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Secretary’s Message: October 2021

Positive Change for Maryland’s Outdoors

Photo of people walking on a bridge in a wooded area during fall

Cunningham Falls State Park in fall. Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland DNR

Maryland’s landscape is starting to showcase the vibrant colors of fall. Along with cooler, more pleasant weather, it is a spectacular and inviting backdrop that signifies the changing of the seasons. Governor Larry Hogan has also given us a reason to enjoy Maryland’s outdoors by proclaiming October as “Walktober” month in recognition of Maryland’s official exercise—walking. We are pleased to join the Governor, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Maryland Department of Planning in encouraging Marylanders to enjoy the benefits of walking. Whether it is a leisurely stroll through your community, wandering through a local orchard or pumpkin patch, or hiking on Maryland’s world-class trail system, it is a great time to get outside.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Maryland Department of Commerce are always looking to create new outdoor recreation opportunities and expand access to our natural spaces. To that end, Governor Hogan recently announced the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation and the hiring of J. Daryl Anthony to serve as its first executive director.

Daryl is a familiar face here at DNR, having spent 35 years in the Maryland Park Service — with experience in conservation law enforcement — and ultimately serving as Assistant Secretary for Land Resources before retiring in 2018.

Photo of Secretary RiccioAn experienced outdoorsman, Daryl will be blazing a new trail for us, working with partners and stakeholders to support and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities and the economic benefits they produce. This includes implementation of the recommendations of the Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission (MOREC), which I co-chaired with Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz. 

Daryl’s experience and enthusiasm for natural resources and innovative ideas will help us expand those opportunities for Maryland even more.

As we seek those opportunities, we welcome you to continue finding your own outdoor adventure in Maryland’s state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, fishing areas, and waterways

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