Skip to Main Content

Secretary’s Message: July 2019

Fifty Years Young, The Department’s Mission Continues

Photo of Secretary Haddaway-Riccio addressing staffJuly 2019 marks exactly 50 years since Governor Marvin Mandel replaced the former Board of Natural Resources with a cabinet-level Department of Natural Resources and our operations began. As we celebrate this milestone, DNR is really proud of the fact that our work is making a difference in every county and community across Maryland.

At present, we manage more than a half-million acres of public land, including state parks, forests and wildlife management areas.

We are the public face of outdoor recreation and conservation, welcoming more than 14 million people to state parks and public lands evresilieery year, helping them understand and connect with our natural world.

We track the status of more than 1,250 native plants and animals that are among the rarest in Maryland and the most in need of conservation that make up our state’s natural diversity.

We are restoring species to their natural habitats in our rivers and streams—such as freshwater mussels and native brook trout. 

Our 258 Natural Resources Police officers conduct 14,000 vessel safety checks, issue more than 5,000 hunter safety certificates and 11,000 boater safety certificates, and spend more than 63,000 hours patrolling our lands and waters annually.

We keep our waters safe and navigable, monitoring more than 4,000 markers in our waters keeping boating channels open, removing debris and breaking ice. 

All of this is due to the incredible and dedicated staff and partners we work with everyday, but also due to each and every Marylander that is doing their part to leave a legacy and a lasting impact on Maryland’s environment.

As we look to the future, we will continue to enhance the resilience and health of Maryland’s communities through parks and green spaces, trees and native plants, and clean and accessible waterways. And equally important, we will help communities prepare for challenges such as severe weather and flooding.

Our future also includes a strong, natural resources-based economy because we will work to support and enhance Maryland’s green industries including forestry, renewable energy, sustainable seafood, and outdoor recreation. 

And it will include a skilled and diverse workforce comprising scientists, engineers, innovators, and educators ready to support those industries as the next generation of environmental stewards—all inspired by our department and the quality environmental experiences we deliver.

And finally, our future includes more strategic partnerships and even greater collaboration with our partners—because we cannot reach any of these goals on our own. We will be working side by side and step by step with our most important partner—you, the citizens that we serve. 

In many ways, 50 years into our mission, our story is just beginning and I am so honored to be a part of it. 

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.