Queen Anne’s Cancels Parks & Rec Summer Camp Program

Queen Anne's County announced the cancellation of its summer camp program due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. The County's Department of Parks and Recreation, which runs the program, said that the inaccessibility of school buildings and the inability to meet social distancing guidelines make this year's program impossible. “We are disappointed that we need to cancel our summer camp program this year but the safety of our staff and participants is very important…

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Pandemic Underscores Importance of Parks and Open Space Funding

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the value of public parks and demonstrated a need for increased investment to prepare for the future. Local parks and open space have seen large increases in usage during the pandemic as residents seek places to exercise and relief from cabin fever. So many people are crowding parks that local officials have had to take action to discourage crowds and keep visitors safe, even going as far as temporarily removing…

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Hogan Lifts Stay-At-Home Order, Emphasizes Local Flexibility

Governor Larry Hogan today held a press conference to announce the commencement of Stage One of the "Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery." “The fight against this deadly disease is far from over. But because of the incredible courage you have shown and the extraordinary sacrifices you have made, Maryland and our nation can now at least begin to slowly recover" said Hogan. He announced that Maryland "has achieved the 14-day trend of plateauing and declining…

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Baltimore City Council Bill Would Open More Roads to Pedestrians During Pandemic

Baltimore City Councilmembers have introduced a bill that would close over 25 miles of road during the pandemic and open the space to residents. It has become clear that during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, parks are playing an extraordinary role in maintaining open space that residents can utilize for recreation. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt virtually all daily activities, more and more cities are experimenting with temporary road closures to allow even more…

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Montgomery and Prince George’s Councils Adopt FY 21 Bi-County Budgets

Prince George’s and Montgomery County Council Members, convening virtually this week for the annual Bi-County Budget meeting, unanimously adopted the FY 21 budgets for WSSC Water, the bi-county portion of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), and the Washington Suburban Transit Commission (WSTC). The Fiscal Year 2021 Bi-County budgets are effective July 1, 2020. Both Councils agreed to a WSSC Operating Budget of $849.7 million and a Capital Budget of $606.7 million, which…

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Land and Water Conservation Fund Fights for Federal Stimulus Money

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition (LWCF Coalition), is advocating for a funding appropriation in the next stimulus package for infrastructure investments at national, state, and local parks, along with other public lands. Federal leaders have previously expressed support, but momentum has since stalled due to the COVID-19 crisis. Since its creation in 1964, the LWCF has used federal money to protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife…

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Hogan Amends Stay at Home Order to Allow More Outdoor Activities

Golf, recreational boating, and some other outdoor activities are once again permitted in Maryland. Governor Hogan today announced that he has amended the Stay at Home order by adding to the list of permitted outdoor activities. Now included are golfing, tennis, and similar activities, outdoor fitness instruction, recreational fishing and hunting, recreational boating, and horseback riding. State beaches and playgrounds will also be opened. From the press release: Local governments will have the flexibility to…

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County Recreation Goes Digital

With social distancing guidelines keeping people six feet apart and an executive order limiting gatherings to ten individuals or less, county recreation and park departments are promoting digital tools to keep people active and engaged with their communities. Parks are open so that residents can access the trails and open spaces, but playgrounds, courts, and public facilities are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To fill the void, several county recreation and parks departments…

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Baltimore City to Begin Securing Playground Equipment Amid Lack of Social Distancing

Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks will begin removing exercise and playground equipment after numerous incidents of residents not adhering to social distancing guidelines. Mayor Jack Young and the Department of Recreation and Parks Executive Director Reginald Moore have announced that the City will begin securing exercise and playground equipment from parks in Baltimore. The move is in response to a lack of social distancing at some of the 145 playgrounds within the City.…

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Increased Trail Traffic at Local Parks

As businesses temporarily close and teleworking increases, many residents are naturally spending less time outside their homes. In an effort to redress their daily schedules, many are visiting local parks to utilize trails and public outdoor areas. Local agencies are encouraging park visitors to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining safe distances from other visitors, refraining from participating in team sports, avoiding touching surfaces like playground equipment, and staying…

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