ANNAPOLIS, MD—Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford today announced the first Maryland State Park Week at Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area in Baltimore County. Lt. Governor Rutherford presented a proclamation from Governor Larry Hogan declaring April 10 to 16 Maryland State Park Week and recognizing the important role that state parks and recreational areas play in the lives of Marylanders.
“The forests, parks, and wildlife management areas in Maryland offer us ample opportunities to appreciate natural beauty, enjoy new adventures, and make lasting memories,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “As we continue the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, we should continue to explore the hidden gems in our backyards and take advantage of the outdoor recreational opportunities available to us all.”
Lt. Governor Rutherford was joined at Soldiers Delight by Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina, as well as members of local nonprofits that promotestewardship and conservation.
During Maryland State Park Week, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Lt. Governor Rutherford will highlight daily themes that encourage Marylanders to rethink the way they view their relationship with nature and explore how they can make a positive impact on the environment and our communities. The daily themes include: discover nature, discover careers, discover history, discover the difference, discover adventure, discover waterways, and discover connections.
“We are honored to join the lieutenant governor today and look forward to putting even more focus on the daily themes for the first Maryland State Park Week,” said Secretary Haddaway-Riccio. “Enjoying our natural resources responsibly, learning about our history and natural history, and making connections through outdoor experiences are all key to our mission at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.”
Lt. Governor Rutherford is committed to visiting Maryland’s 75 state parks by January of 2023 and highlighting the available natural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities through his State Park Bucket List. In addition to his visit to Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, Lt. Governor Rutherford also toured North Point Battlefield and North Point State Park.
Today’s State Park Week launch also recognized the tireless work of Maryland State Park Rangers, who have worked to keep recreational areas open during the pandemic.
Maryland State Parks experienced two years of record-setting attendance in 2019 and 2020. Last year, state parks welcomed 21.5 million visitors, a 45% increase in attendance over the previous year. State parks have welcomed an estimated 2.58 million visitors in the first three months of 2021, and two parks, Patapsco Valley and Calvert Cliffs, have closed a combined 13 times this year due to capacity limits.
Maryland State Park Week precedes National Park Week, which is held April 17 to 25. Maryland is home to more than two dozen national parks, historic and scenic trails, as well as historic sites.