Update 11/21: The Development of Guilford Woods has been paused and Graduate Housing will be constructed as a re-development of an existing residence hall. Thanks to all that raised their voice. Read on for more on this . (Press: Maryland Matters)
Some of the trees in this mature mixed forest date to the Civil War, this development proposal would take this accessible and established forest out of public ownership and sell it to a private developer.
A group of local residents has galvanized around this forest in order to Save Guilford Woods. This group has identified places where the needed housing can be developed closer to transit by re-developing other areas surrounding campus instead of losing this forest which is part of the PG Green Infrastructure Network.
MCA has written to UMD President Pines and urges others (particularly those with UMD connections) to do the same. Find all you need to pen your email here.
Greetings President Pines,
We are writing from Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve to urge University leaders to protect Guilford Woods.
Ecologists are just beginning to understand the real benefits of tree cover and forests for surrounding communities. Specifically, the critical importance of forests in already developed areas for public health has expanded tree cover from a solely environmental concern to a social justice issue as the idea of "tree equity" comes to the fore. Despite the University's commitment to climate mitigation, the campus is still a heat island - an effect tempered by the surrounding forest - a rare urban forest that is accessible to residents relying on transit.
Here in the Ag Reserve, we have been working with the Montgomery County Planning Department to identify sites and plant forests along stream banks in our county to mitigate the loss of forests to development similar to this proposal. From first-hand experience of this work, finding and planting these parcels is time consuming and expensive and it takes many years for these forests to become established ecosystems like Guilford Woods.
While reforestation is important, it is as they say - the best time to plant a forest was 20 years ago - with the addendum that the best time to preserve one is today.
Forests, particularly established forests are infrastructure and Guilford Woods is in fact designated a part of the PG Green Infrastructure Network - there is no better or cheaper way to engineer the water and air quality, habitat, flood control, cooling and other health benefits it provides the campus and surrounding community.
We ask that you consider the many other proposed locations for needed student housing as Guilford Woods is already serving its highest use as an established urban forest.
Thank You For Your Consideration,
Montgomery Countryside Alliance