Across the hill­sides

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - Pho­tos and text by Karl Mer­ton Fer­ron

Vol­un­teers scram­bled through the day, shut­tling vis­i­tors back and forth. Chil­dren tossed foot­balls on hill­tops. And adults tossed bean bags be­tween races in the 17th an­nual Legacy Chase, part of the 2017 Na­tional Steeplechase Sched­ule, held on over 300 acres of pre­served lands in the Hunt Val­ley area.

At the steeplechase course, de­vel­oped through the LPT (Land Preser­va­tion Trust), spec­ta­tors carted pic­nic foods, blan­kets and ta­bles to the rolling hill­side, brav­ing an un­sea­son­ably warm, hu­mid day to en­joy eight horse races, as eques­tri­ans leapt over tim­ber jumps while young­sters com­peted in stick pony rac­ing and re­ceived tem­po­rary tat­toos.

While the Legacy Chase sup­ported GBMC Health­Care, the an­nual event took place on lands that could have been lost for­ever, had it not been saved by lo­cal res­i­dents years ago. Shawan Farms’ 291 acres was sold in 1997 by its heirs as an op­por­tu­nity to the LPT, which pro­tects the fields and wood­lands from the de­vel­op­ment threat­en­ing the coun­try­side.

The LPT has per­ma­nently se­cured al­most 13,000 acres and 340 properties from be­ing de­vel­oped in Baltimore County, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Re­act­ing af­ter 475 acres of the his­toric Hay­fields farm was seized and trans­formed into a golf re­sort, a dozen Baltimore County res­i­dents banded to­gether, ac­cord­ing to a 1997 ar­ti­cle by Sun re­porter Liz At­wood, to pre­serve the prop­erty, which is two miles west of In­ter­state 83 off Shawan Road.

With a $2.5 mil­lion con­tract, the group snatched up the site, which was avail­able to de­vel­op­ers.

Aflut­ter, ridden by jockey Jack Doyle, beats jockey Bernard Dal­ton, who rides Al­bus (3), rid­ing to vic­tory in the Na­tional Steeplechase As­so­ci­a­tion race.

Mil­lie Hege, 13, of Owings Mills cheers for horses com­pet­ing in the Round­top Moun­tain Re­sort steeplechase.

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