Born on the Eastern Shore, Tubman lived there as a slave for nearly 30 years. Many structures and artifacts from her time have been lost, but the rural landscape of farms, fields, forests and waterways that surrounded her and provided cover as she escaped and led many others to freedom still looks the same today.


The State of Maryland established the 28,300-acre Harriet Tubman Rural Legacy Area to protect and conserve the natural, cultural and historic landscape of Tubman’s remarkable life. The Conservation Fund will serve as the sponsor of the rural legacy area and will lead land protection efforts, working with willing landowners in the area to place conservation easements on properties with natural, cultural and historical significance. The Rural Legacy Program is supported with funding from Maryland’s innovative Program Open Space


The rural legacy area will bolster visitation to this remote area and will augment the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. The Conservation Fund played an instrumental role in the foundation of these parks, which saw 90,000 visitors in the first year, far exceeding expectations and resulting in a 414 percent increase in tax revenue from spending on recreation. We hope to carry this momentum forward in the coming years as we expand the Harriet Tubman Rural Legacy Area. Preserving this landscape offers an experiential way to tell Tubman’s remarkable story and helps provide a greater understanding of our collective past and events that shaped us as a nation.

"The Harriet Tubman Rural Legacy Area (RLA) provides Dorchester County landowners the opportunity to sustain economic development of their properties while protecting the last remaining, best example of a 19th century agrarian landscape associated with the life of a national hero, Harriet Tubman. The RLA complements the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park; sites that were also created with essential support from The Conservation Fund.”

—Dana Paterra, Park Manager, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park