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June is Great Outdoors Month: Get outside with New DNR Mobile App

Courtesy of Brian Walsh

In celebration of Maryland’s abundant natural resources and exciting recreational opportunities, Governor Martin O’Malley has proclaimed June Great Outdoors Month. Even better, enjoying the State’s outdoors has never been easier with the Department of Natural Resource’s new mobile app, AccessDNR!

“June marks the end of the school year, the start of summer, and the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the warmth and beauty that the season brings,” said Governor O’Malley. “Outdoor recreation improves our mental and physical health, strengthens our connection with nature, and allows for quality time with friends and family. Through the new AccessDNR app, we are linking our citizens and visitors directly to the numerous recreation opportunities available to them. So plan your adventure today, and get outside and celebrate our natural world and all of the fun it brings.”

From hiking the mountainous terrain of western Maryland, to casting a line in Deep Creek Lake, to swimming at Assateague Island, Maryland’s 66 State Parks offer recreation to satisfy all types of interests. Additionally, with the location-based AccessDNR app, users can easily discover and locate State parks, trails, boat launches and hunting lands, in relation to where they are. For more information or to download, visit

Check out these Great Outdoors Month events and activities:

DNR’s Calendar of Events provides citizens and visitors a wide variety of activities to choose from, including bird-watching, archery, kayaking, fishing, gardening, camping and hiking, all of which support the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. Available throughout June, and all year long, most of these DNR-sponsored activities are extremely affordable ─ if not free. And don’t forget, June 7 and 14 (and July 4) are free fishing days in Maryland!

Saturday, June 28, the Great American Backyard Campout encourages families to experience nature through camping. Cunningham Falls, Point Lookout and Sandy Point State Parks, and Fair Hill NRMA, are offering a variety of special camping activities, including Scales and Tales, guided hikes, campfire cooking, and s’mores-making.

Throughout the summer, a record 1,000 teams will participate in Park Quest 2014, a family-based outdoor recreational program of kayaking, hiking, biking and enjoying historical adventures in 24 of Maryland’s beautiful State Parks. Although the challenge is officially filled for this year, interested families can still take part in most quests. Note: Unregistered participants must pay park entry fee and are not eligible for Park Quest Rendezvous.

Maryland State Parks are also offering Junior Ranger programs, where young people ages 7-14 can explore the parks’ natural and historical areas, learn stewardship and participate in recreational opportunities, while earning achievement awards.

This is Maryland’s eighth year celebrating Great Outdoors Month, which is sponsored nationally by the American Recreation Coalition. June is an active time for recreation across the U.S., featuring hundreds of annual events, ranging from National Trails Day and National Boating and Fishing Week, to National Family Recreation Week and National Clean Beaches Week.

For a comprehensive list of places to go or things to do outdoors, including national park sites in Maryland and events hosted by partner agencies, visit

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008, involving numerous agencies and organizations. Under this initiative, which is now being used as a national model, an ambitious set of actions focuses on improving connections with nature during the school day as well as outside of school and in communities. With help from the Partnership, Maryland became the first state to adopt a high school graduation environmental literacy requirement.