By DAVID DISHNEAU
Associated Press Writer
HANCOCK - A private group is close to signing a deal for exclusive use of the historic, state-owned Woodmont hunting lodge and a third of its acreage for six months a year, according to negotiators.
A newly formed chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America would pay nothing to use the property during its occupancy from October through March but would maintain the stately stone lodge and other structures, saving the state as much as $150,000 a year, according to Michael Nelson, director of land and water conservation for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
During the spring and summer months, the public would have access to all of the 3,425 wooded acres the state acquired when it bought the Woodmont Rod and Gun Club for $3.1 million in 1995, Nelson said. He said the DNR and Walton League could run hunter-education programs at the 15-room lodge under the plan, which may come before the Board of Public Works for approval by mid-September.