News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland State Parks Experience Record Attendance Over Holiday Weekend

Annapolis, MD (July 12, 2010) — The Maryland Parks Service (MPS), a division of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), experienced a record number of visitors at State Parks over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. A total of 421,788 visitors enjoyed Maryland State Parks from Friday, July 2 through Monday, July 5, a significant increase from holiday weekends in previous years.

“Maryland State Parks are the perfect destination for families during holiday weekends or any other time of the year,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Our Parks give Maryland families the opportunity for outdoor education, serene and peaceful escapes from city life as well as fun family activities.”

While most State Parks were busy handling the heavy traffic, a few were particularly active over the weekend. Elk Neck State Park naturalists hosted 15 programs involving 600 participants, all while keeping the Nature Center open. The Assateague State Park Nature Center had 2,585 participants during the week, including the Fourth of July youth carnival on Saturday. Patapsco Valley State Park drew additional staff from the north end of the park to accommodate the needs of visitors and closed a few areas after reaching capacity, including Orange Grove on both Sunday and Monday afternoon and the Avalon area on Sunday.

The following areas filled to capacity at some point over the holiday weekend:
Greenbrier State Park
Assateague State Park
Sandy Point State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park
Point Lookout State Park
Rocky Gap State Park
Rocks State Park, Hills Grove and Wilson’s areas
North Point State Park
Gunpowder Falls State Park, Hammerman Area
Patapsco Valley State Park, Avalon area

The following figures represent the number of visitors that all State Parks experienced from Saturday through Monday over the Fourth of July holiday weekend for the past three years, including day-use and total numbers:

Year Day Use Total
2010 326,219 350,595
2009 274,726 303,996
2008  251,376 278,941

   July 12, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at