65 Acre Flora Corner Road Property in St. Mary’s County Gets Conservation Protection

October 18, 2021

On October 7, 2021, the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust acquired a conservation easement on a 65.88-acre property in the Mechanicsville, Md., area owned by Nellie Catherine Kurzmann. The transaction was made possible by funds provided by the Rural Legacy Program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which will co-hold the easement with PTLT.

The property on Flora Corner Road. consists of three parcels of farmland totaling approximately 12 acres and another 54 acres of forested land, six of which are environmentally important wetlands. The wetlands drain into Persimmon Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River.

“As with all our easement acquisitions, this one represents a win both for the protection of valuable Southern Maryland land and for the owner,” said Frank Allen, PTLT president. “As a result, this land will be protected in perpetuity. Thanks to DNR and St. Mary’s County staff for their assistance in making this happen”

Mrs. Kurzmann stated that she was delighted to make this transaction, and that her reasons for doing so were to assure that the property would always stay as farmland and woods, that this was a good thing for the environment, and that she would be able to keep the land in the family.

The Flora Corner Rd transaction brings PTLT’s total of protected Southern Maryland land to 5,966 acres. Earlier this year PTLT acquired an easement on the 117-acre Beale property in Mechanicsville.

Earlier in 2021, Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) closed on one of its most significant easements to date —77.51 culturally and naturally significant acres in Great Mills, St. Mary’s County.

PTLT started working early in 2018 with the property’s owners, Bob, Allan and Mike Cecil, to acquire a conservation easement to the Clifton Factory property. Funding came from Program Open Space of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The property, now protected forever, is located immediately adjacent to the southern end of the St. Mary’s River State Park where the river flows beneath Indian Bridge Rd. It includes land at the confluence at the mainstem of the St. Mary’s River and two of its western branches. Mostly forested, a large portion of the property lies within a Sensitive Species Project Review Area, and much of it is Forest Interior Dwelling Species habitat. Its river sections support freshwater mussels, fish, and macro-invertebrates.

The tract includes significant cultural resources, including pre-colonial and early colonial occupation and industry. This property adjoins the Cecil’s Mill Historic District, a national historic district consisting of Cecil’s Mill, Cecil’s Country Store, the old Cecil home, and Old Holy Face Church. The newly protected land is believed to include sites that played a role in the early mills and factories of Southern Maryland which contributed to the area being named Great Mills. An early colonial potter operated on a portion of the property, using a rare purple clay quarried from the site.

“It’s not often that PTLT has an opportunity to protect such an ecologically and culturally significant tract of land,” said the organization’s president, Frank Allen. “The Cecil brothers showed remarkable patience, given project delays due to the pandemic. I’m appreciative of the many volunteer hours of work by Bob Prine of PTLT; Also thanks to Program Open Space’s Cheryl Wise, as well as Michele Snyder and Bill McKissick of the Dugan, McKissick & Longmore law firm to make this project work.”

The mission of the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is to sustain the region’s biodiversity and water resources through a network of protected landscapes. The organization recognizes that forest and farmland and the region’s unique historic and scenic character are vital to a healthy economy and citizens’ sense of well-being. PTLT acquires land and conservation easements by purchase or donation. It has conserved more than 5,765 acres of land in perpetuity. For more information, visit www.PTLT.org.