From the mountains of Western Maryland to the sandy beaches of Assateague, the Maryland Park Service is proud to offer wonderful recreational opportunities for our wounded warriors, veterans and their families to enjoy.
With 72 State Parks, we provide activities such as hiking, biking, boating, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, teambuilding ropes courses, hunting and camping. Such experiences as these will aid in the veteran's mental and physical well-being and establish a new base of potential employees.
Maryland is situated in close proximity to our nation’s Capitol and multiple military installations.
The Wounded Warrior & Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Christina Holden, researches facilities and identifies how to best accommodate the recreational needs of our servicemen and women. The objective of the program is to provide our state's servicemen and women with unique opportunities to work, learn, volunteer and recreate in the rich natural habitats of Maryland.
Southern Maryland Vacations for Vets is a program created to give our wounded or sick service members, from local military hospitals and treatment centers, a chance to relax with their family in a quiet country setting. It is a chance for them to escape the hospital routine and/or forget about their traumatic experiences. The weekend retreat is completely free of charge for the guests.
Day-Use Waiver for Veterans - All applicable day-use entrance charges are waived for all veterans of the United States Armed Forces. This waiver applies to both resident and out-of-state veterans. This waiver is applicable to the veteran only and not others in the same vehicle, unless a per-vehicle charge is in effect at the time. In that case, the per-vehicle fee is waived. No other facility use service charges will be waived.
Another option for veterans and their families is the Maryland State Park and Trail Passport that can be purchased for a yearly fee of $75 ($100 for non-residents). This pass entitles the holder to unlimited day-use entry for everyone in the vehicle (up to 10 people) to Maryland's state parks, including unlimited boat launching.
Veteran Designation on Maryland Drivers' Licenses - Maryland Veterans can add a special designation on their drivers' licenses. For additional information, visit the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website.
Day-Use Waiver for Active Duty Military / Maryland National Guard - Any member of the Maryland National Guard and all active duty military personnel who display their active duty military identification card to the gate attendant at any Maryland State Park day-use area will have their day-use entrance service charge waived. The waiver is valid for the military identification card holder only. No other facility service charges will be waived.
The Maryland Park Service is proud to partner with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. (PHWFF) on activities and events in Maryland's 72 State Parks. Their mission is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. For more information or to learn how to get involved with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. visit their website: http://www.projecthealingwaters.org/.
The Warrior Canine Connection (WCC), will be moving their headquarters to the Schaeffer Farm Area of Seneca Creek State Park. WCC is a non-profit organization that helps veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and brain injuries train service dogs for other veterans. The new location will enable WCC to add an Apprentice Service Dog Training program and offer art and music therapy, as well as acupuncture and eventually add equine therapy and therapeutic farming and gardening. The area within Schaeffer Farm offers a tranquil restorative setting close to Walter Reed, providing the ideal location for Warriors to transition back into civilian and family life. What’s more, this partnership will result in the rehabilitation and long-term caretaking of the Farm. “DNR’s Maryland Park Service is excited to support American servicemen and women at Seneca Creek State Park, which provides a 6,000-acre oasis conducive to the services provided by the Warrior Canine Connection (WCC),” says Nita Settina, Superintendent, Maryland Park Service. “The Park offers a unique opportunity for the State, WCC, military medical providers and volunteers to join forces, harness the healing power of our natural resources and serve the needs of returning Warriors and Veterans.” Visit the Warrior Canine Connection website for more information.
It's never too late to discover the joys of sitting around a roaring campfire, roasting marshmallows or sleeping under the stars!
The Maryland Park Service is proud to partner with The North Face: Explore Your Parks, to offer an opportunity to camp at selected state parks.
With the new OPERATION: CAMPOUT! Program, we can lend you gear free of charge (includes a tent, chairs, stove, lantern and more). This program is designed for military individuals and military families new to camping or experienced campers stationed or recovering in this area.OPERATION: CAMPOUT! is an opportunity for families to reconnect with each other and the great outdoors in a comfortable, safe and relaxing setting.
Campsites have picnic tables and fire pits. Some sites have electric hook-ups. Restrooms and shower facilities are nearby. The state parks participating in OPERATION: CAMPOUT! are:
Once you’ve decided where you want to camp, contact the park directly by phone to make your reservation. Be sure to let them know you are reserving through OPERATION: CAMPOUT! Click here for more program details, including FAQ’s and service charges for the campsite.
The Warrior Hike "Walk Off The War" Program is an outdoor therapy program that supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service by thru-hiking America's National Scenic Trails, which includes Maryland on the Appalachian Trail.
Warrior Hike supports veterans participating in the "Walk Off The War" Program by providing them with the equipment and supplies required to complete a thru-hike, and coordinating trail town support with the numerous veteran and hiking organizations that are located along the trails. Warrior Hike also assists with future employment opportunities with the program's numerous partners and supporters.
For further information about their organization, Click here to view the Warrior Hike tri-fold pamphlet
Thanks to The North Face: Explore Your Parks Camping 101 program, we proudly hosted 12 military families from nearby bases for a fun-filled weekend at Patapsco Valley State Park. The park staff was on hand all weekend with planned activities including nature crafts, outdoor cooking demonstrations, geocaching, disc golf, photography hike, canoeing and fishing. Thanks to all who made the weekend extra special, providing families an opportunity to reconnect and enjoy the Great Outdoors: Patapsco Valley State Park staff and Volunteers, The North Face, Sierra Club, REI, and the American Hiking Society.
Smallwood State Park in Marbury, Maryland Smallwood State Park in Marbury, Maryland has proudly hosted the Paralyzed Veterans of America “Capital Clash" National PVA Bass Tournament, a B.A.S.S. sanctioned event.
The Paralyzed Veterans of America Bass Tour consists of seven two-day tournaments, which are held at various locations around the country. Each tournament consists of an Open/Team Competition for those anglers who wish to fish from a boat and a Bank Competition for those who prefer to fish from shore. Disabled anglers in the Open/Team Competition are paired with able-bodied boat partners for the two-day event. On day one, only the disabled anglers compete for significant prizes. On day two, the paired anglers compete as a team for cash prizes. The boat partners serve as coaches and help find fishing locations and choose baits. Disabled anglers in the Bank Competition are paired with volunteers who assist them in whatever they cannot do themselves while fishing. Although only the anglers with disabilities fish in the Open Competition, awards and prizes are given to both. For more information on the PVA Bass Tournament, go to: www.pva.org.
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