Harford Land Trust Partners with APG and County to Preserve Perryman Forest

Perryman Forest preservation partners hold a commemorative sign which will soon be installed on the property. Left-to-right: Todd Beser (APG ACUB Program Manager), Harry Webster (Forest Greens-Perryman Community Association President), Billy Boniface (Harford County Director of Administration), Barry Glassman (Harford County Executive), Major General Randy S. Taylor (Senior Commander, APG), Ben Lloyd (President, HLT), Kristin Kirkwood (Executive Director, HLT), Peg Niland (Former Executive Director, HLT). (Photo credit Ruben Pereida Photography).

The Harford Land Trust is pleased to announce that it has completed the purchase of a 32-acre property known as Perryman Forest at a cost of $935,000. The local land preservation nonprofit had pursued the Perryman-area property for twelve years due to its significant environmental value, proximity to the Bush River, and connectivity with other open space.
Perryman Forest is adjacent to the first property that the Harford Land Trust acquired for preservation in the early 1990s, the 100-acre Forest Greens Lake Preserve. That land has since been conveyed to Harford County government, which uses it as a park. The land trust will manage the Perryman Forest as an extension of the Lake Preserve and hopes to work with the county to join the two properties at some point in the future.

Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) provided $850,000 for the purchase through their Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB), which serves to protect high-value habitat and reduce incompatible development around the installation. APG also reimbursed the Harford Land Trust approximately $100,000 for due diligence, staff, and transaction costs as well as a portion of long-term monitoring and management costs, without which the organization could not have protected the property.

“We are pleased to hear that years of dedication and effort have come to a ‘closing,’” said Colonel Robert Phillips, III, APG Garrison Commander. “Closing the deal on the Perryman Forest parcel is the prime example of how the community, the County, our ACUB partners and the Army can come together to achieve many goals. Preserving open space in a tight knit community, protecting valuable Chesapeake Bay natural resources and providing direct support to research and development military missions have all be accomplished through this endeavor. Furthermore, establishing this buffer will enhance the resiliency of the Bush River shoreline, which in turn helps maintain the continuity of operations at APG and the surrounding community. We are proud to be part of a program that provides a lasting legacy of open space, protects the Chesapeake Bay, and supports our Warfighters.”

Harford County government also contributed $74,204 for the purchase. “I am proud of our partnership with the Harford Land Trust and APG to preserve the Perryman Forest property for the benefit of the community,” said County Executive Barry Glassman. “Harford County’s share of the funding for this purchase came solely from stormwater mitigation fees, paid by developers in other areas of the county, which will help us improve the health of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to my administration, this land was planned for the development of 21 residential lots. Now it will serve our citizens as a passive park and remain in a natural state forever.”

Wetlands on the Perryman Forest property. (Photo credit: Andy Adams)

The Harford Land Trust began a campaign to raise the remainder of funds needed in November 2017. The Forest Greens-Perryman Community Association joined the land trust’s efforts by mailing over 300 flyers to area residents requesting financial support for the purchase. The combined efforts from the community and the land trust resulted in $19,185 from generous donors. “The strong community support for this project only made us more determined to preserve the Perryman Forest,” said Harford Land Trust Executive Director Kristin Kirkwood. “We are so thankful for our loyal HLT members and the many new supporters that contributed to the effort.”

Preservation of Perryman’s open space is vital to maintaining intact Coastal Plain habitat in Harford County. The 32-acre Perryman Forest is characterized by upland forest and wetlands, also known as “tree swamps,” and vernal pools, also known as “flatwoods.” The woods are important habitat for bird, reptile, and amphibian species. The tidal and non-tidal wetlands on the site are hydrologically connected through surface and subsurface flow to the Bush River and subsequently to the Chesapeake Bay, benefiting water quality by retaining nutrients and sediment.

The Harford Land Trust works with landowners, private and public, to conserve land and protect its natural resources, scenic beauty, rural character, and promote a healthy quality of life in Harford County. The organization has directly preserved over 1,300 acres of farmland, forest, and watershed since its founding including Kilgore Falls and parts of Eden Mill and the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center. Visit www.harfordlandtrust.org for more information, to donate, or to become a member.

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