ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to expand Maryland's wildland system has been approved by the state Legislature.
The House of Delegates passed the bill Tuesday 106-29, sending the bill to the governor for his signature.
It will permanently protect an additional 22,000 acres of sensitive state-owned lands.
The O'Malley administration says the last new wildland designations were made 12 years ago to expand the system to 29 areas in 15 counties to cover 43,779 acres.
Roughly 12,000 acres of the newly protected land would be in western Maryland in Garrett and Allegany counties. The initial proposal would have been 16,000 acres in those counties, but the state agreed to remove the Youghiogheny River Corridor.
The new protected areas also are in Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Somerset and Worcester counties.
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