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Park Quest 2012 Registration Opens May 14

 The Brannon Braves had a fantastic time exploring the salt marshes of Janes Island during last year's Park Quest Challenge

Annapolis, Md. (May 10, 2012) – Families across the State are gearing up for a summer of adventure with the Maryland Park Service annual park-hopping challenge. Registration for Park Quest 2012 opens at 10 a.m. on May 14 and interested participants are encouraged to register right away because the event is expected to fill up quickly.

“We created Park Quest, an outdoor adventure-based program, to encourage families to get outside and experience the wonders of our natural world,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. “Our goal was to create an educational program, in support of the national No Child Left Inside initiative, that children and families would enjoy - but the overwhelming response has completely taken us by surprise.”

Up to 1,000 teams can register online at dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest to take part in the program’s fifth season. Last year, the event reached capacity in just 26 hours. Registered teams will have free access to the 23 featured sites with their Park Quest Passport, where they will participate in activities such as kayaking, hiking, letterboxing, orienteering, scavenger hunts, biking and horseback riding.

This year’s theme is Where a Family Becomes a Team. A team consists of at least one adult and one child 16 years of age or younger, and can be as large as 10 people. Each group’s goal is to compete in at least 10 quests from May 26 to September 3, 2012.

Teams who successfully complete 10 of 23 quests by September 3 are eligible to compete in the Park Quest Rendezvous on September 29 at the Pickall Area of Patapsco Valley State Park in Howard County. The event will feature a variety of physical and memory-oriented competitions, festival activities, vendors and family programs. Teams that are registered and onsite for the Rendezvous will also be eligible for door prizes. There will be a grand prize drawing for teams that complete all 23 quests.

Park Quest has introduced hundreds of families to the many hidden treasures found in Maryland’s breathtaking public lands. Registration is free and includes entrance into all participating State Parks and all the quest activities. More information is available at dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest.

“We encourage adults and children to routinely go outside to play together,” said Settina. “The things that a child learns and experiences with an adult today become the fond memories and wisdom that will influence our future.”

Maryland State Parks not only provide great outdoor recreation opportunities - they are also a great asset to State and local economies. According to a 2010 study, conducted in partnership with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic 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 Maryland invests in State Parks —during their visits. And nearly 95 percent of visitors had their expectations met or exceeded during visits.


   May 10, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

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 one-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. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov