As Maryland’s rural counties lose farmland, consider fracking and face economic challenges, the Capital News Service at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism presents a series examining the political divide between urban and rural parts of Maryland and the state of the economy in rural Maryland. This is the second part in a five-part series.
By J.F. Meils
Capital News Service
CUMBERLAND — Allegany and Garrett, the state’s two westernmost counties, tend to be lumped together as “Mountain Maryland,” their problems similar, their prospects equally muddled.
But the two counties’ economic issues — and their approaches to solving them — differ starkly.
In Allegany, many problems stem from the legacy of past reliance on “whales,” big employers with large numbers of good-paying jobs that lay waste to communities when they leave. In Garrett, a place that has always relied on natural resources to power its economy, the question is not whether to keep doing that, but how.