Fred Eskew Recreation Area Dedication

Fred eskew Portrait

Rosaryville State Park
April 22, 2012

Introduction of Master Plan for Fred Eskew Area
Ranger Nita Settina
Superintendent, Maryland Park Service

Good afternoon, as Superintendent it is my sincere pleasure to be here on Earth Day and to welcome all of you and Mr. Eskew's family to this special dedication of the Fred Eskew Recreation Area at Rosaryville State Park.

In 1986, the Maryland State Board of Public Works dedicated the Day Use Area of Rosaryville State Park to Fred Eskew in perpetuity as a sign of grateful appreciation and respect for his accomplished 25-year career in public recreation, parks, open space preservation and natural resource management.

The Board was comprised at that time of Governor Harry Hughes, Comptroller Louis Goldstein and Treasurer William James. This honor was not bestowed lightly and it signified the breadth and significance of his contributions and his dedicated public service to the citizens of Maryland.

The resolution honored Fred Eskew and recognized the special place that these scenic & historically important 1,000 acres of rolling forest and fields had in his heart …and for which he worked to preserve as a state park and oasis in Prince George's County, which was undergoing suburbanization even at that time.

I was not fortunate enough to know Fred Eskew, he was already busy conserving land and building parks while some of us were still children….but in talking to the people who did know him, and reading about his legacy, a few things struck me about our dedication today.

One, was that for those of us who work at DNR, we are humbly reminded at these times of those who came before us…of the importance of public service, the trail blazing, accomplishments and the policy and program foundations laid that made DNR and the Maryland Park Service what it is today.

It gives one a heightened sense of responsibility to "play it forward", to re-dedicate ourselves, to carry the torch and vision of people like Fred Eskew…and his contemporaries here today…with the time that is now ours, and with perhaps a little more urgency.

Hence, we have been inspired to pick up things where they were left off here at Rosaryville, and have found (thanks Grace), and have dusted off, the 1976 Master Plan and taken a fresh look.

With Mr. Eskew's memory at the forefront of our minds, we are working to renew and complete the Master Plan for Rosaryville that was envisioned 36 years ago when he was Asst. Secretary of DNR's Capital Programs Administration.

Some things have changed, witness the hundreds of mountain bikers on these trails just inside these woods every week, a form of recreation that had not been invented yet in 1976. We are also newly managing grassland meadows for bird habitat that is in decline in Maryland and controlling exotic invasive species that now threaten native flora and fauna.

But much of the original intent of the 1976 Plan will remain – to connect people with nature, to minimize the sights and sounds of man, to provide for equestrian activities and to preserve and interpret the special early American history of the Mt. Airy mansion, a history that includes President George Washington.

In closing, I share this final thought…there have been many complimentary things remembered and written about Mr. Eskew, by an historian, a U.S. Senator, former colleagues and employees. He was considered…Visionary. Politically savvy. Determined, and, having "grit."

You don't often hear the word "grit" used to describe someone. My Aunt, who is a psychologist, explained to me that to have "grit" means that you do not let things stand in your way when you want to get something done.

She said that it is considered as important, and may actually be more important, than IQ or talent when it comes to achieving success.

So, perhaps, especially during these austere budget times, we are inspired and called upon to apply the same grit and determination that Fred Eskew would have brought were he still with us today…to follow in his footsteps and to continue his legacy, to complete Rosaryville State Park and to preserve Maryland's natural and cultural heritage and her park lands and to build outdoor recreation opportunities for today and generations of families to come.

Return to the Fred Eskew Recreation Area Dedication webpage.

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