Wounded Warrior and Veteran Outreach Program

Veterans Hiking at Gunpowder Falls State Park 

From the mountains of Western Maryland to the sandy Person standing on the edge of a cliff enjoying the viewbeaches of Assateague, the Maryland Park Service is proud to offer wonderful recreational opportunities for our wounded warriors, veterans and their families to enjoy.

With 66 State Parks, we provide activities such as hiking, biking, boating, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, teambuilding ropes courses, hunting and camping. Such experiences as these will aid in the veteran's mental and physical well-being and establish a new base of potential employees.

Maryland is situated in close proximity to our nation’s Capitol and multiple military installations.

Installations/facilities include:

  • US Army Fort Meade - Warrior Transition Unit, MD
  • US Air Force - Andrews Air Force Base, MD
  • US Marine Corps - Wounded Warrior Regiment, Quantico, VA
  • US Coast Guard - District 5, Portsmouth, VA
  • US Air Force - Dover Air Force Base, DE
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center - Bethesda, MD
  • Naval Air Station Patuxent River - Patuxent River, MD
  • Garrison Aberdeen Proving Ground - Aberdeen, MD

The Wounded Warrior & Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Christina Holden, researches facilities and identifies how to best accommodate the recreational needs of our servicemen and women. The objective of the program is to provide our state's servicemen and women with unique opportunities to work, learn, volunteer and recreate in the rich natural habitats of Maryland.

Southern Maryland Vacations for Vets is a program created to give our wounded or sick service members, from local military hospitals and treatment centers, a chance to relax with their family in a quiet country setting. It is a chance for them to escape the hospital routine and/or forget about their traumatic experiences. The weekend retreat is completely free of charge for the guests.

Warrior Canine Connection

Warrior Canine service dogThe Warrior Canine Connection (WCC), will be moving their headquarters to the Schaeffer Farm Area of Seneca Creek State Park. WCC is a non-profit organization that helps veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and brain injuries train service dogs for other veterans. The new location will enable WCC to add an Apprentice Service Dog Training program and offer art and music therapy, as well as acupuncture and eventually add equine therapy and therapeutic farming and gardening. The area within Schaeffer Farm offers a tranquil restorative setting close to Walter Reed, providing the ideal location for Warriors to transition back into civilian and family life. What’s more, this partnership will result in the rehabilitation and long-term caretaking of the Farm. “DNR’s Maryland Park Service is excited to support American servicemen and women at Seneca Creek State Park, which provides a 6,000-acre oasis conducive to the services provided by the Warrior Canine Connection (WCC),” says Nita Settina, Superintendent, Maryland Park Service. “The Park offers a unique opportunity for the State, WCC, military medical providers and volunteers to join forces, harness the healing power of our natural resources and serve the needs of returning Warriors and Veterans.” Visit the Warrior Canine Connection website for more information.

OPERATION: CAMPOUT! 

It's never too late to discover the joys of sitting around a roaring campfire, roasting marshmallows or sleeping under the stars!

The Maryland Park Service is proud to partner with The North Face: Explore Your Parks, to offer an opportunity to camp at selected state parks.

With the new OPERATION: CAMPOUT! Program, we can lend you gear free of charge (includes a tent, chairs, stove, lantern and more). This program is designed for military individuals and military families new to camping or experienced campers stationed or recovering in this area.OPERATION: CAMPOUT! is an opportunity for families to reconnect with each other and the great outdoors in a comfortable, safe and relaxing setting.

Campsites have picnic tables and fire pits. Some sites have electric hook-ups. Restrooms and shower facilities are nearby. The state parks participating in OPERATION: CAMPOUT! are:


Once you’ve decided where you want to camp, contact the park directly by phone to make your reservation. Be sure to let them know you are reserving through OPERATION: CAMPOUT!  Click here for Operation Campout iconmore program details, including FAQ’s and service charges for the campsite.

 

Warrior Hike LogoWARRIOR HIKE
"Walk Off The War" PROGRAM

The Warrior Hike "Walk Off The War" Program is an outdoor therapy program that supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service by thru-hiking America's National Scenic Trails, which includes Maryland on the Appalachian Trail.

Warrior Hike supports veterans participating in the "Walk Off The War" Program by providing them with the equipment and supplies required to complete a thru-hike, and coordinating trail town support with the numerous veteran and hiking organizations that are located along the trails. Warrior Hike also assists with future employment opportunities with the program's numerous partners and supporters.

For further information about their organization, Acrobat iconClick here to view the Warrior Hike tri-fold pamphlet

 

For further information about the Warrior Hike, Acrobat iconClick here to view the Warrior Hike schedule

 

For further information about the Warrior Hike participants, Acrobat iconClick here to view the Warrior Hike profiles

 

DAY USE SERVICES

Many of our state parks are available for resource based recreation activities at no charge throughout the year. Others will vary the service charge with the day of week and season of year. There are several options for those facilities that do have a service charge.

For active duty military, you may enter free of charge by showing military I.D. For visitors with a disability, you may apply for our universal disability pass which is a free lifetime pass. For visitors over the age of 62, you may apply for our Golden Age Pass which entitles you to free day use entry. This pass has a one-time $10 administrative fee. Another option for families, is our Maryland Passport that can be purchased for a yearly fee of $75. This pass entitles unlimited day use entry for everyone in the vehicle (up to 10 people) to Maryland’s state parks, including unlimited boat launching. For more information and applications, visit our website on state park passes.

Explore Your Parks Camping 101 Program

Thanks to The North Face: Explore Your Parks Explore you parks camping 101 weekendCamping 101 program, we proudly hosted 12 military families from nearby bases for a fun-filled weekend at Patapsco Valley State Park. The park staff was on hand all weekend with planned activities including nature crafts, outdoor cooking demonstrations, geocaching, disc golf, photography hike, canoeing and fishing. Thanks to all who made the weekend extra special, providing families an opportunity to reconnect and enjoy the Great Outdoors: Patapsco Valley State Park staff and Volunteers, The North Face, Sierra Club, REI, and the American Hiking Society.

The North Face Explore Your Parks Camping 101 Program for military families at Patapsco Valley State Park (June 2012)

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PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA BASS TOUR

Smallwood State Park in Marbury, Maryland is the proud host for Paralyzed Veterans of America “CapitalPhoto of participants on a bass boat Clash” National PVA Bass Tournament, a B.A.S.S. sanctioned event on June 5-7, 2015.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America Bass Tour consists of seven two-day tournaments, which are held at various locations around the country. Each tournament consists of an Open/Team Competition for those anglers who wish to fish from a boat and a Bank Competition for those who prefer to fish from shore. Disabled anglers in the Open/Team Competition are paired with able-bodied boat partners for the two-day event. On day one, only the disabled anglers compete for significant prizes. On day two, the paired anglers compete as a team for cash prizes. The boat partners serve as coaches and help find fishing locations and choose baits. Disabled anglers in the Bank Competition are paired with volunteers who assist them in whatever they cannot do themselves while fishing. Although only the anglers with disabilities fish in the Open Competition, awards and prizes are given to both. For more information on the PVA Bass Tournament, go to: www.pva.org.

Online Services


Contact the Park Service

  • To Report Violations of Park Rules: 1-800-825-7275 (Park Watch) or 1-410-260-8888 (Communications Center)
  • General Information: 1-800-830-3974 (Annapolis Office)
  • Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
  • Email Us