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ACLT Mission

We promote land conservation and preservation throughout Southern Maryland. We preserve and conserve the natural and cultural resources of the Parkers Creek and Governors Run watersheds for the benefit of this and future generations. We provide environmentally sustainable public access to managed properties for educational, scientific, recreational and cultural purposes. Read more in our 2019-2023 5-Year Plan.

History of ACLT

The American Chestnut Land Trust, established in 1986, was at the forefront of a new grassroots land conservation movement, as reported in November 1988, by National Geographic magazine:

“Citizens Join Together to Save Their Environment.


When residents of Scientists Cliffs, Maryland, heard that forests and abandoned farms surrounding their homes were to be sold, possibly to developers, they bought the land. A tract of 436 wooded acres near the Chesapeake















Bay became the American Chestnut Land Trust.” Read the full article here.

ACLT’s charter members named their fledgling organization after a one-time giant of the eastern United States hardwood forest, the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) because the Maryland State Champion surviving American Chestnut tree resided on the 436-acre “Gravatt” property which was the ACLT’s first acquisition.

These individuals hoped that by preserving this small piece of forest, they could preserve something of the “scenic, natural and historic” sites in Calvert County from the tremendous development pressure of nearby Baltimore and Washington, D.C.


Since its founding, the ACLT has greatly expanded its land preservation vision beyond the initial property. In the 1990’s the land trust partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The land trust agreed to undertake the long-term management of any properties acquired by The Nature Conservancy, and later, by the state. At the present time, ACLT directly manages about 3,000 acres in the Parkers Creek and adjacent Governors Run watersheds. Over 4,000 acres, in total, have been preserved in these two watersheds since ACLT’s founding.


Want to get involved with and support ACLT? Click here to learn the many ways you can.





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