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State Parks DIY: Park Quest and Create Your Own State Parks Programs Return for 2021

Photo of two boys looking at water view during Park Quest

By Elton Stokes Jr.

With the arrival of spring and summer, Maryland State Parks are again ready to welcome nature and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the state. 

The 14th annual Maryland Park Quest program runs from May 1 through October 31. The 2021 Park Quest theme is Spread Your Wings to Explore Maryland’s State Parks, and many of the quests will help you to learn more about Maryland’s birds!

As one of many adjustments to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland State Parks adapted the many ranger-led group activities of Park Quest into “Do-it-Yourself” programs, which will continue in 2021. Additionally there is no longer a Park Quest Passport or registration required, so this program is accessible to everyone!

Following the DIY format, Maryland State Parks created a new concept in 2020 that continues this year: Create Your Own State Park! Creating your own state park at your home can provide a place to enjoy the outdoors, see more birds and butterflies, try new activities, and have plenty of fun! State parks in Maryland provide experiences that allow people to visit new places, connect with nature, be inspired, relax in a beautiful and quiet environment, and get refreshed and revitalized by the wonder of nature. But nature isn’t only found in state parks, it’s all around and should be enjoyed from home, too.

The Create Your Own State Park Challenge encourages people across Maryland to develop and nurture their own spaces, just as the Maryland Park Service does. Those who accept the challenge can receive a certificate from Maryland State Parks with a packet of native plant seeds to use in your new park. All valid entries will also be entered in a drawing to win a variety of prizes, ranging from complimentary visits for camping, cabin stays, or even a Maryland Park Service annual pass.

Photo of two kids standing with homemade recycled cardboard ticket booth

Park ticket booth created by “Harley’s Hideout State Park”

“Thank you for creating a safe program for our family to complete during quarantine. We stayed on our property completing each task and having so much fun. We love our State Park! We are excited for the pandemic to be over to invite friends over to visit our State Park.”  — the Britz Family, “Hidden Creek State Park,” Carroll County

Information about these and more Maryland State Park programs is available at

Article appears in Vol. 24, No. 2 of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, spring 2021.