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Secretary’s Message: June 2017

June is Great Outdoors Month

Children are counting down to summer vacation in hours, not days. Fireflies are beginning to light up the backyard. And bikes, kayaks, tents, camp stoves, snorkels and other gear are coming out of storage.

June is Great Outdoors Month, and it’s time to go outside and play!

We are fortunate in Maryland to have plenty of public lands and spaces that make outdoor adventures immediately accessible – from hiking our mountain trails to running on sandy beaches to peaceful days fishing in our lakes and rivers.

I encourage everyone to celebrate and experience Maryland’s natural beauty.

Our system of 72 state parks offer tremendous day trips with exciting outdoor activities. We recently reached capacity for our 10th annual Park Quest, an adventure program designed for families to engage in outdoor activities throughout the summer. But even if you missed registering, you can still participate in the fun by purchasing a 2017 Maryland State Park and Trail Passport, which provides unlimited day-use access to all state parks through the year.

I also encourage parents to take part in the national “Every Kid in a Park” program, which provides free access to all fourth-grade students to national parks across the country and all state parks in Maryland.

Many of our state parks provide overnight camping as well. If you’re new to camping or even if you’re a seasoned camper, visit our Let’s Go Camping page. We’ve created a frequently asked questions section and a list of what to bring. It is helpful information even if you’re a seasoned camper.

You could also visit the specific park page, where you plan to camp for details on that park and their amenities. And be sure you make reservations early using our brand-new online reservations system,

If you’re ready to hit the trail, Maryland provides miles opportunities throughout the state for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and also water trails for kayaks and canoes. Find out where to go at our Maryland Trails page.

And if you’re interested to try fishing but aren’t sure you want to buy a license, the state of Maryland offers free fishing days June 3, June 10 and July 4.

For a full range of outdoor activities, events and programs, please visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources homepage or our new online calendar.

Maryland truly has something for everyone. So try a new adventure, teach the next generation about proper stewardship of our lands and waters, and above all get out there and have some fun!