DNR Invites Families to Join Park Quest Adventures

DNR Invites Families to Join Park Quest Adventures
Governor O'Malley Encourages Citizens to Explore Maryland State Parks

Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is Main Sponsor of 2nd Annual Program for Families
Annapolis, Md. and Washington County, MD - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites families to sign up for the second season of Park Quest, a Maryland Park Service outdoor adventure-based program designed to encourage families to spend more time playing together in the great outdoors.
"Our State Parks are host to some of the most magnificent natural sights and wildlife," said Governor O'Malley in a DNR announcement. "This summer, I encourage Maryland families to take advantage of this opportunity to spend time with their family in our beautiful outdoor destinations."
Park Quest is a free 11-week competition, beginning on May 9 and continuing through July 26, which challenges families to complete designated outdoor activities and challenges at 14 specific state parks throughout Maryland. Participants who complete 8 of the 14 challenge activities will qualify to compete in the Park Quest Finale on August 8, 2009 at Tuckahoe State Park.
The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is one of the financial sponsors of Park Quest, and two state parks in Washington County are participating. "This FREE program will help attract families to Washington County's Western Maryland Rail Trail and the Washington Monument State Park," said Tom Riford, President of the CVB. "With eight state parks in Washington County, it's always exciting to have families enjoying the wonderful outdoor amenities that are here."
"Maryland State Parks and our Park Quest adventures offer every citizen, young or old, the opportunity to connect with our natural world," said DNR Secretary John Griffin. "Research has shown time and again that children that spend time outdoors become better students, better citizens and ultimately better stewards of our environment."
Up to 300 teams, made up of at least one team member 16 years of age or younger and one adult, may visit 14 Maryland State Parks and take part in a variety of activities. Upon completing assigned activities, such as paddling quiet streams, hiking trails in search of historic clues, finding items on a scavenger hunt, and even disc golf, the team will receive a stamp on their Park Quest passport.
At the conclusion of the 11-week period, teams that have at least 8 completed Park Quests logged in their Passport will be invited to attend The Park Quest Finale. At the Finale, teams compete in games of chance, environmental knowledge and outdoor skills for the opportunity to win one of several great family prize packages. Prizes at the final competition are made possible by several private and corporate sponsors, including the Hagerstown-Washington County CVB and Cecil County Tourism.
Interested Park Quest participants must register online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest or by contacting the Maryland Park Service at 410-260-8186 or toll-free at 1-800-830-3974, Monday through Friday.
To help ensure that all Maryland children have an opportunity to experience and connect with nature, last spring Governor Martin O'Malley established MarylandR17;s Partnership for Children in Nature, a coalition of state, local, private and non-profit partners charged with promoting the well-being of youth by accelerating environmental learning, connecting communities to parks and public lands and expanding opportunities for structured and unstructured outdoor time in nature for both play and learning. The Partnership's initial report is expected to be presented to the Governor in April.
For more information about Hagerstown and Washington County, Maryland, see: www.marylandmemories.com.
The Washington Monument State Park is home to America's FIRST Washington Monument, built and dedicated on July 4, 1827. The monument is high atop South Mountain in Washington County, and overlooks Boonsboro and the Great Valley.
The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) begins approximately one-half mile west of historic Fort Frederick State Park and winds along the Potomac River for 22.5 miles, through rolling farmland, woodlands, and rural towns to its terminus at the southern slope of Sideling Hill Ridge. The wonderfully paved rail trail has been called a "Cathedral in the Trees," and is visited by nearly 100,000 outdoor enthusiasts annually.

This information was provided by the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitor's Bureau - www.marylandmemories.com