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DNR: Wildland law needed to hold off development

Wednesday - 2/5/2014, 2:37am  ET

Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Parts of Maryland's state parks have such rich and fragile ecosystems, state administrators say they'd never disturb them by paving roads or setting up picnic tables -- let alone selling the rights for mining. But they want a state law to set that practice in stone.

Along with Gov. Martin O'Malley, they want to extend the strict protection of Maryland's Wildlands Preservation System to another 21,890 acres of land. Presently the state has 43,773 acres of wildlands.

The Senate's Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee heard testimony on the bill Tuesday.

John Wilson, associate director for stewardship at the Department of Natural Resources, says the department often gets proposals from external parties.

These can include proposals for golf courses and prisons, not just gas and coal extraction, Wilson said.

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