ANNAPOLIS -- The Maryland Board of Public Works has authorized the sale of more than 1,000 acres of state forest in Garrett County so the state can acquire an equal amount of land along the Youghiogheny River corridor.
The state is seeking to buy the land along the scenic corridor from Sang Run to Friendsville to provide greater and more controlled recreational access to the Youghiogheny, the only river in Maryland with a "wild and scenic" designation.
Restrictions approved last year, at the insistence of Western Maryland lawmakers, bar the state from increasing its land holdings in Garrett County.
As a result, the state must sell off an amount of land equal to that it is seeking to acquire along the river corridor.
In addition to buying land from willing sellers along the Youghiogheny, the Department of Natural Resources is trying to consolidate its other land holdings in the state's westernmost county.
"Recreational demands on the Youghiogheny are substantial and have raised serious concerns about public safety, resource protection, trespass and land use control," said Torrey Brown, secretary of natural resources.
"Acquisition along the corridor is advisable to best meet state and local goals for controlled recreational use consistent with the policies underlying the Scenic and Wild Rivers Act."