Historic Belle Vue Farm was Missing Puzzle Piece to Preserving 1,250 Contiguous Acres on Chesapeake Bay
Harford County has acquired 347 acres of Chesapeake Bay waterfront property for a future park, marking one of the most significant conservation achievements in county history. On September 24, representatives from Harford County Government, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Harford Land Trust, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the landowner gathered at the property in Havre de Grace to finalize the purchase of Belle Vue Farm, which includes one mile of Chesapeake Bay coastline and 60 acres in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.
Operated by the same family since well before the American Revolution, Belle Vue Farm was the only undeveloped and unpreserved area of privately-owned Chesapeake Bay shoreline in Harford County. The land is rich in natural and cultural resources and is contiguous with public parkland at Swan Harbor Farm to its north and Eleanor and Millard Tydings Park to the south. It was the missing puzzle piece to a total of 1,250 acres of preserved land on the Oakington Peninsula, including a total of two and a half miles of coastline.
Harford County and the Harford Land Trust have tried for decades to acquire the property, which was once marketed for high intensity development. The purchase price of $6,270,000 will be paid by a combination of local and state Program Open State funding and funding from Aberdeen Proving Ground in partnership with the Harford Land Trust.
“Belle Vue Farm is breathtakingly beautiful. Its historic, environmental, agrarian, and scenic values are unmatched in Harford County,” Harford Land Trust Executive Director Kristin Kirkwood said. “The importance of this landmark conservation success for the upper Chesapeake Bay region cannot be overstated.”
Next steps will include historic and environmental studies to guide planning for recreational and educational uses. These include a potential extension of the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway from Havre de Grace south to Oakington Peninsula.
“We are beyond excited to finally acquire the crown jewel of the Chesapeake Bay coastline in Harford County,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “I would like to thank our funding partners in the State of Maryland, the U.S. Army, and especially the nonprofit Harford Land Trust for their tireless efforts. Together we will preserve this Harford County and Maryland treasure for generations to come.”