A Message from the Secretary

July 2016

Secretary Mark Belton officaiting at ribbon cutting ceremony for the expanded Hart-Miller Island State ParkI am going to fill you in on a little secret; it is my personal and professional goal to visit every single one of our 72 state parks during my service and tenure as secretary. While ambitious, I think it is a worthwhile goal to experience each and every one of our parks in our vast statewide network, which covers the sand dunes of the Atlantic Ocean to the mountain ranges of western Maryland.

Touring our parks gives me an opportunity to speak with rangers and staff about their challenges and successes and allows me to experience the area’s amenities, both as an administrator and a citizen. Last month I had the chance to check another park off my list – Hart-Miller Island State Park in Baltimore County. I had the distinct honor of participating in the grand opening/ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newest section of the park, the south cell. Now open to the public (May-September), this area contains more than eight miles of trails and features some of the best birding in the state.

This unique island – accessible only by boat – was created from reclaimed material from the Port of Baltimore. The park is testament to the power of partnerships, both within government (the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Port Administration and Maryland Environmental Services all worked together on the project) as well as with the public vis-à-vis the local Community Oversight Committee. This partnership will continue to develop the much larger north cell of the island over the next 4 years.

Secretary Mark Belton officiating at ribbon cutting ceremony for the expanded Hart-Miller Island State Park

Through hard work and dedication, we recycled discarded dredge material and converted it into a recreational asset for the state and its citizens. I hope you can add Hart-Miller Island to your own personal bucket list. It truly is a great spot for beach-goers, bicyclists, birders and boaters alike. One park down and several more to go…

DNR Secretary Belton's Signature

Mark Belton

Natural Resources Secretary