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Secretary’s Message – December 2022

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New with Outdoor Traditions

Photo of several people walking along a wooded trail

Hiking at Sideling Hill State Park, photo by Patrick Siebert, Maryland State House

Maryland State Parks will again mark the new year by offering 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. They are a great way to start the new year!

And we continue to expand Maryland’s network of public lands. Last month, Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford joined us to announce the opening of Sideling Hill Creek State Park, located in Allegany County. This new 865-acre park is located near the Woodmont Natural Resources Management Area, Sideling Hill Wildlife Management Area, and the Western Maryland Rail Trail giving visitors a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities in one region.

In addition to protecting the ecological and historic aspects of this property, Sideling Hill Creek State Park will be a tremendous destination for outdoor recreation in Western Maryland.

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. Throughout 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.

And finally, with the holidays around the corner, it is a popular time for Marylanders to share wonderful traditions such as passing recipes down from generation to generation. That is why we began – and continue to expand – our online cookbook for wild game and fish, Wild Maryland. This year we are gathering new submissions for a holiday edition cookbook, which will showcase the recipes of our very own hunters, anglers, and foragers. We hope you will share your recipes with us!

Thank you as always for your strong support of our mission at DNR. Happy holidays and see you outside!

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