Great Maryland Outdoors Act will invest millions in state park budget


Maryland is poised to invest millions in its state parks thanks to a newly enacted bill that goes into effect later this year.

Maryland is set to invest millions in its state parks later this year thanks to a new bill being signed into law.

The Great Maryland Outdoors Act, passed in March, earmarks funds for park expansion, maintenance and hiring permanent employees once the law takes effect July 1.

Delegate Michele Guyton has supported the bill since its inception and stressed the need for children to be outdoors.

“The problems kids have with sitting in front of the screen — it’s not just because they’re sitting in front of a screen,” Guyton said. “They’re because of what they don’t do… What they’re not doing is getting out and interacting with their natural world.

Guyton also said the Great Maryland Outdoors Act would expand coverage to county parks and county programs dedicated to underserved communities.

The bill also seeks to address infrastructure, capacity and accessibility needs. Up to $80 million will be used to purchase land for park expansions and improve transportation to and from the parks.

The new law requires the Department of Natural Resources to increase the number of full-time employees in the parks department by 100 permanent, classified positions by July 1. The Ministry of Budget and Management is also required to carry out staff reviews as part of a long-term strategic plan for the parks service.

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