June 7, 2019 – June marks the official start of summer — although it feels like it really began weeks ago — and June also marks National Great Outdoors Month. While this is a national celebration, no one does outdoors better than Maryland!
The State of Maryland features a unique array of landscapes from mountains to beaches and everything in between. To preserve those landscapes, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources oversees more than a half-million acres of public lands, including state forests, wildlife management areas, and 75 state parks. These areas provide quality outdoor recreation experiences through 900 miles of trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, kayaking, camping facilities, and more. Our goal is to allow everyone to experience these recreational opportunities and to connect all people with nature.
One great example is the partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of Disabilities. From concept and design to construction and implementation, our partnership makes it possible for people of all abilities to enjoy our camping areas, cabins, fishing and boating docks, visitor centers, trails, and other outdoor recreation amenities. And we look forward to expanding this even more.
Another great example is accessibility for our veterans. Governor Larry Hogan declared 2019 the Year of the Veteran and we are showing our appreciation by giving back to those who have served. We have several programs and special rates for military veterans, active duty service members, and prisoners of war including:
- Any active duty military personnel, Maryland National Guard member, or veteran can enter any Maryland state park day-use area without paying the entry fee.
- If you are a resident of Maryland on active duty with the armed forces and are on leave with official leave orders, you may fish without a fishing license in Maryland.
- A complimentary lifetime hunting license is available to Maryland residents certified as a former prisoner of war or a disabled American veteran.
More information is located in our online Military One-Stop Shop.
Last but not least, we never want cost to be a barrier to people enjoying Maryland’s outdoors.
Our parks and public lands have low entry and activity fees, and many have none at all. We also host license-free fishing days on the first and second Saturday of June and on July 4th. These annual events allow everyone the chance to test their fishing skills or reinvigorate their love of fishing without needing a license, trout stamp, or registration.
These are just some of the ways we are encouraging everyone to enjoy Maryland’s great outdoors – in the month of June and all year long. We hope that you will take advantage of these opportunities and share your experiences with us!
Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.