Work Could Begin Spring/Summer 2024

James Rada, Jr.

The Richard W. Kanode Farm Park, a new county park that will focus on agricultural and equestrian pursuits, is moving closer to reality. The Frederick County Planning Commission voted in February that the Kanode Park Master Plan is consistent with the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan. It is now moving on to Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater for review, which should be finished this spring.

Richard W. Kanode donated a 183-acre parcel to the county in 2017 to be used as a park “for the use and enjoyment of the general public, containing agricultural, equestrian, educational, and recreational facilities consistent with the terms of the Agricultural Preservation Easement,” according to Kanode’s agreement with the county. He also donated $1 million to the Community Foundation of Frederick County to establish an endowment fund for the park.

The proposed park would include an obstacle course, a western riding arena, an outdoor practice arena, three miles of riding trails, and an enclosed arena for barrel racing and jumping. There will also be lawn parking for horse trailers, tent space for events, and a manure storage bay.

The park would include 64 acres for active farming, 6 acres for a managed meadow or orchard, a 10-acre native plant arboretum, and smaller garden plots for agricultural research and demonstrations.

Although the Frederick County Planning Commission is moving the park plan forward, it is not without detractors. Horse riders support it, but local farmers do not so much. Many of them feel the park will attract too many people for events.

If the project continues moving forward, the county has set aside $5.6 million in the FY2025 Capital Improvement Program to develop Phase 1 of the park over five years.

The park would seem to be a good fit with Frederick County. The preliminary plan pointed out that Frederick County “has a long horse history, starting with Frederick as a main stop on the National Highway with horses transporting goods from Baltimore to the West. The county has been the setting for large draft horse breeding operations. There have also been large horse racing farms.”

The Maryland Horse Census, compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, found that the county has 7,850 horses, making it the third largest county horse population-wise in Maryland, only trailing Baltimore and Montgomery counties.

Horses are kept in 1,600 places throughout the county, totaling 21,400 acres. All equine assets in the county total $442 million in value.

The county also has four Horse Discovery Centers. These are farms that have similar programs to what Kanode Park would offer, although Kanode might offer even a greater variety. The horse discovery centers are: Good Intentions Farm in Keymar, Foxie G Thoroughbred Rescue in Libertytown, Paradise Stables in New Market, and Silverado Frederick County 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program in Thurmont.

Phase 1 of the park development can begin shortly after the project receives the final approval from the county, which could be spring or summer of this year.

Share →