The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is once again offering a Do-It-Yourself Park Quest. In its 13th year, Park Quest is a challenge for residents of Maryland to visit and explore Maryland’s state parks and complete as many of the DIY activities as you can. All activities are self-guided and can be done at your own pace. Park Quest 2020 activities will be available until October 31, 2020.
The goal of Park Quest is to experience and enjoy the outdoors through recreational activities, to better appreciate the natural world through exploration and observation and to learn about Maryland’s varied history with your family as your team!
Locally, three of our state parks are participating in the challenge, Deep Creek Lake State Park, New Germany State Park, and Garrett County’s newest park, Sang Run State Park.
Deep Creek Lake State Park:
There are three activities you can participate in at this beautiful lake-front park. SNAKEROOT NATURE TRAIL A SELF-GUIDED EXPLORATION OF NATURE The Snakeroot Nature Trail is a 0.25 mile trail that is marked with green, plastic, diamond blazes. The hike to the start of the Snakeroot Nature Trail is approximately 0.6 of a mile. This would make a round trip a total distance of approximately 1.5 miles. The trail itself is a mixture of packed dirt and rock surfacing that can be slippery when wet. We recommend trail users wear sturdy footwear while enjoying the trail. The Snakeroot trail is not stroller friendly. Look for the interpretive stops along the trail which are marked with numbered wooden posts that correspond to information in the brochure.
The Aviary is located off of the far end of the Deep Creek Lake State Park’s Discovery Center Parking Lot. The Aviary houses birds of prey used for the Scales & Tales program. These birds have been injured or imprinted, and cannot survive in the wild. Deep Creek Lake State Park’s Aviary is home to nine non-releasable birds of prey. Each of these birds were injured, rehabilitated and deemed non releasable before becoming an ambassador for the Scales & Tales program, which serves to educate people of all ages on native raptors throughout Maryland. Visit the Aviary and read the interpretive exhibits to find out all about these animals, while completing the Aviary Activity Sheet. The Aviary is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset regardless of the Discovery Center’s hours.
DEEP CREEK LAKE STATE PARK BINGO
Explore any area of the park you’d like and use their downloadable Bingo card to see what you can find! This activity can be combined with the two previous activities, if you would like!
New Germany State Park
SELF GUIDED WALK
New Germany State Park’s visitors frequently call it a “best kept secret”. This mountain gem is nested between the 2,900 feet Big Savage Mountain to the east and the eastern Continental Divide along Meadow Mountain to the west.. New Germany has diverse forests with ten miles of multi-use trails and a small lake suitable for fishing, swimming, and non-motorized boating. The park also offers lodging in history log cabins, camping, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more.
At New Germany State Park, located off Interstate 68, Exit 22, quest participants can take a self-guided walking tour of New Germany State Park to learn about the park’s history. The quest begins at the New Germany Lake House and is available anytime. Families are encouraged to print the activity booklet in advance (found here: https://dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest/Documents/DIY-2020/NG_WalkingTour.pdf)
Sang Run State Park, Friends Store & Election House
YEAR OF THE WOMAN ACTIVITY
Garrett County’s newest Park is the Sang Run Park located along Sang Run Road, just four miles past Wisp Resort. Their quest features the Year of the Woman: Suffragists, and the Suffragist Hikes of 1912-1914. The quest is to step briefly into the place of four famous Garrett County Women and Suffragists, while exploring Sang Run State Park. 2020 is the Year of the Woman in Maryland, celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.
While there, step back in time at the Historic Friends Store, A homestead, formerly known as Friends Delight, dates back to the early 1800’s. The original home site, farm and store were donated to Maryland in 2008 and designated as a State Park in 2017. Hike, fish, picnic or sit and relax along the Wild and Scenic Youghiogheny River. A mile-long trail traverses the agricultural farm fields highlighting large old trees, wildflower meadows and passes by a private family cemetery. Sang Run State Park has a waterless toilet facility. Park Quest is available daily through Labor Day from 9 AM to 5 PM. Download the worksheet here: https://dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest/Documents/DIY-2020/Sang%20Run%20Year%20of%20the%20Woman%20Park%20Quest.pdf.
Do check ahead to see if pets are welcome and specific hours for parks. Always bring water and a snack with you as well as suncscreen and please wear durable walking or hiking shoes.
Information for this article was taken from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources web page. For more detailed information, directions to parks and downloadable activity sheets, visit them at https://dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest/Pages/Home.aspx