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Aboveboard: Fall 2017

Mark Belton HeadshotAs fall settles in across the Old Line State, we become a little more sensitive to the sounds of rustling leaves on the ground, the moan of wind through the trees, and the eerie sensation out in nature that we’re not alone.

In this edition of the Maryland Natural Resource, we investigate some fascinating phenomena around the state, most of which has a perfectly natural and scientific explanations.

Among the articles, you’ll find insight on some seasonally spooky species that too often get a bad reputation. Enter the world of Maryland’s spiders to learn more about the perennially misunderstood and tremendously beneficial arachnid.

Also featured is the story of the raven—the “grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore” immortalized in Edgar Allan Poe’s poetic masterpiece. Far from being sinister, this striking animal is among the most resourceful and intelligent birds.

Although if you do have an interest in the other-worldly, one of our feature stories will send you some pre-winter chills. You can find some of Maryland’s allegedly haunted public lands for an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

For unwanted visitors of the more corporeal variety, the Natural Resources Police has new service to report wildlife issues.

Another new program we’re highlighting is the Apprentice Hunting License, just in time for the fall and winter hunting seasons. Available to anyone who has never held a hunting license before, this program will allow individuals to try the sport before deciding whether to pursue a traditional license.

Fall is also the time when we must beware the real danger of wildfires, and remember those that protect us. I invite you to read our From the Field profile of Maryland Forest Service Fire Supervisor Monte Mitchell. His oversight of our fire teams that respond to wildfires here and around the country earned him the Employee of the Year award.

And finally, you don’t have to believe in the supernatural to enjoy some true magic. Our Fall Foliage Guide can show you where to track the beautiful colors of the autumn season. With our partners in the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism, we can help you keep track of peak vibrancy forecasts and festival details through the Fall Foliage and Festival Hotline.

Whatever else you do this fall, be sure to get outside and enjoy one of the most spectacular and dynamic times of year in our many public lands and waterways. I hope to see you out at your own favorite haunt.

Mark J. Belton