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Update Regarding Maryland’s Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation

UPDATED Nov. 18

COVID-19 logo

Maryland took early, aggressive, and unprecedented actions to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19. The latest information on Governor Hogan’s executive orders and guidance can be found on the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery website page. Guidance on facial coverings and social distancing remain in effect: Masks on, Maryland!  

Here are the latest guidelines for outdoor exercise, recreation, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) properties:

BOATING

Recreational boating activities, including motorized and non-motorized vessels and personal watercraft, are permitted:

  • Face coverings are required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
  • Commercially licensed fishing charter boats can carry their U.S. Coast Guard-approved capacity, but must follow CDC and Maryland Department of Health (MDH) guidelines. 
  • Vessel and boat races are authorized, provided social distancing and face mask guidelines are followed and MDH and local health department guidelines are followed.
  • Marinas must adhere to best management practices from the Departments of Commerce and Health.
  • Pump-out stations and boats must adhere to best management practices from the Departments of Commerce and Health.
  • State boat ramps are open and operational; social distancing and facial covering guidelines must be followed while using these public boat ramps.
  • All normal boating rules and regulations are in effect and must be followed.
  • For information on our License Service Centers for boating registrations and other products, please visit our Licensing and Registration Services website.

CAMPING

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting reservations for overnight tent and RV camping as seasonally allowed in state forests, parks, and other campgrounds, and for cabin rentals:

FISHING

Recreational fishing activities are allowed:

  • When fishing from onshore or a pier, social distancing guidelines must be followed. Face coverings are required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
  • Fishing tournaments may be held provided social distancing, face covering, and MDH and local health department guidelines are followed. 
  • All rules and regulations regarding creel limits, gear restrictions, and seasons remain in effect.
  • All recreational fishers must have a valid license, even if their license expired during the state of emergency.
  • For information on fishing licenses and other related products, please visit our online COMPASS portalLicensing and Registration Services website, or retail sport license agent

HORSEBACK RIDING

Horseback riding activities, including riding on certain state lands, is allowed:

  • Social distancing guidelines must be followed. 
  • Face coverings are required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
  • On a case-by-case basis, authorized horse races and equestrian events will be permitted at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Special Event Zone without spectators. Permission must be received from DNR in advance.

LICENSING AND REGISTRATION

The department is reminding recreational hunters and fishers that they must have a valid license and any required permits or stamps to hunt or fish in Maryland. Due to the pandemic and the temporary closure of DNR’s licensing centers, a grace period was in place for existing license holders whose recreational hunting and fishing licenses expired during the state of emergency. That grace period will end on January 1, 2021. Licenses, permits, and stamps can be obtained at Maryland Department of Natural Resources Licensing Centers by appointment only, by visiting a retail sport license agent or by using the department’s online COMPASS portal.

PARKS

All Maryland State Parks are open although some public areas remain closed. Information specific to Maryland’s state parks can be found by visiting the Maryland Park Service website

Special events at Maryland State Parks or any Maryland Public Lands such as large gatherings or organized races cannot be held without advance permission from DNR. All current public health advisories and guidelines, including social distancing and limiting event attendees to 25 people or less, must be followed.

Visitors to Maryland state parks should observe CDC guidelines on visiting state parks and recreational facilities

TRAVEL

Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to any state with a positivity rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100K. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. This applies to personal, family, or business travel of any kind. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity and/or case rates decline.


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