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Secretary’s Message – Spring Forth into Nature

Photo of people walking on a path in the woods

First Lady Dawn Moore joined DNR and a group of local high school students for the “Global Day of Unplugging” March 1 at Patapsco Valley State Park. Maryland DNR photo.

March is a transition month – the beginning of spring is perhaps the most visible and dramatic of all seasonal changes within a short span of time. While our public lands and waters offer access to nature all year, March is an especially busy time as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) makes preparations for the warm weather months ahead. 

Staff in our parks and state forests are readying campsites for reopening in spring. It’s a great time to start planning your outdoor adventures this year by visiting our online reservation system. All parks that offer camping will have campsites available for rent before or by Memorial Day. At the same time, there are a few remaining weeks for wintertime activities, especially in the western region of our state, where the cold weather lasts a little longer. One of late winter’s big activities in Maryland is the Maple Syrup Festival in Cunningham Falls State Park. 

This month also marks the traditional kickoff of the fishing season (not officially, because there are always seasons open for great fishing in Maryland). The Maryland Fishing Report will soon begin offering weekly expert information about where anglers are catching different species, and we always encourage new anglers to try this beloved pastime in Maryland waters. This year, for the first time, DNR is offering a youth-only trout fishing day on March 23, a week before the traditional trout season opening day on March 30. 

Maryland also continues to explore and expand new ways to offer access to the outdoors for all to enjoy. 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 tremendously successful programs that allow us to partner with our communities and help provide outdoor spaces and activities close to where every Marylander lives. Throughout the state, signs are posted at properties where the state has provided funding for these programs for the purchase of land for recreational uses.

Through the outstanding work of our Office of Outdoors Recreation and our strong partnerships with our communities, our legislature, and national organizations, DNR is working to improve outdoor recreational opportunities in the state. 

So this spring, we encourage all Marylanders to find time to hike, swim, bike, picnic, fish, and enjoy all the types of different passive and organized recreational activities made possible by Maryland’s state parks and public lands. 

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