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Secretary’s Message – July 2023

Maryland is making more outdoor space accessible to more people

Photo of bright blue bird on a sunflower

Indigo bunting at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, photo by Laura Frazier submitted to a previous Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest.

Governor Wes Moore recently unveiled a new summer tourism campaign for Maryland – “You’re Welcome” – to welcome visitors to experience our great state’s spectacular natural beauty. 

Most people are familiar with our vast Maryland state park system, but did you know that great hiking, biking, birdwatching, camping, water access, and other recreational opportunities are found in our state forests, wildlife management areas, and other lesser-visited public lands? If you really do want to get away from it all, I encourage you to check out the array of natural areas managed by the Department of Natural Resources.

For example, visitors to the Nanticoke Wildlife Management Area on Maryland’s Eastern Shore can spot nesting bald eagles and osprey diving for fish. The mostly undeveloped Nanticoke River’s coastline offers paddlers a chance to try to spot diamondback terrapins, beavers, and otters while exploring long-established marshland. Visitors who head to Maryland’s western panhandle should consider exploring Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area, the largest state forest, where dense woods have created prime habitat for forest songbirds. The area was designated as a State Significant Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and is home to other animals such as bobcats, black bears, and coyotes.   

We continue to partner with land trusts and local communities to expand access to these important natural areas, as we did recently by purchasing a former golf club in Worcester County to expand recreational opportunities in the state’s Chesapeake Forest lands.

But there is much more than state lands to visit. The Moore-Miller administration is committed to assuring that all Marylanders have access to healthy outdoor recreation and green space. Program Open Space and Community Parks & Playgrounds are two successful programs that allow us to partner with our communities and help provide new and expanded outdoor spaces and activities. 

The Moore-Miller Administration is focused on ensuring recreational and economic opportunities for all who want to enjoy them.

Josh Kurtz is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.