Architecture & Real Estate | July 23, 2022 5:41 pm

Girl Scouts’ Possible Sale of 633 Acres of Maryland Land Draws Controversy

It's a complex situation for all involved

For Sale sign
Preservation and development are at odds in Maryland.
Getty Images/Tetra images RF

What happens when an organization that’s in need of a financial boost opts to sell off land that’s historically been undeveloped space? That’s become a growing question when it comes to the Boy Scouts, with various chapters selling off land that could stay preserved — or might end up being the site of new developments.

They aren’t the only outdoors-minded organization at the center of a controversy, however. The Washington Post recently published an editorial by Janet Gingold, chair of the Prince George’s Sierra Club addressing 633 acres in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Gingold’s article notes that the land in question was donated by developers to the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. The organization plans to sell the land and use the money to fund their operations.

Gingold is herself a former Girl Scout, and notes that “[f]unding for scouting is important.” Her argument, though, is that the ecological loss incurred by losing 633 acres of forest takes a higher precedent that that. The fact that forests play an important role in the carbon cycle, and in mitigating the effects of climate change, also comes into play.

We’re living through a moment where preservation and rewilding are gaining momentum even as the YIMBY movement also gains ground. As Gingold herself writes, these two don’t need to be in conflict — a lot comes down to where new developments are located relative to existing infrastructure. But the conflict over these 633 acres puts a lot of the debate into sharp focus.