Celebrate the Maryland Forest Service Centennial Centennial Activities Photo Gallery Centennial Store Events Calendar Timeline for the last 100 years
The history of Maryland's State Forests & Parks has been preserved through many photographic collections, many of which are now housed in the Maryland Archives.   For many years, Maryland's first State Forester, Fred W. Besley, took his camera with him everywhere he went, and apparently encouraged his early staff members to take photographs as well.  DNR's Centennial Photo Gallery  has also benefited from the personal collection of Kirk P. Rogers, Mr. Besley's grandson. 

During the course of this Centennial Year, we will be adding additional albums to this gallery, so check back frequently to see the history of Maryland's State Forests and Parks unfold in pictures.

Forest & Parks Centennial Photo Albums
To View an Album, click on one of the photos below.

worker gathering pine cones for seeds for new tree nursery

The State Tree Nursery
Nursery operations at the State Forest Tree Nursery originated in 1914, where trees were first grown for roadside planting. The nursery later expanded to grow seedlings for conservation purposes including wildlife habitat, watershed and soil protection and forest products.  The nursery moved to Anne Arundel County in 1949 and in 1996 to its site near Preston.


Fred W. Besley talks at campfire of Maryland Mountain Club

Mountain Club of Maryland
In the spring of 1941, members of the Mountain Club of Maryland made several visits to Green Ridge State Forest, where they helped build and maintain the Paw Paw Shelter on the slope of Town Hill Mountain.  Our 1st State Forester, Fred W. Besley, signed a lease to the shelter and  entertained around their campfire. The club, which held a dedication hike on June 22, 1941, remains active today.


Photo of restored wall at Fort Frederick with cannon alongside

Fort Frederick Before & After Restoration
Fort Frederick, erected by Governor Horatio Sharpe in 1756 to protect English settlers from the French and their Indian allies has a long and interesting history. In 1922, under Fred W. Besley's guidance, the state purchased the fort to develop a state park.  During the 1930's, a company of the Civilian Conservation Corps was assigned to the park to reconstruct the dilapidated stone wall, perform archaeology and locate the foundations of the original interior buildings.


Crew fighting forest fire, year unknown

Fighting & Preventing Forest Fires
One of State Forester Besley’s first tasks was to create a network of volunteer Forest Wardens to enforce Maryland’s new forest fire protection laws. At the turn of the century uncontrolled fires took their toll, regularly leading to loss of life and property. Early forest wardens were trained and deployed to combat wildfires in an effort to protect the public and ensure that millions of seedlings being planted would survive.

CCC crew poses with forestry tools

Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.)
The C.C.C. was a massive Federal works program during the Great Depression. In Maryland, the C.C.C. put a total of 30,000 young men to work reclaiming natural resources and building facilities for public accommodation in the out of doors. C.C.C. crews built lakes, cabins, pavilions, trails, campgrounds and other visitor amenities all over the state, though principally on State Forest lands in Western Maryland.


The Hutzler Camp Store - Patapsco Forest Reserve

Patapsco, Maryland's First State Park
Maryland's state parks grew out of the state's early efforts at forest conservation. By 1912, a portion of the Patapsco Forest Reserve had been developed and dedicated specifically for public recreational use, and as early as 1910 this parcel had been referred to as "Patapsco Park."



Fred W. Besley in his office

Fred W. Besley, Our First State Forester
Fred W. Besley embodied the conservation ethic of his time. A protégé of Gifford Pinchot, Besley held a master's degree from Yale University's School of Forestry, the nation's first forestry school. Besley served with distinction as Maryland's state forester from 1906 until 1942.



Two men using the two-man cross-cut saw

Forestry Tools Evolved Over Time
A hundred years ago the most common forestry tools consisted of a compass, a Biltmore stick, a hatchet, and a two-man cross-cut saw or "misery whip" as it was known to its operators.  Today, natural resource professionals have progressed far beyond simple hand tools to mechanized harvesting equipment, laser range finders, global positioning systems, and computer mapping.

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