All work and no play is no way to liveÖfor Jack or
anyone else. Thatís why we at DNR are continuously working to
offer exciting new recreational activities that encourage citizens
and visitors to get our and enjoy all that our resources have to
offer. Whether you want to go faster or slow down, to reach
farther or to relax and not reach at all, you can do it in Marylandís
1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > Goal 6 > 7 > 8
|EYE ON ENJOYMENT: Improving Maryland's State Parks
- When Governor Glendening proclaimed 2000 The Year of Maryland State Parks, he earmarked $9 million for a three-year, 300+ project facelift. Complimenting other DNR capital programs to ensure a top rate park system for the state's citizens and visitors, this ambitious campaign has included resurfacing roads and parking lots, painting buildings, replacing or constructing new playgrounds, installing new picnic tables, repairing trails, publishing new trail maps, and increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.
- As part of this initiative, the Governor appointed a 15-member Commission on State Parks to develop recommendations for enhancing and financially sustaining Maryland's state park system, and increasing marketing
opportunities. The Commissions's work resulted in submission of seven recommendations to the Governor, which are now under consideration.
An internal committee coordinated the year-long Parks 2000 celebration, and citizens joined in, participating in special events, historic reenactments, and as always, spectacular outdoor recreational opportunities statewide. Each fall, State Parks Week promotes awareness and support for Maryland's state parks.
"I think Maryland has some of the best and best maintained parks in the East, and as a professional photographer I've been to a lot of them."
DNR Park Customer Survey Comment August 2001
As adventure-based recreation continues to be a leading regional and national trend, Maryland continues to lead the pack in providing opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and much more on public lands and
- During FY '01, DNR's Nature Tourism team: increased partnerships with professional guides and outfitters to a total of 49; generated more than $265,000 in private sector revenue; developed and marketed self-guided opportunities; printed new trail guides and publications to enhance visitor experiences; developed a trails manual as a resource for DNR land managers; initiated extensive mandatory Leave No Trace ethics training for all State Forest and Park Service staff; and identified nearly $500,000 in grants, capital and Park Improvement Program funding for park enhancements.
- Through partnerships with other state agencies and county tourism directors, 950,000 copies of the 18-page Maryland Outdoors guide were printed as a supplement to the Office of Tourism's Destination Maryland visitor's guide.
- Along with an increased desire to have meaningful, natural outdoor experience comes increased apprehension over carrying capacity. How much recreation can our natural resources support without being loved to death? DNR's interdisciplinary regional teams have created strategic plans to identify sensitive areas on public lands, specifically targeting areas where ecological impacts from recreation are of greatest concern.
- In 2000, Maryland paddlers celebrated development of the first statewide water trails map, which depicts existing, planned and potential water trail projects throughout the state, and establishment of a water trail at Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area. A Jane's Island Water Trail map and brochure were completed in FY '01, and other water trail projects now underway include Lower Potomac River, Upper Potomac River, Point Lookout State Park and Lower Susquehanna River. In FY '00 a DNR intern from Morgan State University added to these efforts, identifying and interpreting African American historical sites on the Patuxent River for water trail users.
- DNR's fall trout stocking program has grown to include more than 50,000 trout stocked into state waters each October. Cooler water temperatures help ensure these trout survive well into the spring, providing anglers the opportunity to fish for trout all winter. Hatchery management raised these fish without impacting the spring production, which is close to 450,000 fish. Sixty-one areas in 14 counties will receive fall trout stockings in 2001.
- An important mechanism for ensuring access to the Bay and some of its 4,400 square miles of shoreline is the Waterway Improvement Fund. The fund uses the Boater Excise Tax and a small percentage of gasoline taxes collected in Maryland to pay for ramp repairs and expansion, and dredging and stabilization activities, as well as the construction of new boat ramps. For FY '01, 131 projects were approved at a total cost of $9,750,000. In FY '00, a total of 91 projects were approved at a total cost of $4,500,000.
- DNR has enlisted the aid of the University of Baltimore to conduct extensive ,b>surveys of boaters and marina operators this fall. The results will be used to develop a comprehensive boating facilities plan to guide the department's selection process for funding under the Waterway Improvement Fund as well as a new source of federal funds, the Boating Infrastructure Grant program.
- In FY '01 a customer service survey was conducted at 24 state parks as one method to obtain feedback from our visitors. Survey results indicated 94 percent of customers feel safe in Maryland's state parks and forests and 67 percent feel park rangers play a role in their safety. Outdoor activities that customers enjoyed during their visits included hiking (42 percent), biking (26 percent), camping (35 percent), canoeing (12 percent), picnicking (37 percent), fishing (31 percent), boating (21 percent), swimming (18 percent) and participating in park sponsored programming (18 percent).
- In October 2000, DNR established a new Regional Licensing and Registration Service Center in Dundalk. This center will enable the citizens of Eastern Baltimore County – where a large number of boats are located - to purchase sport fishing and hunting licenses, renew commercial fishing licenses, title and number boats, and pay vessel excise taxes. Baltimore County's partnership was crucial to its opening, providing both the office space and construction free.
- The Customer Oriented Information Network is the computer system through which Licensing and Registration Services are provided to the sport hunting and fishing community, boat owners and commercial fishing licensees. In 2000, staff worked to enhance and improve the data base, which has resulted in greatly improved service to one million customers, and the availability of more timely and accurate information about our costumers for Fisheries and Wildlife staff.
- Every operator of a power driven vessel born after July 1, 1972 must pass an approved boating safety course. In addition to approved classes offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the US Power Squadron, the Maryland Basic Boating Course (MBBC) is approved and coordinated by the Safety Education Division of the Natural Resources Police. The MBBC is offered at a variety of locations around the state, including community colleges in every county. During FY '00 and '01, the course was offered at 729 locations and 13,031 students successfully completed the class.
- During FY '00 and '01, approximately 624 volunteer hunter safety instructors taught a total of 440 hunter safety classes, which were completed by a total of 14,081 sporting enthusiasts. The class is required for people who did not hunt prior to 1977 - which includes everyone under 18 years of age.
"If bread is the first necessity of life, recreation is a close second."
Edward Bellamy, American Author