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Retiring senator donates 52 acres for conservation

Sun colleague Annie Linskey reports:

Outgoing Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus and his wife, Sharon, set aside 52 acres of their land in Somerset County for conservation, a donation that abuts a larger parcel the couple agreed not to develop several years ago.

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The property, which is on Back Shelltown Road south of Snow Hill, is valued at about $314,000, according to a preliminary estimate from the Department of Natural Resources. Stoltzfus said he'd initially planned to build homes on the property, but decided against it.

"It is like a little garden of Eden," he said. The land is wooded and full of turkeys, deer and other wildlife, Stoltzfus said.

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The Maryland Environmental Trust will oversee the property, though it will remain in Stoltzfus' name. Under the terms of the conservation easement, any future landowner will have to respect the arrangement and will not be allowed to develop the property. Stoltzfus will receive a tax credit for the donation.

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