Smart growth group calls area top conservation priority in Maryland

Friday, Nov. 14, 2008

An expanse of 25,000 acres in Southern Maryland is a "conservation priority" for 2008, one of six key environmental sites identified by the Smart Growth Alliance at its recent annual recognition ceremony.

Known as the George Washington Maryland Conservation Area, the land mass extends along the Maryland shoreline of the Potomac River south from Broad Creek to Mattawoman Creek. Indian Head Highway runs through the eastern portion of the area.

"This stretch of the Potomac shoreline is renowned for its beauty and recreational value," said Lee Epstein, lands program director at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and chairman of the alliance's conservation jury, in a press release. "It remains much as it was 250 years ago when George Washington first came to live at Mount Vernon."

Epstein said the 25,000-acre conservation area boasts a wealth of environmental, cultural and historic resources, from wetlands to farms to nationally significant historic sites. Many of these pristine resources are not permanently protected and are therefore subject to the land use and development pressures typical of rapidly growing communities, he added.

The Accokeek Foundation and George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate have joined forces to monitor these resources and promote their preservation.

For more information on the alliance, go to For more information on the George Washington Maryland Conservation Area, contact Wilton Corkern at the Accokeek Foundation at 301-283-2113 or James Rees at Mount Vernon at 703-799-8650.