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Secretary’s Message – November 2022

Park Quests are Completed, but the Adventure Continues

Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio and Lt. Governor Rutherford at St. Clements

Photo by Anthony DePanise, Maryland State House

The beginning of November marks the end of Park Quest, the Maryland Park Service’s annual program geared toward youth and families. Many thanks to our creative team members who have organized this fun and educational series for 15 years now! And thanks to everyone who participated. We hope it inspired you to continue your enjoyment of Maryland State Parks, which are open year-round.

I also want to congratulate Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, who finished his own quest! Last month, he completed his State Park Bucket List challenge, having officially visited all 75 Maryland Park Service properties with a visit to St. Clement’s Island State Park in St. Mary’s County. 

Our department has been honored to join Lt. Governor Rutherford on many of his journeys through our spectacular state park system, starting with a New Year’s Day in 2019, when he began his State Park Bucket List. Since then, we have hiked the Appalachian Trail through South Mountain State Park, rowed along the river at Tuckahoe State Park, released sea turtles at Assateague State Park, and learned how to fly fish at Morgan Run Natural Environment Area, just to name a few adventures.

He also joined in the opening of four new state parks, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad in Dorchester County, Wolf Den Run in Garrett County, Bohemia River in Cecil County, and Cypress Branch in Kent County. With his efforts, in fiscal year 2023, the administration secured historic funding for our state parks. In November, we will celebrate one more park opening – look for an announcement soon! 

Lt. Governor Rutherford’s visits and intense interest in our parks has been a regular reminder of this administration’s steady support for our public lands, and has helped others find and enjoy the diverse outdoor recreation opportunities we have here in Maryland.

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