ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A bill to greatly expand the number of state-owned acres strictly protected as wildlands is heading for a hearing in Annapolis.
But the bill slated for a Senate committee hearing Tuesday afternoon is missing a parcel in far western Maryland that generated controversy when the O'Malley administration proposed it for wildlands protection in September.
The nearly 4,000-acre Youghiogheny (YAWK'-ih-GAY'-nee) River Corridor in Garrett County would have been among the largest of 10 new state wildlands.
It was dropped after critics complained that the designation would prohibit development of a proposed Eastern Continental Divide hiking-and-biking trail. The trail would be a loop off of the Great Allegheny Passage between Pittsburgh and Cumberland.
The bill as now written would increase the wildlands inventory by about 22,000 acres, or nearly 50 percent.