News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Park Service Celebrates The International Year Of The Forest With National Walk In The Woods Day Hikes

Annapolis, Md. (May 17, 2011) - The Maryland Park Service (MPS) and Maryland Forest Service will celebrate the International Year of the Forest (IYOF) and National Walk in the Woods day with free guided hikes from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday May 21 throughout the State. Each hike is designed to give visitors an opportunity to explore the parks’ beautiful forest trails and will include breaks for photography, and reflection.

“This is a great opportunity to take children outdoors to enjoy our State’s beautiful forest trails,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Maryland’s parents play a vital role in creating the next generation of environmental stewards who will ensure the protection of our natural resources.”

The American Forest Foundation created National Walk in the Woods day to inspire families to discover a forest and learn about its importance by participating in or leading a “walk in the woods.”

Participants should reserve a spot in advance and are encouraged to pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic in the park after the hike. The free hikes will take place at the following State Parks:

Pocomoke River State Park
Location: Shad Landing Camp Store
Registration: 410-632-2566 ext 106

Wye Island State Park
Location: School House Nature Trail Parking Area
Registration: 410-820-1668 or 410-827-7577

Patapsco Valley State Park
Location: McKeldin Area
Registration: 410-461-5005

Gunpowder Falls State Park
Location: Big Falls Rd and the Big Gunpowder Falls
Registration: 410-592-2897

Cunningham Falls State Park
Location: Falls Trail
Registration: 301-271-7574

Seneca Creek State Park
Location: Park Office
Registration: 301-924-2127

Swallow Falls State Park
Location: Trailhead at main parking lot
Registration: 301-334-9180

As part of the IYOF, the National Association of State Foresters and the US Forest Service have partnered to create “Celebrate Forests, Celebrate Life,” a comprehensive collection of events and resources to educate and inform the public on nationwide celebrations of forests.

Maryland’s State Parks not only provide great outdoor recreation for Marylanders and visitors, they are also a great asset to State and local economies. According to a recent study, conducted in partnership with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, Maryland state parks have an estimated annual economic benefit of more than $650 million. In 2010, visitors directly spent more than $567 million locally — $25.56 locally for every dollar the State invests in state parks —during their visits. And almost 95 percent of visitors had their expectations met or exceeded during visits.

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under the initiative, which is now being used as a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Conservation Jobs Corps and the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.

   May 17, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at