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Rutherford’s Travels: Taking a Boyd’s Eye View of Maryland’s State Parks

Photo of Lieutenant Governor walking along a pier with a ranger

Lieutenant Governor Rutherford tours Smallwood State Park. Photo by Patrick Siebert.

Since beginning my bucket list quest to visit all 75 of Maryland’s state parks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the most remote corners of our state, witnessing its magnificent beauty far off the beaten path. Other times, I’ve encountered natural oases a mere stone’s throw from a busy highway, quietly hidden in plain view.

So far on my journey, I’ve visited just over half of our state parks, and I’m not alone. In 2020, Maryland state parks set a new record for attendance, with more than 18 million visitors as of October. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic changing the way we live, work, and play, more and more Marylanders are finding affordable, socially-distant, and family-friendly recreation opportunities at our parks and public lands.

Photo of Lieutenant Governor Rutherford pointing at the view of a mountainside

Checking out the view at Will’s Mountain State Park. Photo by Patrick Siebert.

Over the past two years, I’ve hiked mountains and chased waterfalls at New Germany and Swallow Falls, tapped maple trees at Sang Run, explored historic sites such as the Harriet Tubman Underground Rail-road and South Mountain Battlefield, traversed through muddy paths in an off-road vehicle at Wolf Den Run, and paddled down quiet waterways surrounded by centuries-old cypress trees on the Pocomoke. In rain, snow, and sun, I’ve yet to find a view to match Maryland’s natural lands.

Whether you’re an avid hiker looking for your next mountain adventure, a fisherman searching for a peaceful stream, or a beach bum looking to soak in a few rays, there is a Maryland State Park waiting for you. From Oakland to Ocean City, Bel Air to Bethesda, Saint Michael’s to St. Mary’s City—there is something for everyone right in your own backyard.

Photo of Lieutenant Governor Rutherford touring Harriet Tubman visitor center

Taking in an exhibit at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center. Photo by Joe Andrucyk.

You can view photos and keep up with my latest adventures on my website where I track all of my park visits on an interactive map—plus find more information about all 75 state parks and plan a trip of your own—by visiting You can also find more photos and other content on social media by search-ing the hashtag #LGStateParkBucketList.

There’s never been a better time to visit one of Maryland’s state parks and public lands. Get outside and explore all the amazing things that our state has to offer, and who knows? I might see you out on the trail!

Boyd K. Rutherford is the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. Article appears in Vol. 23, No. 4 of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, winter 2021.