Two nonprofit organizations and two private businesses have been named Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors, recognized for their efforts to promote and expand access to the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities.
Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio named the ambassadors during site visits to their facilities. As part of their responsibilities, the ambassadors will continue working to enhance the state’s status as a leading destination for outdoor recreation.
The newest group of Maryland Outdoor Ambassador organizations are:
Black Girls Dive Foundation, Randallstown, co-founded by Dr. Nevada Winrow and Taylor Simon-Winrow. This organization empowers and encourages young black women to be involved in recreational swimming and diving; ocean-related science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) academic pursuits; and environmental stewardship. Activities include SCUBA and scientific diving, coral restoration using 3D printing technology, a dive education program in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Sanctuaries; and travel to a national marine park in Egypt.
City Ranch, Windsor Mill, owned by Ahesahmahk and Jean Dahn. This nonprofit equestrian center operating since 2007 provides horseback riding and educational opportunities for youth in Baltimore County and Baltimore City, bringing the horses to the children. The Dahns have worked with children in the Baltimore area for more than 30 years, working with school groups, teaching private and group lessons, and being involved in parties and events, including partnering with the Maryland Department of Agriculture and bringing horses to the Maryland State Fair.
Trout and About, Monkton, owned by Phil Gay and Carol Stevenson. This company has provided the Baltimore area with in-person educational classes and fly fishing experiences, primarily on the Gunpowder River, for more than 15 years. Phil Gay is a retired Naval Officer who has been fly fishing since he was 10 years old, and his wife, Carol, has been an avid fly fisher for 25 years. Phil is a Federation of Fly Fishers Master Certified Instructor and has also produced instructional angling videos.
Backwater Angler, Monkton, owned by Theaux Le Gardeur. This fly fishing shop and fishing guide service has been serving Gunpowder River anglers for more than 20 years, employing four staff members and four fishing guides. Le Gardeur is authorized by the Maryland Park Service to conduct guided fishing trips and instruction within the Hereford Area of Gunpowder Falls State Park. Le Gardeur is a public interest member of the State Water Quality Advisory Commission and has led volunteer groups in collecting samples for the Maryland Biological Stream Survey and other scientific surveys. He also is the executive director and Riverkeeper for Gunpowder Riverkeepers.
“Deputizing” ambassadors was one of the recommendations from the Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic (MORE) Commission, which was established by Governor Larry Hogan via Executive Order in 2017.
The outdoor recreation economy in Maryland already generates 109,000 direct jobs, $14 billion in consumer spending, $4.4 billion in wages and salaries, and $951 million in state and local tax revenue. Nationwide the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending, supports $7.6 million jobs, and provides $125 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue annually.