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View from Trenton Church Road
A Conversation with Dan and Julie Colhoun

By Victoria Campbell Collins

In 1982 Dan and Julie were among the first to place their farm into an easement with MALPF. While there was no immediate threat, Dan’s strategic mind foresaw the probably path of unbridled growth from the south County. Not resting on the protection of his own farm, Dan became involved with and later Chairman of the County Agricultural Advisory Board, a theme repeated when he joined the board of the Baltimore County Landmark Commission and later serving as a both member and Chairman of the States’ MALFP board. The focus was to preserve Class I and II agricultural land for farming.


We know Dan for his direct and last impact on the Piney Run Rural Legacy area, administered by LPT. Along with Dan, as small group of neighbors meet four times a year to discuss which landowners might be inclined or should be inclined to place their land in easement. While the MALPF program centers on productive agricultural land, the State’s Rural Legacy program goes further to protect the slopes, forest, and stream. Each with its own rating system, the combination of programs combined with the possibility for donated easements has been at the center of preserving the forty square miles of open space which we call home. 


I asked Dan what timeline might he expect once a potential farm is identified? While the answer might be years (five), the truth is in the story as each farm has its own web of circumstances created by the generations of family, the neighbors, and relationships forged over years of discussion. The heart of the success of the preservation programs in the Piney Run area spring from these long winding stories and friendships –local community at its best. 


One has only to see the well organized shed row with tractors, hayrolls, and Dan’s office or to visit his “shop” to see that Dan and Julie live close to the earth and their farm. Do not be surprised if chickens, peacocks, or even a turkey is in residence next to the barn, also home to various ponies and horses. Martha Williams, Dan and Julie’s daughter and current Head of U.S Fish and Wildlife, points to the foundations of her environmental education – at the dinner table with Dan and Julie on Trenton Church Road, next to the cozy room with a fire, tea, and cookies. 
Thank you Dan and Julie. 


I can think of no better place to be than in the Colhoun’s cozy sitting room with a fire, tea, cookies and various four- legged family members. To all of you who have shared the pleasure, this is where connections are made and ideas born which have led to dramatic changes for the good of North Baltimore County farmland and agriculture. Dan, an engineer by training and a farmer by heart has been central to saving what we know to be the open spaces of North Baltimore County.

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