CUMBERLAND — The state Board of Public Works authorized funding Wednesday to add acreage to the Mountain Ridge Rural Legacy Area.
“The grant will be used to acquire a 93.532-acre conservation easement on the Mullan Property. The conservation easement will protect productive upland forest and provide water quality protection to Braddock Run, a Class I trout stream,” said Christine Buckley of the state treasurer’s office in a notification to Sen. George Edwards and Delegate Kevin Kelly.
The easement will be held by the Allegany County Board of Commissioners. The value of the easement is $2,154 per acre, according to Board of Public Works documents. The total amount of the funds approved for the project is $227,526. That’s in addition to a previously approved $642,936 in 2011.
Despite some concerns, the Department of Natural Rseources approved the acquisition.
“Mineral rights are severed on this property. DNR has approved moving forward because these ecologically-significant tracts are steeply sloped, very close to Braddock Run, and adjacent to high density development. These factors make the site a poor location for mineral extraction,” according to the Board of Public Work’s agenda.
The rural area also includes a golden eagle flyway. The Rural Legacy Program preserves large, contiguous tracts of land and enhances natural resources, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while supporting sustainable land for natural resource-based industries, as stated on the DNR website.
The rural legacy area is on the western side of the county, stretching from the Pennsylvania line almost to Keyser, W.Va.
A large section of the area is already in public ownership: Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area, 9,012 acres and Dan’s Mountain State Park, 485 acres. In addition, a 153-acre Fort Hill Preserve, owned by The Nature Conservancy, is also included.
Contact Matthew Bieniek at email@example.com. Staff writer Michael Sawyers contributed to this story.