Congratulations to Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, who completed his State Park Bucket List challenge, having officially visited all 75 Maryland Park Service properties with his October visit to St. Clement’s Island State Park in St. Mary’s County. We are grateful for his leadership in highlighting the importance of our public lands and outdoor recreation!
In this edition, Lt. Governor Rutherford shares just a few of his favorite memories from the journal he kept of his travels. 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 hike 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.
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.
This year, we commemorated the bicentennial of famed Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman—a yearlong celebration that Governor Hogan declared “The Year of Harriet Tubman.” It was also the fifth anniversary of the opening of her namesake state park in Dorchester County.
Having served as one of the park’s original historic interpreters, our own Ranger Angie Crenshaw shares with us her assessment of Tubman as the “ultimate outdoorswoman,” using her knowledge and skills to navigate the Eastern Shore terrain on her journey to freedom, and later to free many others.
These personal connections to our landscapes are just a few examples of the great diversity of Maryland’s outdoors, and there is no better way to showcase Maryland nature than the annual Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest. I congratulate all of the participants and winners for 2022, particularly our Grand Prize winner David Terao of Silver Spring for his incredibly detailed photograph of a tiny jumping spider emerging from a flower. And thank you to everyone who voted for the fan favorite, Fiddleheads and Trees by Jack Turner, chosen by our Facebook followers. Be sure to take your camera with you on your outside adventures and enter next year’s contest!
Finally, as the leaves fall from the trees, and temperatures begin to cool, there are plenty of cold-weather activities on our public lands to keep you busy this winter.
Maryland State Parks will again mark the new year by offering First Weekend hike opportunities from December 30, 2022 through January 2, 2023. First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks that encourages all 50 states to offer outdoor hiking opportunities to start the new year.
Through the winter, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hikes on snow-covered trails are all great ways to get outdoors and stay healthy as we head into 2023.
Thank you as always for your strong support of our mission at DNR—see you outside!
Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Secretary
Article appears in Vol. 25, No. 4 of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine.