News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Park Service Launches Statewide Volunteer Coordination System

Annapolis, Md. (April 14, 2011) - To coincide with National Volunteer Week, the Maryland Park Service (MPS) has launched a new online statewide volunteer coordination system to make volunteering in state parks easier than ever.

“Our network of volunteers strengthens Maryland’s State Parks and improves the experience of our visitors,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. “This new website makes it easier for volunteers to find opportunities throughout the State.”

Volunteers can now visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/ and click on the “volunteers” tab to register with the new system and create a profile. Opportunities can be searched by keyword, zip code and distance, specific interest, activity, availability and specific park name. Users can also sign up for opportunities, enter volunteer hours and view their referrals and placements.

“The new system not only empowers the volunteers to become more self-sufficient but it also allows park staff to be more efficient in working with our many volunteers,” said MPS Statewide Volunteer Coordinator Larry Martin.

Implementation of the Volunteer Program will now be consistent statewide. A registered volunteer who lives in western Maryland and regularly volunteers at their nearby state park can now sign up for an opportunity at a state park on the eastern shore if they so choose, and their hours can easily be tracked.

The Maryland Park Service benefits greatly from the time and effort donated by its volunteers. Individuals and groups are encouraged to become part of the statewide network of thousands of park volunteers in Maryland's 66 state parks and five state forests who donate hundreds of thousands of hours of service each year. They provide enthusiasm, energy and creativity to the wide variety of tasks they accomplish. Volunteer benefits include companionship, a sense of responsibility and enhanced skills.

Maryland’s state parks not only provide great outdoor recreation for Marylanders and visitors, they are also a great asset to State and local economies. According to a recent study, conducted in partnership with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, Maryland state parks have an estimated annual economic benefit of more than $650 million. In 2010, visitors directly spent more than $567 million locally — $25.56 locally for every dollar the State invests in state parks —during their visits. And almost 95 percent of visitors had their expectations met or exceeded during visits.


   April 14, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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 www.dnr.maryland.gov