Spring is around the corner, and as usual, many of us have spring fever. The good news is that our amazing DNR staff have readied our parks and public lands to greet the millions of visitors we receive each year.

It is essential that we balance increased visitation with our responsibility to protect and care for the lands that have been entrusted to us. That is why I was so pleased to join Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford a few weeks ago for a special announcement regarding funding for our public lands. 

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford hands his trail-hiking stick to Governor Larry Hogan during an announcement Greenbrier State Park. Credit: Patrick Siebert

The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget includes a record investment of $75 million for the Maryland Park Service representing a 20-year high in funding. Additionally, the governor’s budget proposes $37 million for critical maintenance projects so we can make important upgrades and repairs to our facilities. Last but not least, in support of communities across Maryland, the budget includes $85 million for local parks and playground infrastructure to help ensure that all Marylanders get to enjoy the great outdoors.

At the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, we like to say that outdoor recreation is a team sport – every unit at our department is focused on how we can protect our natural resources and encourage outdoor recreation. We will continue to strive to make Maryland a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts around the world. 

We appreciate your support of our endeavors and encourage you to join in your own outdoor adventures this year!

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natura Resources.

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