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May 9, 2013

Park Quest Registration to Open May 13

by Martha

Interested families encouraged to register right away

PQ TeamFamilies across the State are gearing up for a summer of adventure with the Maryland Park Service’s annual park-hopping challenge, Where a Family Becomes a Team. Registration for Park Quest 2013 opens at 6 p.m. on May 13. The event is expected to fill up quickly so interested participants are encouraged to register right away.

Up to 1,000 teams can register online at dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest to take part in the program’s sixth season. Last year, the event reached capacity in just 2 hours. Registered teams will have free access to the 24 featured sites with their Park Quest Passport, where they will participate in activities such as kayaking, biking, letterboxing, orienteering, scavenger hunts, biking and horseback riding.

A team must consist of at least one adult and one child 16 years of age or younger, and can be as large as 10 people. Each group’s goal is to compete in at least 10 quests from May 25 to September 2, 2013. Along the way, participants will record their journeys and successes on an online log, and use Facebook to share their pictures, experiences and tips with others.

Teams who successfully complete 10 of 24 quests by September 2 are eligible to compete in the Park Quest Rendezvous on September 21 at the Pickall Area of Patapsco Valley State Park in Howard County. The event will feature a variety of physical and memory-oriented competitions, festival activities, vendors and family programs. Teams that are registered and onsite for the Rendezvous will also be eligible outdoor-themed prizes such as camping gear, kayaks and vacation packages.

Park Quest has introduced hundreds of families to the many hidden treasures found in Maryland’s breathtaking public lands. Registration is free and includes entrance into all participating State Parks for all the quest activities.

Park Quest has developed into the overwhelmingly popular outdoor adventure it is today thanks to the generous donations from corporate sponsors and foundations. Sponsorships are coordinated by the Friends of Maryland State Forests and Parks. This year, REI and Diamondback will provide select teams with specialized training in camping and biking. To become a Park Quest sponsor, contact Ranger Peyton Taylor at ptaylor@dnr.state.md.us.

Maryland State Parks not only provide great outdoor recreation opportunities, they are also a great asset to State and local economies. According to a 2010 study, Maryland State Parks have an estimated annual economic benefit of more than $650 million. In 2010, visitors directly spent more than $567 million locally during their visits ─ $25.56 for every dollar Maryland invests in State Parks. And nearly 95 percent of visitors had their expectations met or exceeded during their trip.

 

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors.  DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland’s forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually.  DNR is the lead agency in Maryland’s effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state’s number one environmental priority.  Learn more at www.DNR.Maryland.gov.

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