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Southern Marylanders Asked to Provide Recreation Information

Who: Open to the Public

What: Regional Stakeholder Outdoor Recreation Evaluation

When: Tuesday, February 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Prince George’s County Dept. of Parks & Recreation (Parkside Headquarters) Auditorium

6600 Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale 20737

Cost: Free

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking citizens ─ especially those in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince Georges and St. Mary’s counties ─ for their input on State outdoor recreation facilities and services in Southern Maryland.

This recreation evaluation is the first step in a comprehensive statewide effort to enhance existing recreation areas in Maryland, these include; State parks, forests, wildlife areas and trails.

DNR will ask participants to assess the extent to which outdoor recreation facilities, programs and services meet the needs of the community and identify future demand and need. This is the first of four regional stakeholder sessions DNR will hold across the State in February and March 2013.

The public input will help guide the update of the Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, which will serve as a roadmap for future State outdoor recreation facilities and services.

The Department has hired a nationally-known parks and recreation management consulting firm, GreenPlay, LLC, to oversee the Recreation Component of this planning process.

  • James Gilroy

    We definitely need more Rangers in the parks and more places for Recreation. I live in Charles County and we have several places, but just not enough Rangers available to ask questions and to give advice. We definitely need more resources available to us.

    Thank you,

    James Gilroy

    • kking

      I have forwarded you comment along to the unit conducting the evaluation. Thanks for your input!

      Karis King
      DNR Office of Communcations

  • Tonia

    I live in St Marys. PLO could use more people to help with the clean up of trash. Thats the only problem we have when we go.Thanks

    • kking

      I have forwarded your comment to the approporiate unit. Thanks for posting!!

      Karis King
      DNR Office of Communications

  • Ron

    I see this is mainly for Southern Marylanders – What plans or meetings will take place for Northern Marylanders? I currently drive to West Virginia now to access OHV trais (Hatfield~McCoy trails) or up to PA and ride Bald Eagle Mountain or Shade Mountain. Would be great to have something back in Maryland for the family to vacation to and enjoy riding again in Maryland.

    • kking

      Hi Ron,
      We will have three additional meetings in early March to cover the remainder of the State. Dates, locations and times should be released next week. Thanks for your comment.

      Karis King
      DNR Office of Communications

  • Tara Roberts

    I won’t be able to attend this meeting (will still be at work), but I want to put in my two cents to advocate for equestrian trails in the Counties. Both maintaining the existing ones (thank you for them!) and obtaining new ones/linking up existing ones if possible.

  • Dave

    Let me start by saying I really appreciate DNR actively soliciting input from its user groups. That said, having a meeting for Southern Marylanders at the extreme northern edge of the region instead of somewhere more central or convenient to the bulk of those affected is a bit problematic, and I suspect that many will not make the long haul up there to make their opinions known. I also wish that the original press release would have included email addresses and phone numbers for those wishing to weigh in, and would have resulted in more comments, but I guess this will have to suffice.

    First, I’d like to address funding. Historically, hunters and fisherman have funded Department programs and projects, both through direct license sales, and indirectly through Dingell-Johnson and Pittman-Robertson fees raised via excise taxes on fishing and hunting gear, respectively. In addition, as General Fund contributions to the DNR have declined in recent years, sportsmen and women have been asked to shoulder even more of the load. After last year’s aborted attempt at increasing hunting license costs, I fully expect we’ll see the same this year. But with the ever increasing usage of DNR facilities by bicyclists, equestrians, hikers, birdwatchers, and other user groups, we really need to look at imposing user fees on these groups as well, either by requiring a current hunting or fishing license to use DNR facilties, or by establishing a separate
    license or permit for these newer user groups to contribute their fair share to the Department and the facilities that they are using.

    Secondly, there is a shortage of shooting ranges, not only in Southern Maryland, but statewide. Myrtle Grove has seen a large increase of users over the last few years, often coming from long distances, many from outside of the region and even from out of state. Long lines and long waits have become the norm. The fee structure for state ranges could use some tweaking as well, to make things more equitable. Perhaps a discounted annual permit for those also possessing a hunting license, a standard, baseline permit for residents without a current MD hunting license, and a slightly higher permit fee for non-resisdents. With the huge increase in firearm and ammunition sales the last few years, there should be P-R money available for the development and construction of additional ranges, and improvements to and expansion of existing ranges.

    Also, there has been an increase in logging on many public lands in the Southern Region in recent years. While I am in full agreement that this is long overdue in many of these forests, I believe it could also be done in a manner that would be of more benefit to both wildlife and sportsmen. Multiple successional stages and mixed aged stands can breath new life into many older woodlands, but clear cutting large tracts and then replanting it all with pine with the intent of harvesting it again as soon as possible might not be the optimal method. Instead of large blocks of relatively biologically sterile single species, same aged stands, perhaps more irregularly shaped cuts, with some interconnecting corridors of older hardwood left would help increase the amount of important edge and transitional habitat, resulting in more diverse plant and animal communities. Leaving a softer edge around the cuts, perhaps encouraging warm season grasses, would also help in that respect. Heck, maybe even get Wildlife involved and plant a few food plots in the interior of these cuts, or along the margins. Maybe a more synergystic, multi-discipline approach would yield greater results, without too much additional labor or cost.

    In closing, I am generally very happy with the Department as of late. I know that, with staff and budget cuts, folks have again been asked to do more with less, and for the most part, have risen to the occasion. But there is always room for improvement. The public has been given increased opportunities to have their voices heard the last few years, and DNR has seemed more responsive.

  • Laura

    I live in AA county.

    I feel we need more equestrian trails in our parks.

    And hey, why not, an equestrian park itself! Could be quite the draw…

  • kking

    Laura and Tara,
    I have informed our land planning unit that you would like to see more equestrian trails. Thanks for your input!

    Karis King
    Office of Communications

  • Scott

    Please host a meeting in Southern Maryland! PG County is too far. One meeting in each county would be sufficient.

    Also, I was looking for a calendar of meetings on the Park Service website – and was unable to find one.

    I am most interested in an update on the status of Newtown Neck State Park. UXO was discovered there in Late 2011, and it hasn’t been open to the public since. I find it curious that farming continues on this property, but it is somehow unsafe for hunting.


  • Ken Kyler

    Don’t forget the need for OHV trails. There are few places in the southern Counties for people to go to ride their bikes, ATVs, UTVs, etc.

  • Kelly

    Yes please hold a meeting in Southern Maryland for the topic of Southern Maryland parks

  • Kathy Woodington

    Just want to let you know how much we enjoy our St.Mary’s County State Parks. Especially Point Lookout! We have always found the park to be clean. The ranger staff has always been helpful and knowledgeable. We would like to see a shooting range in St. Mary’s County. Thanks so much.

  • Trudy

    I think it’s very unfair to have held these meetings so far from our area! Plus it doesn’t seem that local groups were given much advanced notice of this one to get out the word to members to attend this meeting. Your employees are very nice to deal with and are to be commended for thier good work! I personally use equestrian trails and am always willing to volunteer on trail clearing and developement.

  • Jim

    Since the Greenridge ohv trails closed, my family and I have been going out of state to find places to ride my offroad motorcycle. I would like to see more ohv trails similar to the Hatfield-McCoy system in southern Virginia. That system seems to be a huge success for the local communities. I would be willing to pay fees to support such a system.