12 June 2023- Nineteen Maryland State Parks projects were awarded grants that focused on conservation, environmental education or outdoor recreation. The grants awarded totaled $31,280.
Assateague Island State Park
Purchasing 2-3 stand up paddle boards for park visitors to learn how to safely and efficiently use this type of watercraft. The boards will also be used for the Healthy Parks, Healthy People event. The purpose of encourage people to get more active while also growing their love for the outdoors.
Cunningham Falls State Park
Will provide support for the SUCCESS Program – a program offered through the Frederick County School System for young adults with developmental disabilities from ages 18-21.
Deep Creek Lake State Park
The park will install two public bike work stands at each of the park’s two mountain bike trail heads. Over 1000 mountain bikers use the trails at the park each year.
Gambrill State Park
Purchase equipment to host Movie Night at the park. This will be an outreach program to engage the local community and introduce them to the staff at the park.
Gathland State Park
This project will better inform the public about Townsend’s estate by installing a self-guided interpretation sound box in conjunction and sign. The park has a unique history that included the estate of Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend.
Greenbrier State Park (4 projects)
Big Red Bridge Trail
Beach Front Pollinator
Reforestation Field Reforestation
Janes Island State Park
Construct an Osprey platform with predator guard that will provide suitable nesting areas for the ospreys that return each year to the park.
New Germany State Park
Development and implantation of an Ice Safety and Ice Fishing Program. Participants will learn the skills to be a successful ice angler.
Patapsco Valley State Park
Will provide fishing kits at three locations in the park. These kits will provide all of the basic equipment to catch fish at the park. Specific Event days to include – free fishing days, CJC, Junior Rangers, and Beginner Fishing programs.
Pocomoke River State Park
Construct a new commercial canoe and kayak rack for the boat house. This will provide a safe and experiential opportunity for accessing the Pocomoke River via canoe or kayak.
Rocky Gap State Park
Will add an open-water swimming component and designated space for fitness swimming, or lap swimming in the park. Provides a safe space to expand aquatic fitness program offerings in the park to improve outdoor recreation amenities that support healthy and active lifestyles.
Sandy Point State Park
Will enhance the Sandy Point Plaza Bathhouse Conservation Landscape Plantings on the plaza near the bathhouse in the South Beach Plaza area.
Sang Run State Park
Install the Blackbox U-Turn Round audio device near the square foot garden that is behind the Friends Store and is also the starting point of the Blue Bird Trail.
Smallwood State Park
Install a Blackbox U-Turn Round audio device on the General Walk’s Tour from the waterfront to the historic area. The recordings can be easily changed to accommodate all visitors to the park.
Seneca Creek State Park
Purchase 2-3 kayaks to allow visitors to explore Clopper Lake. The kayaks will be available to rent at the boat house.
Provides additional Spanish language resources, materials, and give-away items that are accessible to Spanish speaking guests. These resources will help to engage visitors in educational efforts, promote a sense of ownership among guests, and create awareness of the resources Maryland State Parks have to share.
The Friends of Maryland State Parks Foundation recently awarded 19 grants totaling $31,280 to Maryland State Parks statewide, through the organization’s “Small Grants, Big Impact” initiative. These funds will provide resources to parks throughout the state for fishing education, bike repair stands, reforestation, and the purchase of kayaks and paddle boards.
“We value our partnership with the Friends of Maryland State Parks and their contributors as it allows us to support and maintain several community-based programs,” said Maryland Park Service Acting Superintendent Ranger Angela Crenshaw. “As the name of this program states, these small grants provide an opportunity for our staff to develop additional projects that have a big impact on the services we provide.”
Through its Small Grants program, begun in 2020, the nonprofit provides $2,000 grants to state parks to help them achieve their mission to provide for wise stewardship and enjoyment of Maryland’s public lands.
In addition to individual projects at 15 different parks, the program is also providing funds for additional Spanish language resources, materials, and giveaway items to engage visitors in educational efforts, promote a sense of ownership among guests, and create awareness of the resources Maryland State Parks have to share.
“Our state parks are being used more than ever, with more than 20 million annual visitors,” said Friends of Maryland State Parks Board President Chuck Hecker. “It is important for us to give back to keep our parks vital for this and future generations.”
Major contributors to the grant program in 2023 were the Live.Give.Run Foundation (Charm City Run), Mary Jean and Oliver Travers Foundation, David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation, along with more than 100 other contributors.