The Maryland General Assembly enacted the Rural Legacy Program in 1997. It was created as part of the state’s Smart Growth initiatives to protect large contiguous areas called Rural Legacy Areas. This program promotes natural resource based industries, provide greenbelts, preserve critical habitats for native plant and wildlife species, and protect riparian forests and wetland.
The efforts to apply for and create these protection areas were regional and included Montgomery and Washington Counties. Due to these efforts, 2 official Rural Legacy Areas were created in Frederick County, 1 in the Burkittsville Region, known as Mid-Maryland Rural Legacy Area, and the other in the Adamstown Region, the Carrollton Manor Rural Legacy Area. The team that worked on this project received recognition from the Maryland Chapter of American Planners Association in October 1998. Over 6,700 acres have been permanently preserved in Frederick County through the Rural Legacy Program.