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Secretary’s Message – May 2021

May in Maryland – Time for Boats, Birds, and Cicadas! 

Photo of Spring weather means boating season — and I am among the thousands of Marylanders eager to get out on the water. Heavy traffic is expected again on our waterways as outdoor recreation continues to increase. Keep an eye out for our boater safety reminders this month and throughout the boating season.

May also marks the return of another beloved Maryland tradition — Park Quest. More than 25 Maryland State Parks will offer do-it-yourself outdoor activities now through Oct. 31 for families to experience the vast cultural, historical, and natural resources on our public lands and parks.  The theme for this popular program in 2021 will be “Spread Your Wings to Explore Maryland’s State Parks,” with a focus on Maryland’s birds.

Photo of Secretary RiccioThis spring there will be more than just the sound of boat engines and birds singing. Much of our state is abuzz about the return of 17-year periodical cicada — three different species of Magicicada known as Brood X. or the Great Eastern Brood. In fact, Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation declaring May and June 2021 as Maryland Magicicada Months to generate public awareness about these fascinating insects. Personally, I prefer the return of hummingbirds and Monarchs, but cicadas are completely harmless and they are fascinating creatures – and may even help with your fly fishing game! 

Speaking of which, fishing is getting into full gear across the state from the surf of the Atlantic Ocean to the still waters of Deep Creek Lake.  And hunters still have time to bag a wild turkey during the statewide spring turkey season, which runs through May 24.

In other words, spring in Maryland offers something for everyone when it comes to outdoor recreation. Thank you for your interest and support in the stewardship of Maryland’s natural resources and see you outside!

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