A Message from the Secretary

December 2016

Secretary Mark Belton on 1st Day HikeChange is on the way!

Trees once flush with buds and leaves now reveal their limbs and trunks, the sweet air of summer has turned to cold, crisp gusts of wind and the hearty ground, once bountiful with life, has become firmer beneath our feet.

Winter is a time for change but it is also a wonderful time of year to go for a walk to appreciate the great outdoors and nature’s ever-changing beauty. And there’s no better place to do just that than at a Maryland State Park for a First Day Hike.

1st Day Hike SceneRangers, staff and knowledgeable volunteers offer guided hikes at many of our 72 state parks. Participants get to enjoy the opportunity to start 2017 off on the right foot by getting active and connecting with the great outdoors.  

We’re hosting First Day Hikes at dozens of locations across the state, from Assateague in Worcester County on the Eastern Shore to Swallows Falls in Garrett County in beautiful Mountain Maryland. 

To complement these special activities and events this holiday season, I encourage you to consider a green gift for those outdoor enthusiast in your life.  

Our park passports – valid for the calendar year - are now available for purchase through our online store. Also for sale are our 12-month wall calendar and subscriptions to our seasonal magazine, the Maryland Natural Resource. You can even buy tree seedlings and wildlife apparel.

I hope you’ll take some time to browse our store and join us on the first of the year for a First Day Hike!  

From all of us at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, I wish you a joyous holiday season\ and a happy and healthy new year.

DNR Secretary Belton's Signature

Mark J. Belton
Natural Resources Secretary