Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Being Green at our Parks and at home...

Maryland’s 66 State Parks are quite busy as summer is in full swing! We sure hope you’re taking time to get outdoors with family and friends. The weather’s been nice and there are and countless recreational opportunities in your State Parks or even your own backyard!

Under the leadership of Governor Martin O’Malley, the employees of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources invite you to join them in their mission to conserve Maryland’s precious natural resources. The Department has adopted a philosophy of Sustainability, which emphasizes ways that humans can thrive by living in harmony with the natural world.

The Maryland Park Service has initiated sustainable practices throughout your 66 State Parks, including: insulating buildings, installing energy efficient light bulbs, tankless water heaters and rain barrels. New buildings use state-of-the-art green technologies and maintenance staff is replacing lawns with rain gardens, meadows and forests.

Here are a few things you can do to join our Sustainability cause:

Pack it in, Pack it out! Maryland’s state parks are TRASH-FREE. We have eliminated unsightly trash cans and ask you please pack out your waste using the trash bags provided in the park. We have begun providing trash bags made from a corn-based material that is 100% biodegradable and will not harm the environment once decomposed. And, don’t forget to recycle when you get home.

Camp Smart. While staying in your RV or cabin, reduce energy use and minimize your carbon footprint by turning off lights and lowering heat or limiting air conditioning use when you are outside enjoying nature.

Try This At Home. Replace your downspouts with rain barrels, insulate your water heater or replace your lawn with a meadow. Ask a Park Ranger for ideas and guidance on sustainability practices used in State Parks.

Volunteer. Join our 8,000 volunteers to ensure a sustainable future for your State Parks. Plant trees, maintain trails, lead interpretive activities, support the operation of campgrounds and nature centers and help organize special events. Visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/volunteer.html
to learn more about fun opportunities allowing you to lend your energy and talents to benefit your State Parks.

I invite you to share your own ideas and sustainable practices you exercise at home! I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure others would too!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Welcome to Maryland Parks and Park Quest!

Now that summer is almost upon us, it's time to relish in some unhurried, unstructured days enjoying the outdoors in your State Parks. These special places have been preserved for you to enjoy and to create a lifetime of memories, all at an affordable cost or free of charge. Even though we serve over 11 million visitors annually, we know that the majority of you drive past your parks every day and rarely discover their rewards. We don't have a marketing budget to get your attention, so we are interested in other strategies you might suggest to help us spread the word about State Park opportunities and encourage more people like you to try their State Parks. We may be biased, but we think we have the best antidotes for eliminating stress and introducing fun and relaxation into your life!

Did you know that there are 66 Maryland State Parks, within easy driving distance of most communities, that uniquely provide scenic, inspiring and peaceful get-aways? Reserve one of our 131 historic, rustic cabins, a quaint Mill Pond cottage or a campsite situated under towering trees. Take in the fresh air on over 700 miles of land and water trails with the help of expert, waterproof trail guides. Learn new things about nature and Maryland history by signing-up for an interpretive program led by one of our dedicated Park Rangers or knowledgeable park naturalist staff. Volunteer your talents and energy by joining our friendly team of volunteers, who help support our services to park visitors. It's pretty easy to learn more about these many rewarding ways that you can enjoy and support your State Parks this summer by visiting our website at: www.dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands

Maybe you are looking for new ways to experience your State Parks with children in your family? Consider joining the Maryland Park Service's newest program, called Park Quest. A competition of sorts, the Park Quest program provides the first 300 families that sign-up with free games, like scavenger hunts with a GPS unit or riddles solved from a canoe and flipcams for videotaping your adventures. An end of summer finale of contests and fantastic prizes is scheduled on August 8. Details about this State Park program can be found on our website at www.dnr.state.md.us/parkquest

Perhaps you have other ideas like Park Quest that can encourage Marylanders and visitors to our State to spend valued time in their State Parks? Let us know what you think! What obstacles are holding you back and coming between you and your State Parks? We all know that life is short and our time together is precious and finite. Let's not put off another day or weekend without taking advantage of these treasured resources to reconnect with ourselves, our friends and family and with some of Maryland's most beautiful, natural places.

See you out there!

Nita Settina, Superintendent
Maryland Park Service

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome to the Love Our Parks Blog!

Stay tuned for more information about this venture!