Volunteerism Increases In Maryland’s State Parks

ANNAPOLIS (April 1, 2008) — Records for 2007 indicate that volunteerism is on the rise in Maryland’s state parks, with a state-wide total of 8,956 volunteers performing a total of 176,588 hours of service. The time volunteered represents a value of more than $3.3 million to the Maryland Park Service and Maryland’s citizens, according to the Dept. of Natural Resources.

“We are so proud of the dedicated efforts of our parks volunteers and greatly appreciate the enthusiasm and energy they offer in educating visitors as well as maintaining and restoring state parks across Maryland,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin.

The 2007 total shows an increase of over 21,000 volunteer hours from 2006. Also on the rise is the number of student volunteers and Volunteer Rangers.

“Volunteers are instrumental to park activities such as trail building and maintenance, tree planting, gardening, photography, special events staffing, office and computer work, nature program leadership, historical research, carpentry and other maintenance,” explained Roberta Dorsch, MPS Volunteer Coordinator. “Additionally, our many individual 'Friends of' groups greatly serve the parks through their commitment to raising awareness, consciousness and appreciation for the protection, preservation and improvement of Maryland’s public lands.”

Maryland’s parks also benefit by volunteers who commit to becoming campground hosts, Volunteer Rangers, and members of bike and mounted patrols.

“We are always looking for new volunteers to serve,” added Dorsch.

For volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/volunteer.html .

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