real estate that can be used to acquire specific properties or for leveraging other critical purchases when the need arises. For the Legacy Fund, the Parks Foundation only accepts gifts of real estate that are not appropriate for parkland or conservation, and all properties are placed on the market for sale to build endowment for parks improvements and acquisitions.

To learn more about making contributions to the Legacy Open Space Program, telephone the Parks Foundation office at (301) 767-0002. A copy of the Legacy Open Space Functional Master Plan will be mailed to you, upon request, or visit www.mc-mncppc.org/legacy_open_space/index.htm