House passes wildland expansion measure

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Local,Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The House of Delegates has passed a bill that would extend wildland protection to nearly 22,000 more acres of state-owned land.

Delegates passed the measure 99-36 Tuesday. The Senate unanimously passed a similar bill on Feb. 14, but the two houses have not yet taken up the same version.

Del. Mike McDermott, a Worcester County Republican, objected to provisions that would restrict park projects like boat ramps and new trail systems, saying, "It handcuffs our future."

But Del. Wendell Beitzel, also a Republican, said wildlands give a valuable glimpse of Maryland before any development occurred here.

The House adopted an amendment from McDermott to allow limited management on two wildlands in his area, such as improving the habitat for certain wildlife and establishing access roads.

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